Natural beauty acids are some of the most potent anti-aging heroes found in nature — and there’s one to solve every skin and hair woe. For example, the malic acid in strawberries can whiten teeth. Fatty acids from avocado shells can soften and hydrate rough skin, and the acetic acid in vinegar kills bacteria and unclogs pores.
Read on to discover the acid that’s best to deal with your most stubborn beauty issues!
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Restore hydration with this acid combo
When paired together, hyaluronic acid (a naturally occurring skin substance that diminishes with age) and polyglutamic acid (a derivative of fermented soybeans) work double-duty to moisturize parched skin. How the combo works: “Hyaluronic acid hydrates the lower layers of skin, while polyglutamic acid forms a protective barrier that hydrates, plumps and locks moisture into skin’s top layer,” says Rhonda Klein, M.D., a dermatologist in Westport, Connecticut. Even better? “Research shows polyglutamic acid increases skin’s natural moisture levels over time for long-lasting hydration.” Simply apply a sheet mask containing both acids for soft, silky skin almost instantly.
Fade spots with kojic acid
Extracted from mushrooms, kojic acid regulates the production of melanin (skin’s pigment) to lighten any skin discoloration. Apply a kojic acid–infused serum nightly for brighter skin in two weeks.
Smooth wrinkles with glycolic acid
Sugarcane-derived glycolic acid stimulates collagen production to help reduce fine lines. Simply swipe some on skin twice a day for tauter skin in one week.
Thicken hair with salicylic acid
The same acid we used to cut through dirt and oil on our skin as teenagers works just as well on the scalp to remove buildup that clogs hair follicles and causes shedding. This also promotes a healthy scalp environment for new growth. Wash with a salicylic acid–infused shampoo twice a week for results in 30 days.
Calm rosacea with azelaic acid
Anti-inflammatory compounds in azelaic acid (found in wheat, barley and rye) reduce redness and irritation in rosaceaprone skin, says Dr. Klein. Dab the acid onto skin twice a day for results in a week.
This story originally appeared in our print magazine.