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Gallic acid: the antioxidant taking the stress out of skincare

Want to reap the benefits of an ingredient that can bestow a number of benefits on skin? Gallic acid could be your BFF

Looking for a one-and-done skincare ingredient? Something that’s an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and suitable for a wide range of concerns? Then take a look at gallic acid, which could be the secret to a luminous and glowing complexion.

What is gallic acid?

Gallic acid is a powerful antioxidant that's said to outperform both vitamin C and goji berries due to its exceptional potency. It helps neutralise harmful free radicals that accelerate ageing and damage to skin, while helping to shield skin from environmental aggressors.

It’s also anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial, soothing and reducing redness while boosting collagen production, skin firmness and elasticity, leading to fewer fine lines and wrinkles. It can also help to regulate sebum production, making it beneficial for people with oily or acne-prone skin, helping to prevent breakouts and promote a clearer, healthier complexion.

Who does it suit?

Due to its varied benefits, gallic acid is suitable for a wide range of skin types and concerns:

  • Ageing and mature skin will benefit from the antioxidant properties which help to prevent collagen loss, resulting in fewer fine lines and wrinkles. Over time, skin will become smoother, firmer, and more elastic. 
  • Sensitive or irritated skin will benefit from gallic acid’s anti-inflammatory properties which will help calm redness, reduce swelling, and make skin more comfortable. Its gentle nature makes it suitable for even the most delicate skin types, including those with rosacea or eczema, providing relief without causing further irritation.
  • Acne or blemish-prone skin will benefit from the antimicrobial properties–gallic acid will destroy acne-causing bacteria while sebum production will be regulated, preventing pores from becoming clogged and inflamed. Regular use can lead to a clearer, more balanced complexion with fewer breakouts and blemishes.

Is it safe?

Gallic acid is generally considered safe for use in skincare, but as with any new skincare ingredient it’s essential to perform a patch test before incorporating it into your routine, especially if you have sensitive skin or allergies. Although gallic acid is derived from natural sources, it’s important to check that products are formulated and tested by reputable skincare brands to ensure the products are both safe and effective.

If you have any concerns such as active acne, rosacea, or eczema, it’s worth speaking to a dermatologist or skincare expert to ensure that the products are compatible with your skin and minimise the risk of an adverse reaction.

Are there any side effects?

In most cases, gallic acid is well-tolerated by the skin. However, sometimes mild irritation or sensitivity may occur, particularly if you have a pre-existing condition or a compromised skin barrier. To minimise the risk of a reaction, it’s best to start with a lower concentration of gallic acid and gradually increase the frequency and potency as your skin adjusts. In addition, it’s best to avoid combining gallic acid with other potentially irritating ingredients such as retinoids and other skincare acids.

How should it be used?

Incorporating gallic acid into your skincare routine is relatively straightforward, thanks to its compatibility with various formulations and products. Serums, moisturisers, masks, and spot treatments can all contain gallic acid.

For optimal results, cleanse skin thoroughly before applying gallic acid-based products. If using a serum or moisturiser, gently massage a small amount onto the face and neck, avoiding the delicate eye area. Allow the product to absorb fully before layering additional skincare products or makeup.

When using gallic acid spot treatments or masks, follow the recommended usage guidelines provided by the manufacturer. Overuse of potent formulations can lead to excessive dryness or irritation, so it's essential to strike a balance between consistency and moderation.

Products to try

Drunk Elephant B-Goldi Bright Drops
Gallic acid is combined with niacinamide and mulberry leaf extract to fade dark spots and acne marks while adding radiance to the skin.

Sunday Riley B3 Nice 10% Niacinamide Serum
Suitable for all ages and skin types, niacinamide and resveratrol are combined with gallic acid to improve post-acne dark spots and reduce the look of pore size and redness, giving overall radiant skin.

PCA Skin HydraBright
Moisturising squalene is combined with brightening niacinamide and biostable gallic acid to treat dry, rough and stressed skin. Hydration is increased, while redness and irritation are soothed.

Theo Marvee Perfectum Gallic Serum 
A youth-boosting serum with gallic acid, kojic acid and coenzyme Q10 to stimulate collagen synthesis, moisturise, soothe, and protect against photo ageing.

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