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All About Acids - why they are so phenomenal in skin resurfacing procedures

There are a few different groups of acids found in skin care procedures. These generally are;

AHA'S - Alpha Hydroxy Acids

BHA'S - Beta Hydroxy Acids

PHA'S - Poly Hydroxy Acids

TCA's - Trichloroacetic Acid

AKA's - Alpha Keto Acids

Why do these feature? What do they do?

Poly Hydroxy Acids:

  • ‘No peel’ peels

  • Superficial

  • Cause less irritation

  • Compatible with clinically sensitive skin such as dermatitis and rosacea

  • Offer anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits

  • Weak pH – have to be neutralized

Alpha Hydroxy Acids

  • Penetrates skin easily

  • Water soluble

  • Weak pH, has to be neutralized

  • Synthetic or non-synthetic

  • Works on stratum corneum – reduces cellular adhesion between corneocytes – cells flake away

  • Dermal layer – increases GAG’s, collagen + skin thickness

Beta Hydroxy Acids

  • Penetrates skin easily

  • Has keratolytic action

  • Hydrolipid – oil soluble- ability to penetrate pores which contain sebum and exfoliate dead skin cells inside that pore

  • Superficial to epidermal layer

  • Weak pH – has to be neutralized

Trichloroacetic Acids

  • Closely related to AHA’s

  • Non - allergenic

  • Necrotic action upon epidermal layers

  • Neutralized in the dermal layer

  • More concentrated the TCA, the more acidic it will be and the deeper it will penetrate into the skin seeking water to neutralize

Our HERO AHA's - used within our skin resurfacing protocols at DermalEssence


This acid HERO action is that it removes dead skin cells that bind themselves tot he skin surface. This mild, sloughing action leaves the skin feeling smoother and softer. Mandelic acid is found in the products we use to treat hyper-pigmentation, post inflammatory hyper-pigmentation, melasma and large freckles, due to its ability to inhibit tyrosinase and in our ACNE treatments due to it's anti-bacterial properties.


Lactic Acid has dual HERO actions. Not only does it promote skin peeling, it also has huge benefits on photo-damaged, photo-aged and rough skin due to its ability to reduce trans-dermal water loss. Due to these dual HERO actions, Lactic Acid can have a positive effect on certain skin issues such as atopic dermatitis and acne.


The HERO action of this acid is that it has smaller molecular properties, meaning that it can penetrate more easily than other acids and is instrumental in helping with skin shedding of the dull, damaged top layer of ageing skin, resulting in a brighter looking complexion.

Our HERO BHA's - used within our skin resurfacing protocols at DermalEssence


Salicylic Acid has the HERO action of softening the skin protein 'keratin', making it very effective in loosening dry, scaly skin and allowing other products to penetrate the skin layers more effectively

Our HERO PHA's - used within our skin resurfacing protocols at DermalEssence


Lactobionic acid is an exciting new acid found in modern skin care. it has multiple HERO benefits, such as anti-ageing, skin plumping, enhanced cell turnover, antioxidant, fantastic moisturiser. it is safe, non-irritating and forms a silky feel to the skin. An all round HERO!


This acid truly is a HERO, having keratolytic, anti-microbial, sebum-reducing properties as well as having the ability to stimulate collagen and elastin production! Despite being classed as a medium to high strength acid, it is gentle on the skin yet has the ability to penetrate deeply. Pyruvic acid is often used in treatments for inflammatory acne, moderate acne scars, rough, scaly, patchy sin and warts.

Why we choose to use pHformula skin resurfacing acids at DermalEssence

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