Hey Nicki,I’m curious about Tartartic Acid and Phytic Acid and the new classes of AHAs and BHAs in skincare. I’ve heard they’re the next biggest thing. I’m concerned about signs of aging and also chemicals. Do you know anything about these products? Do you think they’re miracle workers or would a glycolic work just as well?All the best,
And then, over the course of the past few years, a new class of AHAs and BHAs entered the picture. Here’s my synopsis:
Tartaric Acid (AHA)- Best to Use With Glycolic Acid as an Enhancer
Phytic Acid – Best for Clogged Pores, Blackheads
Phytic acid is neither an AHA or BHA. Its predominant action is that it is like salicylic acid in a sense, helping to clear out the pores. The key difference is that salicylic acid binds to the protein keratin in the skin and helps to soften it, whereas phytic acid binds to calcium within the pores and helps to make it softer. In either case, phytic and salicylic acids (together or separately) help to clean out the pores and make pores temporarily appear smaller. Find it in SkinMedica Lytera.
Mandelic Acid (AHA) – Best for Wrinkles, Fine Lines
Mandelic acid, is an alpha hydroxy acid derived from almonds. When applied to the skin in fairly high concentrations, mandelic acid has been shown to be a potent antioxidant in the skin (Tetrahedron).
Malic Acid (AHA) – Best for Skin Brightening (Age Spots), Best to Use with Glycolic Acid + Tartaric Acid
At least one study has found that a combination of malic acid and other AHAs increased collagen production over time (Journal of Dermatology).
Like difficult relatives, malic acid is better encountered in the company of others: the International Journal of Skin Science that malic acid is less effective than other alpha hydroxy acids, but malic acid is quite potent in combination with other AHAs (like the mandelic acid in Apothederm Bright Skin Serum).
When used in conjunction with other AHAs (like mandelic acid), studies show malic acid treats skin roughness, fine lines, and hyperpigmentation. You can find malic acid in Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Moisturizer.
Citric Acid (AHA) – Best for Youthful Preventative Use
Citric acid is like the training bra of AHAs: It doesn’t really do a whole hell of a lot, but it’s made for people who don’t need the support older girls do. Like tartaric acid, citric acid used to be chiefly used to keep the pH range of skincare products in check, but it is also a mild chelator, meaning that it can prevent small amounts of impurities from entering your skin. I wouldn’t buy a product just for the citric acid, but it is a benefit. Find it in Dr. Brandt Radiance Resurfacing Foam.
If you’re looking for a product that isn’t a retinoid to help with fine lines, wrinkles, and hyperpigmentation, using a combination of glycolic acid, tartaric and/or citric acid, malic acid, and mandelic acid might help. Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Moisturizer contains all of these (seven AHAs/BHAs total).
If you have fewer signs of aging but are looking for a more preventative product, Dr. Brandt Radiance Resurfacing Foam has five AHAs/BHAs and is designed more for “dermaplaning without the blade,” or simply increasing your skin’s smoothness and exfoliative properties.
On the other hand, if you’re looking for a product to clean out your pores, try using salicylic acid and phytic acid together. I like SkinMedica Lytera.
Truthfully, I like these next generation combinations of AHAs, and I’m looking forward to what the skincare arena comes up with next!