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The acid test; EDITED BY SALLY MCLEAN.

Byline: LYNSEY HOPE

IF YOU'VE ever watched the scene where Samantha gets a chemical peel in Sex and the City, you probably avoid anything to do with acids like the plague.

But cosmetic consultant Dr Rabia Malik wants to put you at ease.

"Peels are not as they were in the 80s and 90s," she says.

"They are very effective and underrated. What we use has become far more refined.

"Next generation acids do so much more than exfoliate. They can erase sun damage, plump out wrinkles and banish acne."

With that in mind, we asked Dr Malik for an acids masterclass.

Salicylic: Best for acne Salicylic acid is an oil-soluble beta hydroxy acid (BHA) and it can help prevent clogging in the pores and regulate oil production.

A Clinical Therapeutics study showed it was great for reducing breakouts.

"Salicylic acid penetrates into the sebaceous glands," Dr Malik explains. "It helps regulate sebum production and dissolves the 'glue' that holds dead skin cells together.

"But it can be quite drying and is generally recommended if you have very oily skin."

TRY: CosMedix Purity Clean Exfoliating Cleanser, PS29.50 for 150ml, strawberrynet.com. Or Malin and Goetz Salicylic Gel, PS19 for 15ml, spacenk.com

Mandelic: Best for wrinkles This acid is derived from bitter almonds. Research in Cosmetic Dermatology showed it was as effective as glycolic for treating sun damage but it's far gentler than other alpha hydroxy acids.

"Mandelic peels can help with fine lines as it stimulates collagen production," Dr Malik says. "Not only does it exfoliate the top layer of skin, but it encourages a new layer of skin cells to grow."

TRY: Philosophy Microdelivery Peel, PS59.50, johnlewis.com. Or Pixi Peel and Polish, PS24, available at lookfantastic.com

Hyaluronic: Best for hydration "Hyaluronic acid is a sugar molecule found in connective tissue in the joints and skin," says Dr Malik.

"It retains more than 1000 times its weight in water, making it the ultimate hydrator. As we age, hyaluronic acid production declines but you can use topical forms instead. It helps draw water to your cells, rehydrating them."

It pops up in everything from foundations to lipsticks. TRY: La Roche-Posay HYALUB5 Hyaluronic Acid Serum, PS37 for 30ml, boots.com. Or Super Facialist Hyaluronic Acid Firming Intense Facial Serum, PS16 for 30ml, sainsburys.co.uk Lactic: Best all rounder A lactic acid peel clears out toxins, dead cells and debris.

"It can also boost collagen production and hydrate the skin," Dr Malik says.

"It's an alpha hydroxy acid and it's a good pick even for sensitive skin as it tends to be less irritating.

"It's as mild as lactic acid, is derived from milk and it can even out skin tone and help improve hyper-pigmentation."

TRY: Elemis Dynamic Resurfacing Facial Pads, PS39 for 60, elemis.com. Or Eucerin Dermo Pure Scrub, PS9.80 for 100ml, cocooncenter.co.uk Polyhydroxy: Best for sun exposure Polyhydroxy acids can be used by people with conditions such as rosacea and dermatitis.

Dermatologic Surgery research shows it can protect cells from age-accelerating free radicals caused by the sun.

Look for gluconolactone and lactobionic on the label. TRY: NeoStrata Bio-Hydrating Cream, PS28.99, 40g, skinoracle.com. Or Zelens PHA+ Bio Peel Resurfacing Facial Pads, PS65 for 50, johnlewis.com Retinoic: Best for a new face "Retinol is a vitamin A derivative," Dr Malik says. "When absorbed by cells, it turns into retinoic acid and can get excellent results with problems including wrinkles and acne."

Research in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology says it can strengthen blood vessels, boosting flow to the skin's surface. It stimulates cel renewal and gets rid of acne. Dr Malike adds: "It can cause irritation if not used correctly, so it's not for beginners."

TRY: Indeed Labs Retinol Reface, PS15.99 for 30ml, asos.com. Or Tata Harper Retinoic Nutrient Face Oil, PS43 for 10ml, cultbeauty.co.uk

Ascorbic: Best for brightening "Ascorbic acid is a form of vitamin C," says Dr Malik. "This is the superstar as it's pure. Some other forms are derivatives and not as powerful."

It's a great antioxidant capable of neutralising free radical damage caused by pollution and the sun's UV rays.

But it is also essential for the synthesis of collagen, which gives your skin its bounce. "Vitamin C can brighten skin and improve elasticity," Dr Malik adds.

TRY: Kiehl's Powerful-Strength Line-Reducing Concentrate, PS49.40 for 50ml, kiehls.co.uk. Or Exuviance AF Vitamin C20 Serum Capsules, PS59 for 60, dermacaredirect.co.uk

A pollution But it is synthesis WARNINGS Some acid peels are not recommended if you are pregnant or taking other medications, such as Roaccutane.

They also make your skin more vulnerable to UV rays, so wait a few days before exposing yourself to the sun. Speak to your provider before treatment if you have conditions such as eczema, psoriasis or rosacea.

CAPTION(S):

RED ALERT Samantha's disastrous peel in Sex and the City

Peels can help a whole host of skin problems but you need to choose wisely. Here are some tips from an expert
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Jun 5, 2018
Words:848
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