April Acids And Other Active Ingredients

I ‘fess up first: this morning I sent an email to my hairdresser asking him to take all my monies in exchange of the very first slot that becomes available as soon as they are safely able to open shop again. I don’t feel good about this, but in my defence, my hair looks like an absolute asshole and I’m *this* close to going for a buzz-cut.

Now, April is usually the perfect month for adjusting skincare routine to take into account the increasing sunlight.

In addition to checking out my SPF-situation, come spring, I often feel like freshening up on the skincare front more generally. I have reactive skin that freaks about a multitude of factors, but I still want to prep it for the new season.

Because of bouts of redness, I used to be wary of acids. This fear was not founded, I just needed to find the right products. I use everything from the following lot and yes, some have lasted an eternity (and some certainly will last until the next pandemic) because I rotate them.

Trial and error tip: When it says on the bottle to use 3-4 drops of acid serum, it actually is enough. I used to squander silly amounts of serums oils so that my face would swim in the stuff and most would not absorb ie. would go to waste. A small bottle of 30ml should last you at least for 2-3 months.

So, what’s what?

Issue: Wrinkles and fine lines
Ingredient: Retinol, also known as Vitamin A
I am currently using a natural retinol alternative by Herbivore, it’s called Bakuchiol and it is meant to be slightly gentler on the skin than retinol. Medik8 –brand do retinoid serums of various strengths, and I went through a tube of one of their milder variants during the winter, and my skin did not freak out once.
If you want to read more about retinols, the World Wide Web is of course your oyster, but here’s a good recap as well.

Issue: Collagen boost & glow
Ingredient: Vitamin C

I found this rather random Belgian brand Deutarium last year by accident, and tried their Skintonic Vitamin C -serum. I wrote about it earlier if you want to read a more thorough description.
The jam with Vitamin C serum is that it works best when used together with retinols. Don’t ask me why, apparently there are some collagen-boosting synergies there. I am trusting the actual skincare experts here.
So whenever I am on my retinol-streak, I combine it with a Vitamin C -product.

Issue: Dull and congested skin
Ingredient: Niacinamide (Vitamin B3)

Another active ingredient, like Vitamin C above, that can be used together with retinol is niacinamide. I use Oskia’s Liquid Mask twice a week in the evenings, under moisturiser/cream. Its lactic acid content is 10% which is pretty potent – the maximum allowed under EU guidelines. It also contains Red Snow. I have no idea what it is, but the mask is good.
(By the way, on a need to know basis, all cosmetics sold in the EU are both clean and safe. The EU has the world’s strictest criteria for cosmetics (among many other things), so branding anything as “clean” for the EU market makes little, if any sense. For any product to cut it to the EU market, it needs to be proven clean and safe.)
As with all acids, it’s important to remember SPF the next day.

Issue: Dehydrated and sensitive skin
Ingredient: Hyaluronic acid

I love hyaluronic acid. It is widely available, and most brands have their own serums already. Free tip: When buying a hyaluronic acid serum, check that it is in the top 8 ingredients of your product.
Also: Hyaluronic acid is not an expensive ingredient ie. no need to overpay.
I have been through many, and am currently experimenting with Alpha H Essential Hydration Concentrate, which is interestingly an oil formula. I use it in the mornings, under moisturiser.

Issue: Large pores and overall dull skin
Ingredient: AHAs

Alpha Hydroxy Acids are a bunch of natural acids that include things like citric, glycolic, lactic, malic, and tartaric acids and make for great exfoliators. Mine is currently Liquid ExfoliKate by Kate Somerville. I use it in the evenings post-cleansing and before serums and cream. It’s a triple-action mega-blend of AHAs and I do not need to use it daily, although I suppose one could. Again, AHAs are sun-sensitisers, so important to remember SPF the next morning.

Another excellent product that contains same active ingredients is by Sunday Riley and is called Good Genes. It’s a creamy all-in-one treatment that I use in the evenings (not every evening – usually 3-4 times per week) under a cream. Lactic acid is the gentlest exfoliator of the AHA-family and thus suitable for sensitive skins, which is why I like this product a lot.

Finally, Prism by Herbivore, a fruit acid exfoliating potion that has lasted me annoyingly long (probably because I mix it with other serums so it has lasted forever). It contains a mixture of AHAs such as glycolic acid from sugar cane, as well as things like kakadu plum and orange peel and whatever I usually put in my aperitif negroni. Its acid content is 5%, which makes it a mild exfoliator, but again not something that would necessary to be used daily.

I think that’s about it for today’s home-school chemistry class. I want to remind again that I do absolutely not use the whole lot of the above products at the same time, I have them in rotation and mix and match a bit according to how fancy takes me.

Just don’t forget the sunscreen.

4 thoughts on “April Acids And Other Active Ingredients

  1. Love your blog, witty and entertaining and your book recommendations are spot on, best find in a good while. As for the skincare routine, you are a woman after my own heart. I am just waiting for the borders to open again to get my hands on the Good Genes US version. All the best for you in social media world domination and in the pursuit of glowing skin.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for reading, and good luck with Good Genes! I also have the US version at the moment – I’m trying to make it last extra long given the uncertain times…


  2. Always a pleasure to read your witty and funny posts, what about Medik8 crystal retinol, I think you’ve tried it, any thoughts about it? Best wishes for your hairdo ūüėČ


    1. Hi Valerie, thank you for reading and for your comments! I did try crystal retinol, the mildest one, which I think is level 1. I was wary at first because my skin can be quite reactive, but I tried it out during winter (no sun) and increased slowly, starting from twice a week for a couple weeks first. I was very happy with the product.


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