While some of us are still catching up on the many different skincare acids, here comes another one - Succinic acid. Succinic acid comes from amber or sugarcane and has long been used as a sweetener in the food industry. However, in the past few years, studies suggest that succinic acid has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, making it a good skincare ingredient for oily and acne-prone skin. A study published on ResearchGate has also shown that combining succinic acid with hyaluronic acid positively affects tissue regeneration. The combination also calms inflamed skin and maintains hydration. While hyaluronic acid is already known for that, adding succinic acid only adds to its benefits.
Medical facialist Renée Lapino tells Refinery29 that succinic acid balances congested and oily complexions making it ideal for those who struggle with acne. It is also good for mature skin as it reverses the signs of aging. Lapino explains that succinic acid has smaller molecules and is more commonly used in serum form. For those with sensitive skin that do not react well to retinol and other acids, you may want to try succinic acid skincare products.
While the skincare industry is still catching up with this particular acid, Refinery29's Jessica Harris found succinic acid in Perricone MD's Acne Relief Calming Treatment and Hydrator and Zelens Z Hyaluron Hyaluronic Acid Complex Serum Drops. She shares that she has sensitive skin that is prone to redness, and using retinol and salicylic acid had unwelcome side effects like dryness and tightness. After a month of incorporating both products in her daily skincare routine, Harris has observed that her skin texture has improved, and her scars and blemishes have vanished. She has also noticed that her fine lines are less noticeable, and succinic acid does not dry out or irritate her sensitive skin like most acids. However, since succinic acid is still a powerful acid, it's best to use sunscreen daily.
You can also find succinic acid in Elemis BIOTEC Skin Energising Night Cream, a moisturizer that can be easily incorporated into your nightly regimen. Succinic acid is also the hero ingredient in Aquagem's Cheat Code Lightweight Moisturizer, suitable for the day.
As mentioned, succinic acid addresses skin concerns like acne, excess oil, inflammation, and fine lines. If you can't get ahold of skincare products formulated with it, you can always try the following:
Just like collagen and elastic, our bodies produce hyaluronic acid. However, as we age, the production of all three decreases. Eating fruits and vegetables that are high in antioxidants will help, and so will including hyaluronic acid in your skincare routine. Hyaluronic acid is a humectant and keeps skin firm and moisturized. If dry skin and fine lines are your concerns, Allure's top picks include La Roche-Posay Hyalu B5 Pure Hyaluronic Acid Face Serum, SkinCeuticals Hyaluronic Acid Intensifier, Dr. Dennis Gross Hyaluronic Marine Hydration Booster, and The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5.
For those with acne-prone skin, salicylic acid will already be familiar. It fights bacteria, reduces inflammation, decreases oil production, and exfoliates skin. As salicylic acid can be drying, board-certified dermatologist Dr. Hadley King advises starting with it once or twice a week, then increase the frequency depending on your tolerance. For effective spot treatment, Cosmopolitan recommends e.l.f. Acne Fighting Spot Gel. Harper's Bazaar also likes COSRX Salicylic Acid Daily Gentle Cleanser and Paula's Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant. For chemical exfoliants, use once or twice a week, as Dr. King suggests, until your skin gets used to it.
Related article: How Dermatologists Control Cystic Acne
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