5 Dermatologist Approved Acids You Can Use in Winter Without Drying Out Your Skin

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What skincare products do dermatologists recommend to improve skin texture and tone during the autumn and winter months? Serums, cleansers, and moisturisers many skin experts prefer to suggest for problem skin are often acid-based. Facial acids constitute an integral part of any good autumn or winter skincare routine and the products you use every day to brighten your skin are likely to contain a variety of beneficial acids as “active” ingredients. These acids cause physiologic changes on the derma layer of your skin and thus, help improve fine lines, eliminate wrinkles, revitalise skin, and prevent breakouts. 

Your skin turns dry when its outermost layer lacks adequate hydration. During the winter, the moisture level in the air drops and this contributes to your skin drying out. As acids can moderate the pH level of the skin they tend to promote dry and flaky skin in the winter. However, not all acids dehydrate the skin. In fact, some of them help get rid of dry winter skin altogether. Here are 5 dermatologist approved acids you can use in winter that won’t dry out your skin.

#1. Glycolic Acid: The Holy Grail of Skincare

If you’re new to the world of using acids when it comes to your skincare routine, serums, cleansers, or moisturisers containing glycolic acid are a good place to start. An excellent exfoliant derived from sugarcane, glycolic acid belongs to the alpha hydroxy group, a common name for facial acids soluble in water. 

Glycolic acid has transformed the way we take care of our skin thanks to its effectiveness in getting rid of wrinkles, hyperpigmentation, and breakouts. Skincare products that are formulated with glycolic acid are for those with dull or oily skin, spots, suntan, acne, and dead skin. The acid exfoliates the top layer of the skin and eliminates dead tissues helping it glow with enhanced light reflection. The glycolic acid then dissolves the dead skin paving the way for new skin layers to emerge. Thus, skincare products with glycolic acid boost skin luminosity and are a good choice to treat dry and dull winter skin. Contrary to scrubs, which are abrasive and may result in skin irritation, glycolic acid tends to be much gentler, ideal for your winter skincare routine where your skin can be more prone to sensitivity. 

#2. Hyaluronic Acid: The Super Moisturiser 

A potent ingredient for medical and skincare applications, hyaluronic acid is fast gaining popularity. Unlike other acids that peel off the dead skin, hyaluronic acid is hydrating and enables the skin to retain moisture, another skincare essential for dry winter skin. 

Due to its super moisturising properties, regular use of creams or moisturisers with hyaluronic acid encourages your skin to attract and retain moisture. The lack of hydration is the foremost cause of skin losing its vitality and turning flaky, wrinkled, and discoloured so this acid is definitely one to add to your skincare arsenal. Hyaluronic acid is often touted as the gateway product to softer and smoother skin and essential when it comes to looking after your skin in winter. You can get your hyaluronic acid fix in the form of Skinceuticals Phyto Corrective Serum, it contains botanical ingredients for sensitive skin. 


#3. Lactic Acid: The All Rounder

Do you want a skincare product that is both exfoliating and moisturising? Then the obvious choice is skincare serums or moisturisers with lactic acid as the key ingredient. 

Derived from milk, lactic acid is among the most used skincare acids. It carries the moisturising element of milk, which has been widely used in skincare products for years. At the same time, lactic acid is a gentle exfoliant perfect for sensitive skin. It peels off the dead skin, eliminates hyperpigmentation, and clears fine lines without the slightest feeling of irritation or damage to the skin texture.  And above all, it is an excellent ingredient to treat dry autumn or winter skin.

#4. Kojic Acid: The Skin Whitening Solution

Are you struggling with skin pigmentation, sun patches, brown spots, or skin discolouration? Kojic acid is an age-old Japanese skincare product developed from local mushrooms and fermented rice.

Kojic acid is a known skin-whitening solution. Serums or gels containing it as their ingredient help lighten and brighten the skin. The acid inhibits the production of melanin, which is responsible for darkening skin tones. Kojic acid penetrates deep into the skin layers and deactivates the production of melanin. This improves skin complexion and stops discolouration. Kojic acid is effective in treating age spots, sun spots, and acne marks. You can also use it to get rid of dry winter skin since it does not impact the skin’s natural moisture content.

#5. Mandelic Acid: The Anti-Ageing Agent

Worried about fine lines, wrinkles and generally ageing skin? Suitable for both regular and sensitive skin, the molecules of mandelic acid fight ageing effects at every layer of the skin slowly and steadily and work to reverse the effects of ageing. 

Mandelic acid helps increase skin regeneration by dissolving the tiny cells responsible for holding dead skin and therefore, accelerates dead skin removal by creating space for new skin cells. As a result, an otherwise dull winter complexion gives way to a refreshed layer of skin. The ability of mandelic acid to boost collagen strength also contributes to its anti-ageing properties by keeping the skin’s elasticity intact. This, in turn, gives youthful firmness to the skin and is particularly useful for treating dry winter skin.

Mandelic acid also plays an important role in reducing melasma, a skin condition that results in dark brown or greyish pigmentation and skin discolouration. Its antibacterial properties inhibit sebum production preventing skin breakouts. 

These are the 5 key acids that dermatologists recommend for use in autumn and winter that won’t dry out your skin. However, as with any new products or ingredients introduced to your skincare routine, trialing a range of products to suit your skin’s needs and skin type is an absolute must. 


Latest update: 17/03/2021
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