Meet Succinic Acid, a Lesser Known Skin-Care Acid With Lots of Benefits

Getty / Vera Livchak

If you’re new to skin care, or you’re just trying to educate yourself on the many ingredients, products, and treatments available to you, you’ve likely stumbled across a few acids in your research. At first, this probably gave you pause – an acid . . . in a serum? How does that work? – but the world of skin-care acids is a vast and great one, and the second you figure out how to use these ingredients in your regimen correctly, you’ll see just how magical they are. This is especially true with the newest member of the party, succinic acid.

To start, let’s cover what a skin-care acid is: it’s an ingredient found in many great products that help address various skin-care concerns, typically through chemical exfoliation. However, it’s important to note that while most skin-care acids, like glycolic acid and lactic acid, fall into one of two main categories – alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) and beta hydroxy acids (BHAs) – succinic acid doesn’t because it’s not actually a chemical exfoliant.

What Is Succinic Acid?

Although succinic acid has been used for years in traditional medicine, it’s just starting to get the widespread recognition that it deserves. The ingredient is naturally found in amber and sugar cane and has antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties, making it great for “skin re-conditioning and antioxidant properties,” Mark Curry, cofounder of The Inkey List, tells POPSUGAR. “These factors could bring this ingredient up there with the likes of retinol and vitamin C.”

Succinic Acid’s Benefits For Skin

Succinic acid has a broad range of benefits, including antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. This makes products containing it great for targeting acne, excessive oil production, and fine lines. It’s also gentle enough for all skin types, even those with sensitive skin, which can’t be said for all acids.

Plus, it also helps with hydration, especially when used in conjunction with hyaluronic acid. So, next time you’re in the drugstore or browsing the aisles of your favorite beauty retailer, look for skin-care products with succinic acid in them, so that you can test the magic of this ingredient out for yourself.

Before you try testing it out, just remember, everyone’s skin is different, so you should always consult with your doctor or dermatologist before adding a new ingredient into your routine. Make sure you patch test any products with succinic acid prior to using them all over your face, just to make sure your skin can tolerate the ingredient.

Additional reporting by Tori Crowther and Renee Rodriguez

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