Here’s why you should be using LHAs if you’ve got acne-prone skin

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If you’ve got acne-prone skin, you might want to try adding LHAs into your skincare arsenal…

Finding the best skincare routine for your skin type can be difficult – especially if you have acne-prone skin. From retinols to exfoliating acids, many active ingredients are touted for giving clear complexion results, but figuring out what actually works for you can be time-consuming and expensive. 

Not to mention that experimenting with a load of different skincare ingredients can also disrupt your skin barrier and lead to irritation – something no one wants. But if you find that your skin is a little reactive and tends to dry out or become easily sensitised by skincare products, LHAs might be just what you’re looking for. 

While you’ve probably heard of alpha hydroxy acids and beta hydroxy acids before – lipohydroxy acids are a bit of a new kid on the block in the skincare world. These gentle exfoliators are brilliant for acne-prone skin while offering hydration at the same time. So we asked Dermoi skincare expert and chief scientific officer Eve Casha to explain everything you need to know about LHAs – plus the best formulas you might want to add to your skincare routine. 

What are the different types of skincare acids?

“Acids are used in skincare to exfoliate the skin,” explains Casha. “They have the ability to loosen the bonds holding dead skin cells to the surface of the skin, allowing for a gentle exfoliation, and can be helpful in clearing skin congestion, acne, flaking, and for the improvement of uneven skin tone and texture as certain acids have additional antibacterial and/or brightening properties.”

Skincare acids are often broken down into two main classes: alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs)and beta hydroxy acids (BHAs). Glycolic, lactic and mandelic acid are examples of AHAs, whereas salicylic acid and citric acid are classed as BHAs.

“AHAs are water-soluble compounds whereas BHAs are oil-soluble.In general, because BHAs are oil-soluble, they tend to have better penetration into the skin.”

What is lipohydroxy acid? 

“Lipohydroxy acids (LHAs) are derivatives of BHAs that were designed to enhance the effectiveness of salicylic acid – a common BHA for congested skin and acne,” Casha explains. LHAs are often added to spot creams, cleansers and moisturisers to help to remove the outer layer of dead skin cells from the skin’s surface, which can prevent blocked pores from forming. But, unlike salicylic acid, which can often be quite drying on the skin, LHAs soften, hydrate and increase overall suppleness. 

“LHAs have been compared to salicylic acid but have shown to have greater ability to retain skin hydration,” says Casha. They’re a good alternative for those who can’t tolerate other chemical exfoliants.

Who should use lipohydroxy acids?

Any skin that suffers with uneven skin texture, flaking skin or acne could benefit from using LHAs. “Skin that is dry and has found AHAs or BHAs to be drying in the past should absolutely give LHAs a try as they may be the perfect solution.” 

Are there any side effects to using lipohydroxy acids?

As with all skincare, side effects can happen, but reactions to lipohydroxy acids are uncommon. If you have a reaction to lipohydroxy acid you might notice a burning sensation, a rash, redness, skin peeling, irritation and/or itching. 

Best skincare products containing lipohydroxy acids

  • Ole Henriksen Cold Plunge Pore Remedy Moisturizer

    This oil-free moisturiser is formulated with salicylic acid and lipohydroxy acid to loosen and shift dead skin that may be clogging up your pores. It also smoothens out uneven skin texture to leave skin looking brighter and balances excess oil production. Read Stylist’s full review here.

    Shop Ole Henriksen Cold Plunge Pore Remedy Moisturizer at Boots, £40

    buy now

  • Kiehl’s Daily Refining Milk Peel Toner

    This dual-action exfoliating toner is formulated with lipohydroxy acid and 23% emollients to gently exfoliate while replenishing the skin’s moisture levels for a clear complexion and a smooth, comfortable feel.

    Shop Kiehl’s Daily Refining Milk Peel Toner at Space NK, £52

    buy now

  • La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo+ Blemish Treatment

    A cult classic, this iconic blemish treatment contains a triple combination of acids: LHA, glycolic acid and salicylic acid. Niacinamide helps to reduce the appearance of spots while lipohydroxy acid and salicylic acid work to unclog blocked pores. 

    Shop La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo+ Blemish Treatment at Boots, £18

    buy now

Main image: Getty 

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