What is Malic Acid?
Malic acid is one specific type of alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA), a fruit-derived acid naturally found in apples and pears. Like other AHAs, it exfoliates the top, superficial layer of the skin, which does everything from smooth out texture to fade discoloration to help unclog pores.
Malic acid also has the added benefit of acting as a humectant, meaning it's an ingredient that attracts moisture and traps it in the skin. This added hydration capability and its larger size and decreased penetration can make malic acid a gentle component.
Malic acid in skincare: How can you find it?
Skincare products include malic acid as an exfoliant ingredient. It can remove dead cells on the outermost layer of the skin and promote cell turnover, leaving skin brighter, smoother, and more even, helping to keep pores unclogged.
Anyone looking to fade discoloration, add natural skin glow, and those who are acne-prone can benefit from malic acid. It’s also a good choice for those with sensitive skin and for whom other acids may be too irritating.
Malic acid can be safe to use once or twice daily, depending on what other ingredients it's combined with. It works well with other alpha- and beta-hydroxy acids at lower doses for synergistic effects and hydrating ingredients such as glycerin and hyaluronic acid.
However, a few key points set it apart from other acids. First and foremost, its size. Malic acid is a larger molecule than other alpha hydroxy acids, such as glycolic or lactic acid. Meaning this acid remains in the superficial layers of the skin, ideal for gentle and straightforward exfoliations. Conversely, harsh exfoliating ingredients can profoundly affect sensitive skin, increasing irritation or hypersensitivity.
Be cautious when using it with other acids or notoriously harsh or irritating ingredients such as retinoids. Malic acid it's often combined with other AHAs and BHAs in many topical products.
Benefits of malic acid for your skin
- Decreases the stickiness of skin cells on the skin's surface: When dead, dry skin cells get stuck together. They can clog pores and create an uneven texture. Breaking down some of the 'glue' that holds all of these cells together exfoliates and brightens the skin.
- Hydrates skin: Keeping your skin clean is as essential as keeping it hydrated. Something that stands out about malic acid is that it can help attract and retain moisture in the skin. Keeping your skin hydrated is ideal for its functioning and protection mechanisms.
- Balances the skin’s pH: According to a 2020 study, it can help the skin to maintain a stable pH. The acid mantle of the skin is just as important as the functioning of the protective barrier. It, too, is imperative for acting as a barrier against bacteria and impurities you don't want on your skin.
- Increase collagen production: According to a 1998 study, using products with malic acid may increase collagen production and reduce signs of aging. Collagen is one of the proteins that give structure to the cells and tissues of your body.
Side-effects of Malic Acid
Although malic acid may irritate less than other AHAs, you should still use caution. Malic acid can cause redness, itching, and swelling and make your skin more sensitive to UVB rays. This is more likely to occur in sensitive areas around the eyes and when used in high concentrations or for more extended periods.
We recommend performing a patch test on a product containing AHAs before applying it to a broader area of your skin.
How to Use It
If you are looking for faster results, combine them with other AHAs. Many products in the market contain malic acid as an added ingredient to AHAs. However, if your skin is sensitive, stick to malic acid alone.
Avoid using malic acid or any exfoliants around your eyes because the skin here is fragile and delicate. In addition, any exfoliant makes your skin prone to sun damage because of the chemical peeling of the outer layer of the skin. If you are going to use malic acid in the morning, make sure to follow it up with sunscreen.
Gentle products from Craft & Care
At Craft & Care, we believe in gentle skin care as a path to wellness. Our skin is continually regenerating and for mildly irritated or sensitive skin, our products can be a mild supplement while using acids.
As a gentle cleanser, we recommend our Clay Cleanser, which consists of ingredients that gently and thoroughly remove makeup and sunscreen, protecting the skin from dehydration while providing balanced care.
Above all, our Glory Balm consisting of organic oils and waxes provides intensive care that soothes overly irritated skin, gently stimulates cell regeneration and protects the skin from water loss.
We wish you much well-being and serenity in your care!