Not that we’re complaining, but new skincare acids are popping up every single day claiming to replace your current favorite ones. Historically, we’ve been pleasantly surprised with hyaluronic acid, glycolic acid, and of course, ascorbic acid. These did deserve the hype. And we thought we had it all with salicylic acid and lactic acid.
Then polyhydroxy acids came along and blew everybody’s nips off with their gentle formula. One can’t help but get excited about the hot new skincare acids in the hopes to achieve better skin with some sizzling acid or some bubbling one.
Retinoic acid, ferulic acid, caffeic acid, azelaic acid -we guzzled them all up. These are old news! It’s almost 2023 now and we need some new discoveries on the skincare ingredients front! To put you up to speed, we’ve gathered the latest skincare acids. Thankfully, we never run out!
From exfoliating to hydrating, below are the new, trending skincare acids you should be on the lookout for this year.
1. Tranexamic Acid
Tranexamic acid is the new anti-pigmentation ingredient in town. It is an amino acid derivative. Normally, it’s prescribed orally for people who are dealing with melasma. But it’s made its way into topical skincare.
It’s because some studies show that topical tranexamic acid is a great alternative to hydroquinone for treating melasma, hyperpigmentation, and uneven skin tone.
The exact working mechanism of tranexamic acid is somewhat unclear. But what’s obvious at this point is that tranexamic acid is a gentle skincare ingredient you can safely use for reducing dark spots.
So if your skin’s too sensitive to tolerate mainstream depigmentation actives like vitamin C, this can be your new favorite!
Even though tranexamic acid would be formulated together with other skin-brighteners before, now we have isolated products like Naturium’s Tranexamic Topical Acid.
2. Polyglutamic Acid
Polyglutamic acid is a new addition to hydrating skincare ingredients! It’s a peptide, meaning that it’s multiple amino acids chained together. So, several amino acids named glutamic acid come together and form polyglutamic acid.
It’s usually derived from the bacterial fermentation of soybeans. In your skincare, it functions as a skin hydrator similar to hyaluronic acid.
In fact, the same study suggests that it has a much better moisturizing effect on the skin than collagen or hyaluronic acid. This is a bold statement.
And it’s too early to throw your hyaluronic acid serum into the wall and yell “polyglutamic acid”. However, the science is there and it says it has a great water retention capacity.
For any skin that’s dry or dehydrated, know that hyaluronic acid is not the only goodie to quench that thirst.
3. Maltobionic Acid
It’s derived from malt sugar. PHAs have a larger molecular size compared to alpha and beta hydroxy acids. Bigger molecular size translates to slower and superficial skin penetration.
That means you don’t need to worry about a burning sensation or skin irritation after exfoliation. Its additional benefits include antioxidant properties as well as skin hydration.
Like all other PHAs, maltobionic is also a great exfoliant for people with rosacea and very sensitive skin. And not surprisingly, the skincare brands Neostrata and Exuviance are reigning supreme when it comes to PHAs.
4. Asiatic Acid
Asiatic acid is a compound derived from Centella Asiatica. You might be more familiar with the term Cica. An acid gifted from the K-beauty industry, this is the new antioxidant sensitive skin types are going to love.
It’s showing up in more skincare products, like Hyram’s skincare line, as people are leaning towards more plant-based, naturally-derived ingredients.
Just like superfoods in skincare, Asiatic acid is also full of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and has anti-inflammatory benefits.
So if you have a compromised skin barrier, or you’re prone to inflammation and acne, this can be your new skin-soother. Additionally, these types of skin calming ingredients are wise to add to your winter or fall skincare routine.
5. Succinic Acid
The Inkey List put succinic acid on the map. Most of us hadn’t even heard of this acid before. Well, we still have no other succinic acid product since then either! The ingredient claims are in line with product claims.
So apparently, succinic acid is a compound derived from natural sources and it has anti-inflammatory and anti-acne benefits. So succinic acid in skincare is being marketed towards people who are dealing with acne and excess oil production.
And the reviews around this particular product are mostly positive. But here’s the thing and I’m going to give The Inkey List as an example because like I said, there is no other product that boasts containing succinic acid as much as TIL.
Their product also contains other anti-acne ingredients like salicylic acid and sulfur. And given the lack of literature around succinic acid, you can’t help but get a little hesitant. So, is succinic acid is the hot new anti-acne acid?
Way too early to say. Keep in mind that brands like The Inkey List and The Ordinary made a name for themselves by making isolated acid solutions. So this might be a desperate attempt to create new buzz.
6. Mandelic Acid
This is actually not that new. Just like glycolic acid, mandelic acid is an alpha-hydroxy acid. It exfoliates, resurfaces the skin, and helps smooth out your skin texture and tone.
But this ingredient looks like it’s making a comeback. Youth To The People, for example, just released a mandelic acid exfoliant.
Because mainstream acids like glycolic and salicylic are not always easy to tolerate when you have sensitive skin. And if you’re prone to blemishes, it makes it all the more difficult to exfoliate without aggravating acne.
But that’s where mandelic acid comes in. It’s way gentler than other hydroxy acids. And it has additional anti-bacterial benefits
And that is great when you have oily and acne-prone skin. So get excited. Because you don’t need to resort to irritating acids to get clear skin.
7. Kojic Acid
Kojic acid is gaining popularity due to its ability to treat hyperpigmentation. It’s derived from fungi and is a byproduct of certain fermented foods.
It works by inhibiting the activity of a certain enzyme called tyrosinase. This enzyme is responsible for creating melanin, which eventually causes dark spots and patches on the skin. Because of its working mechanism, it’s considered an effective treatment for all kinds of hyperpigmentation including melasma.
Even though it carries the potential for irritation when you use it in concentrations of more than 1%, it’s still touted as a gentler alternative to hydroquinone. So if you want to treat hyperpigmentation but hydroquinone is not your cup of tea, keep kojic acid on your radar.
So these are some of the latest skincare acids you might want to know about. Don’t get me wrong. Some ingredients, like retinol, are forever! But it doesn’t hurt to have some alternatives to those popular ingredients when they don’t work for you, no?
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