The key to feeling younger? Acid. Not dropping it – wearing it. “People tend to think of acids as substances that can damage skin,” says the founder of Paula’s Choice Skin Care, Paula Begoun. But the truth is, they have a wide range of benefits. Some types are hydrating, while others exfoliate or work on lines and pigmentation. You just have to select an acid that’s right for your skin. Read on for five options that can give you a healthier, younger-looking mug.
BEST FOR Destroying stubborn blackheads as well as preventing blemishes in the first place. Imagine taking a power washer to your face: this popular betahydroxy acid, found in most acne cleansers and spot treatments, penetrates deep into your pores to sweep away grime and oil and break down the bonds between dead cells. As a result, that clean slate paves the way for other grooming products to work more effectively. Other benefits: salicylic acid promotes new skin growth, which tends to slow down starting around age 30, and contains anti inflammatory properties to calm irritated skin. It works for a wide range of skin types, including sensitive skin. Apply moisturiser after using.
TRY THIS The fast- dullness. penetrating formula goes beyond your traditional after-shave by dealing with clogged pores, fine lines and uneven skin tone.
PC4MEN soothe + smooth, $41, paulaschoice.com.au
BEST FOR Sloughing away dead skin cells that cause acne and make your face look dull and grey. Glycolic acid molecules are the smallest members of the alpha-hydroxy family, which means they’re sneakily helpful, slipping inside your pores to boost production of elastin and collagen (the glues that hold your face together). They’ll also instantly brighten a blotchy mug and help eliminate ingrown hairs. Unlike beady scrubs, glycolic acids exfoliate your skin without being abrasive. Simply soak a cotton pad in the acid (usually sold in the form of a peel, toner or gel) and gently swipe it across your face. Just don’t use too much pressure or reapply too often – doing either can leave your skin feeling raw.
TRY THIS Glycolic and hyaluronic acids are paired with soothing ingredients to reveal brighter and smoother looking skin in a flash. Expect a slight tingle – that means it’s working.
PETER THOMAS ROTH Un-Wrinkle Peel Pads, $80, sephora.com.au
BEST FOR Filling in deep wrinkles, eliminating dark spots and acne, and smoothing out bumps. If you were stranded on a desert island, this is the one product you’d want to have besides sunscreen and a case of Corona. That’s because retinoic acid is the most well-studied and effective anti-ageing product on the market – hands down. “It has been scientifically proven to help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, treat uneven skin tones and have anti-acne properties as well,” says plastic surgeon Dr Jeremy Wilson. One hitch: it may leave your face flaky and red during the first few weeks of use if you overdo it, so start with just one or two applications a week and build up to nightly use.
TRY THIS Apply a few dabs of Roc’s concentrated cream before bed to fight fine lines and other signs of ageing. It has no added fragrances, which can be irritating to, well, everyone.
asap super A+ serum, $89, 1300 131 970
BEST FOR Fighting off free-radical damage that contributes to cancer and weathered-looking skin. Ferulic acid works like a bouncer for your skin, keeping skin agers off the guest list. Each day your skin is exposed to a huge array of pollutants and free radicals that can accelerate the ageing process. Supplementing your skin-care arsenal with an antioxidant like ferulic acid will block those free radicals and slow signs of ageing. Because this age-defying cocktail is so gentle, you can use it up to twice daily. If you do decide to be that vigilant, look for a serum in a dark bottle and store it inside a cabinet; the acid can be deactivated by sunlight. You’ll want to apply it after your shower but before you put on your daily moisturiser.
TRY THIS Wrinkle-fighting retinol and licorice root combine to quickly reduce under-eye puffiness. Gently dab it – never wipe – beneath your eyes and on your lids to avoid wrinkles.
SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic, $214.00, skinceuticals.com.au
BEST FOR Adding and retaining moisture deepin your skin and making it smoother and plumper. Men tend to have thicker skin than women do – and we’re not talking about how they handle hecklers. Because of that thickness, men need a moisturiser that’s lightweight but still able to penetrate their skin. Hyaluronic acid is the answer – a natural lubricant and a crucial component found in the fluid of your joints and eyes. A favourite of dermatologists, this natural acid is a moisture magnet, drawing hydration deeper into the skin.
TRY THIS Hyaluronic acid teams up with olive extract to continuously release moisture around the delicate eye area. The cooling rollerball applicator gently massages product into the skin to reduce dullness.
Neutrogena® HYDRO BOOST™Eye Roll-On, $19.99, chemistwarehouse. com.au