Top 3 Acids to Avoid With Eczema 2023

A lot of skincare products nowadays include acids. Skincare companies often claim different acids to be hydrating or a one-stop solution to every skin issue. However, as eczema makes our skin more sensitive, we should investigate what ingredients can work its magic on us! There are 3 main types of acids people with eczema should avoid using to prevent a breakout or exacerbating your current condition.

Acids to Avoid with Eczema

1. Vitamin A, also known as, Retinol or Retinoids

Acids to avoid with Eczema: Retinol

Retinols are often used to treat acne or signs of aging as it helps stimulate more cell production! However, it is known as the harshest over-the-counter acid you can find to put on your skin. For people with normal skin type, they have to start from a milder retinol product and gradually build up the tolerance to avoid side effects.

The side effects of retinol are not so different from an eczema flare up! The side effects of using retinol are:

  • Excessive dryness
  • Redness
  • Scaling
  • Itching

As retinol draws hydration from skin, it can actually make your eczema condition worse! We suggest that eczema patients to avoid retinol or only apply retinol under medical supervision!

2. Salicylic Acid

Acids to avoid with Eczema: Salicylic Acid

Salicylic acid is another acid that is typically used to treat acne and acne scars. It removes oil from pores and softens skin in the process. The exfoliative property and effectiveness in treating acne made it a popular OTC product! However, it can cause a lot of irritation to sensitive skin! As it tends to dry out skin, it may become a trigger to an eczema flare-out. The side effects of using salicylic acids are:

  • Dryness
  • Peeling
  • Hives
  • Itching
  • Redness

3. Glycolic Acid

Acids to avoid with Eczema: Glycolic Acid

Glycolic acid is a natural occurring acid that can be extracted from sugar cane! However, in most skincare products, you will find laboratory synthesized glycolic acid as opposed to natural ones. Some companies use this acid to develop chemical peels because of its exfoliative nature.

Once again, glycolic acid is used to prevent or cure acne outbreak! Depending on the dosage of the product, some may cause irritation to sensitive skin! Here are the more common side effects of using glycolic acid:

  • Redness
  • Inflammation
  • Burning sensation
  • Itching

Testing Compatibility

Most of these products can be harsh or damaging to people with normal skin. As they tend to dry out the skin, they are not compatible with skins that are affected by dermatitis! This is because eczema is already categorized by skin dryness and sensitivity, putting strong products can make the condition worse, or cause an eczema flare-out. If you are unsure if your product carries these acids, you can always do a patch test.

Patch testing is highly recommended before you introduce new skin-care products. Usually, people put the product on a part of their skin that is not their face first. If you really wish to use these acids in your skincare routine, you can also gradually build tolerance. You can do that by applying the product in a small amount infrequently and rocking up the frequency week by week!

Another tip would be looking up the strength of the product, making sure that you do not use the harshest product right from the beginning!

Overall thoughts

Even though some acids can be irritative to our skin, there are other acids that are milder and more compatible with eczema patients. But, a rule of thumb would always be avoiding acids that are exfoliative in nature. All three of the acids listed are also used to draw oil out of skin layers, which makes skin dryness more likely to happen and worsen eczema conditions!

Gregor Smith

Creator of EczemaFeed. Longtime sufferer who wants to make a change. The purpose is to provide trusted and useful information to those suffering from the dry red patches and itching of eczema, as well as those who care for those suffering from it. It includes the latest treatments, anecdotal user experience, and guidance on how to find products that may help relieve eczema symptoms.

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