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It Ingredient List: The Gentle Acid That's Safe For Sensitive Skin

In this column, we spotlight under-the-radar skincare ingredients that ought to be in your regime.

The term acids may seem pretty overwhelming and a tad too scary especially for those with sensitised complexions that are prone to itching, breakouts and redness. However, there is one that you should definitely note: AHA. Also known as alpha hydroxy acids, AHAs are acids found in natural substances such as sugar cane, milk and other citrus foods. In skincare, they are often listed as citric acid and glycolic acid.

What makes AHAs a must-have in every beauty junkie’s skincare ritual no matter the skin type? It helps treat skin in two key ways. Firstly, it acts as a chemical exfoliant to break down dead cells on the surface of your skin to reveal a smoother, more radiant complexion. While a lot of such exfoliators may dry out the skin causing it to be even more sensitised, AHAs are actually moisturising agents. Thus, the skin feels smooth, soft and hydrated.

If you are already thinking of incorporating AHA into your routine, know this: Dr. XY Lum of IDS Clinic shares that products containing vitamin C should not be used with products made with AHAs, as the latter may cause the pH of vitamin C products to change — altering and affecting its efficacy. She also adds that it really depends on the type of molecules of vitamin Cs and the concentration of different products used in combination, that really determines their stability.

Above, we suss out the AHA skincare products to add to your regime.

#1: Eve Lom Radiance Transforming Mask, $150, Escentials
A natural source of AHA is extracted from the precious Australian caviar lime known as Lime Pearl to remove the buildup of debris and promote natural cell turnover for visibly brighter, smoother and more hydrated skin. #2: Guerlain Abeille Royale Double R Renew and Repair Serum, $223
To treat dullness, this is made with a Soft Peeling Technology that contains three types of AHAs to gently remove dead skin cells to reveal a brighter complexion. An Exclusive Lifting-Effect Technology (enriched with two exclusive active ingredients known as the brand’s Royal Jelly and Black Bee Honey) tackles loose skin by stimulating the synthesis of hyaluronic acid and repairing fragmented collagen. #3: Fresh Sugar Lip Wonder Drops Advanced Therapy, $39
This leave-on lip gel treatment is made with a blend of sugar and natural fruit extracts that exfoliates, softens and smoothes dry, flaky lips. The best part? Besides conditioning and nourishing puckers, it even preps it for lipstick application. #4: Origins High-Potency Night-A-Mins Oil-Free Resurfacing Cream with Fruit-Derived AHAs, $66
Formulated with natural AHAs, which are found in grapes and sugar beets, this oil-free cream targets dry, dead layers of skin overnight, so you’ll wake up with softer, smoother and brighter skin. Neroli, valerian and vanilla essential oils are also infused for better sleep. #5: Mamonde Aqua Peel Toner, $25
Suitable for use daily, this exfoliating toner is formulated with lactic acid to slough away dead skin cells. Plum Blossom Extract is also mixed in to hydrate and boost radiance. Main image: