Spring is coming, which, if you’re in the northern hemisphere, means lush greenery starts to sprout up, the days become longer, and the sun begins making regular much-missed appearances. And that means, yup, you guessed it, out with the ring light and in with mother nature’s natural light. Plenty of opportunities to glow!
To achieve a clearer, more even complexion that glows all day, shedding winter layers is an absolute must. That means that our skincare routine needs to include ingredients that help increase cell turnover whilst ideally also targeting any dark spots and unevenness. We hear regularly about standout ingredients such as retinoids or niacinamide, and wearing SPF to help with this, the latter of which should be a staple in our daytime routine 365 days a year. Now, we’re going to tell you about some star ingredients to help your skin achieve that fresh glowy zing that you may not yet know about.
What is it? Mandelic acid is derived from bitter almonds. It’s an Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA) that is growing fast in popularity due to how gentle it is on the skin compared with other popular AHAs. This product is growing especially quickly on Amazon. According to Spate, the alpha-hydroxy market is projected to exceed $3B by 2024, and the overall hyaluronic acid market is estimated to increase by a CAGR of 8.1% through 2027 when it’s projected to surpass $16B.
What’s so great about it? Mandelic acid has been proven to help tackle acne and acne scarring. Working to remove dead skin cells, products containing mandelic acid can help even out complexion. It is typically more gentle on the skin compared to other AHAs, so a great option to try if you’re nervous about introducing acids into your routine. Mandelic acid is great for people facing various skincare issues such as acne, poor skin texture, hyperpigmentation, wrinkles and fine lines, and melasma.
What is it? Azelaic acid is a naturally occurring dicarboxylic acid derived from wheat, barley and rye. It is also produced by yeast which is part of normal skin flora. In other words, it’s often already present on our skin, we could just benefit from adding a bit more.
What’s so great about it? Azelaic acid has anti-inflammatory, anti-microbiocidal and comedolytic properties, perfect for treating both acne spots and rosacea. It can help to treat acne from inception to scarring, reducing the size of spots and the lasting damage they can cause. Products formulated with azelaic acid as the main ingredient usually slot well into routines without fear of skin irritation.
What is it? Licorice root is an herbal remedy that has been used in medicine for centuries to treat heartburn, inflammation and viral infections. Because we can use it to treat a variety of conditions, plus it’s pretty tasty too, it’s present in many everyday products, from supplements to tea and snacks.
What’s so great about it? More recently, a number of skincare products containing licorice extract have appeared, due to the extract’s anti-inflammatory properties and effectiveness in treating hyperpigmentation. Licorice extract works to disperse melanin by inhibiting melanin biosynthesis and cyclooxygenase activity, decreasing production. It’s also said to work incredibly well at improving skin radiance when paired with vitamin C or E. You may find it in Sunday Riley’s U.F.O Ultra-Clarifying Acne Treatment Face Oil and Good Genes Lactic Acid Treatment.
What is it? Kojic acid is a chemical produced by different types of fungi. It is also a by-product of fermented soy sauce and rice wine.
What’s so great about it? Kojic acid inhibits and prevents the formation of the amino acid tyrosine, which produces melanin. It can have a lightening effect on scarring and discolouration, as it has been proven to inhibit the production of melanin.Whilst products formulated to contain kojic acid are generally safe to use, it can irritate some sensitive skins and has been proven to affect the skin’s ability to protect itself from sunburn, so you should always follow with SPF.
What are they? Hold on, we know all about AHAs and BHAs, but what’s a PHA?! Polyhydroxy acids (PHAs) are the lesser-known sister of these two acid groups.
What’s so great about them? Like AHAs, the main job of PHAs is to exfoliate the skin, revealing a smoother, clearer layer underneath. PHAs aren’t talked about much because they’re widely considered not to be as effective as other chemical exfoliants. But because they’re much more gentle, they’re great for those whose skin is irritated by AHAs. PHAs are packed with antioxidants and help to stimulate cell repair, too.
Plus, according to a study conducted in 2004, PHAs were thought not to increase the likelihood of sunburn. So, if you’re looking for a reliable ingredient to introduce you to exfoliation with minimal risk of skin irritation or sunburn, try products with PHAs in.
We only recommend products we have independently researched, tested, and loved. If you purchase a product found through our links, Sunday Edit may earn an affiliate commission.