Fruit acids and skincare: everything you need to know and the right products


Greyish, dull or blemished skin? Try incorporating an exfoliating product based on fruit acids into your beauty routine. You have a wide choice of creams, lotions and masks. Better to reserve them for the evening, though

Fruit Acids: You have surely heard of them in relation to face creams and in general to skincare. If you are finished here, most likely you will want to deepen the subject, find out what they are for, when they are used, where they are and for whom they are indicated. To begin with, let’s clarify these are exfoliating acids that perform on the skin a chemical peel, and not mechanical. The difference between the 2 types of exfoliation is that the mechanical peeling is the one obtained through the massage of products with microgranules, called scrubs (in English) or gommage (in French). Hence the adjective “mechanical”.
The chemical peeling, on the other hand, takes place through the simple application of cosmetic solutions, such as the fruit acids, which promote the detachment of dead cells (without the need for any massage). Having clarified this difference, let’s better explain what fruit acids are.

Fruit acids: what they are

Also notice how alpha-hydroxy acids (AHA) or beta-hydroxy acids (BHA), fruit acids are substances very present in nature. They are found, in particular, in citrus fruits, apples and other vegetables, vinegar and fermented milk. For example theglycolic acid – among the best known AHAs – abounds in sugar cane, sour grapes and beets, from which it can be extracted, even if it can be reproduced pure with a synthetic process.

The most common fruit acids are lactic acid, citric acid, mandelic acid, pyruvic acid, azelaic acid, ferulic acid, and tartaric acid. «In recent years, this category of acids has acquired particular interest for the action it plays on the epidermis. In concentrations above 10%, fruit acids have aexfoliating and smoothing action»- explains the cosmetologist Umberto Borellini. In the cosmetics, these are the recommended concentrations. Doses of AHA and BHA higher than 10%, on the other hand, are used in specific products for i dermatologists peeling, performed in the clinic.

AHA and BHA: difference

Both, both AHAs (alpha-hydroxy acids) and BHAs (beta-hydroxy acids), are fruit acids with exfoliating functions. In practice, they eliminate the superficial stratum corneum, to give space to a “new skin “, smoother and more beautiful. The difference between the two types of acids is purely chemical: AHAs dissolve in water, BHAs dissolve in oil. The best known beta-hydroxy acid? Salicylic acid, mainly indicated for oily skin as it dissolves the sebum, which is nothing more than an oil. In this way, it frees the pores of impurities, preventing the formation of blackheads and other imperfections. BHAs also have an anti-inflammatory and antibacterial action which makes them the ideal choice for those with acne problems.

AHAs, on the other hand, are better suited for normal and dry skin. In addition to exfoliating, they improve skin hydration, precisely because they perform the action of cell turnover. A skin free of dead cells is more able to retain water. These fruit acids are also indicated to improve skin tone, the brightness and all the problems related to skin aging, such as damage from photoaging.

Fruit acid products

In the form of masks, lotions, face or body creams, here is a selection of AHA or BHA based cosmetics. At the first applications, fruit acid products can cause slight redness, burning and tingling, especially if the skin is sensitive. But these effects generally wear off in a short time. If, on the other hand, they occur for more than 3 days, it is advisable to suspend the application. The most suitable times of the day for use? Definitely in the evening, as the skin is, for obvious reasons, protected from UVA. The next day it is good to have a sunscreen followed.

VINOPERFECT Crème Nuit Glycoloque Anti-Taches by CAUDALIE
With glycolic acid

Salicylic Acid 2% Masque by THE ORDINARY
Based on salicylic acid against impurities.

Vitamin-C Remedy Mask by PIXI
Contains ferulic acid for brighter skin.

Scrub & Peel by FILORGA
In the formula: 10% peeling complex associated with smoothing volcanic microspheres.

ANEW Even Texture & Tone exfoliating pads by AVON
They contain 10% glycolic acid.

Contains salicylic acid and gluconanolactone, PHA which gently removes dead skin cells.

Re-Peeling of REPHASE
Contains 15% mandelic acid and 3% PHA (polyhydroxy acids). Suitable for sensitive skin.

Exfoliating mask based on a proprietary blend of exfoliating AHAs and BHAs that help unclog and minimize the appearance of pores.

Fruit acids for peeling

Chemical peels, to be performed at the dermatologist or aesthetic doctor, involve the application on the face of a single exfoliating acid or a cocktail of various fruit acids. The most used are themandelic acid (the lightest) theglycolic acid (the best known), thepyruvic acid and acid trichloroacetic, the latter two are among the most powerful, therefore indicated for important skin renewals. Usually it is the doctor who decides the concentration of the ingredients of chemical peels based on the problem to be treated.
The effects are:

  • “Reduction of the cohesion of the corneocytes by direct action on the junctions between the cells (in essence, the fruit acids they dissolve the bonds between dead and living cells);
  • removal of the stratum corneum and consequent stimulation of epidermal growth;
  • induction of inflammatory processes in the deep parts of the epidermis, essential for the qualitative improvement of elastic fibers, such as collagen and elastin “- explains the cosmetologist Giulia Benazzi.

The chemical peel it allows to reduce the visibility of imperfections in case of wrinkles, scars or hyperchromias. Fruit acid treatments are recommended against:

  • spots, melasma and skin hyperpigmentation;
  • acne;
  • actinic or seborrheic keratoses;
  • some disorders of skin keratinization (such as keratotic-prone skin and peeling skin).

Fruit acids: contraindications

As you can imagine, the effects of alpha hydroxy acids on the skin are magnificent – more radiance and smoothness! But it is good to pay some attention. Deeply exfoliated, the skin is partly deprived of its natural protection. This makes it more susceptible to UV absorption. During the cycles of acid-based cosmetics, therefore, it must always be used sunscreen with high SPF. Furthermore, it is good to limit its use in summer. The only acid allowed is mandelic acid, precisely because it is considered light and non-photosensitizing.

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