Know Your Acids for Skincare

Acids in skincare are unsung heroes.

They are the miracle tools used to chemically exfoliate, even skin tone, and fight acne, age spots, wrinkles, and scarring. It can seem overwhelming to know which skincare products containing acids are best, but knowing the specific uses for each can be helpful in choosing products that are best for your unique skin type. Some acids are more well known than others, but they each have an individual purpose depending on your skin’s different issues, and we’ll discover that now. 


Best for… Acid
acne-prone skin azelaic acid, salicylic acid, glycolic acid, lactic acid, mandelic acid
mature skin glycolic acid, lactic acid, ascorbic acid, ferulic acid
fading pigmentation kojic acid, azelaic acid, glycolic acid, lactic acid, linoleic acid, ascorbic acid, ferulic acid


The Different Types of Acids and Their Uses

The acids listed below are the primary acids skincare specialists work with that have been well researched in skincare.  Keep in mind, acids are great for most people, but sensitive skin needs the selective de-squamatization delivered by enzymes, which are much gentler.

Azelaic Acid:  Treats acne, papulopustular rosacea, hyperpigmentation/melasma, and aging skin. This is an awesome, multifunctional acid. Usual use: 20% on leave-on products.

Ascorbic Acid: AKA vitamin C. Comes in many forms, some more stable than others. Great for anti-oxidant effects, sun damage, and hyperpigmentation. We use primarily MAP (magnesium ascorbyl phosphate) vit C due to its stability and gentleness. Use range is typically between 5 and 20% (the work of Sheldon Pinnell, MD, from Duke University)  He proposed the use of unstable L-ascorbic acid.  We use stable MAP Vit C, instead.

Citric Acid: The baby sister of ascorbic acid. Citric Acid is a wonderful product for treating several skin problems like mild acne, pigmentation, clogged pores, sun tanning, wrinkles, and dark spots. Lemons, oranges, and certain berries contain citric acid in large quantities. You can apply citric acid on the skin, in the form of peels, toners, scrubs, or masks. Use is typically 1-5%.

Ferulic Acid: ferulic acid. A plant-based, phenolic antioxidant that is found in bran, among other plants. Research has shown that it provides antioxidant benefits to the skin while enhancing the stability of topical applications of antioxidant vitamins C and E. It also helps defend skin against environmental assault. Use is typically 1%.

Glycolic Acid: Is the holy grail for exfoliation, effectively removing the outermost layer of dead cells from the complexion, revealing brighter, fresher skin. Products that contain Glycolic Acid are used often to treat scarring, skin discoloration, and signs of aging, like fine lines and wrinkles. Use is typically between 5 and 35%.

Kojic Acid: is sometimes used in health and beauty products to lighten the skin. It may be used to treat skin conditions, such as sun damage, scars, and age spots. The science behind how kojic acid works as a lightening agent involves its effect on melanin production.

Lactic Acid: This is the hydrating acid that has many of the same effects as glycolic acid, but is milder for mature or sensitive skin. All alpha hydroxy acids exfoliate and improve skin texture, but lactic acid has an extra benefit you won’t get from its AHA cousins. Lactic acid helps improve the skin’s natural moisture factor, or the way the skin keeps itself hydrated. Basically, lactic acid helps to keep the skin moisturized and feeling less dry.

Malic Acid: Red wine contains antioxidants as well as malic acid, an alpha hydroxyacid. Both have scientific evidence showing they provide anti-aging and other skincare benefits. An antioxidant in wine, resveratrol, has been shown to be a very powerful antioxidant. It is a skin brightener.

Mandelic Acid: Softens and smoothes fine lines and roughness. It is derived from almonds. It is also an AHA. Mandelic acid is another alpha-hydroxy acid, one that’s derived from bitter almonds. Like glycolic acid, it’s an exfoliating agent that’s useful for preventing acne, treating sun damage, and evening out pigmentation. However, due to its larger molecular structure, it doesn’t penetrate the skin as deeply as glycolic acid, so it’s less irritating to the skin. For this reason, it’s commonly recommended in peels instead of glycolic acid, particularly for ethnic skin which is more prone to rebound pigmentation. Rebound pigmentation occurs when a resistance is built up to a particular substance due to excessive use. This causes the substance to not only be ineffective but often causes it to have the opposite of the intended effect.

Salicylic Acid: This is the only beta hydroxy acid and is used to treat acne and at lower doses, has anti-inflammatory effects. It is milder than AHA’s and helps keep pores clean. At concentrations above the usual 2%, salicylic acid has pronounced exfoliating and keratolytic effects that can soften calloused skin and corns.

Tartaric Acid: is naturally found in grapes and bananas, and when applied topically it can smooth the skin, enhancing your skin’s natural glow. Champagne, which is derived from grapes, is an easily available source of tartaric acid, and this detoxifying treatment is a great choice for a light alpha hydroxy mask.

The Three Main Types of Exfoliation

Many skincare experts recommend exfoliating the skin two to three times a week to tackle deep dirt and oil buildup, reduce dullness, and sweep away dead skin cells. Exfoliation promotes healthy cell turnover as they buff away the dead skin. There are three main types of exfoliation, and each has its benefits. 

Mechanical – scrubs anything that is abrasive from mildly to extremely harsh. The mechanical exfoliation uses a product like a scrub to physically remove the skin cells by buffing them away. 

Chemical – acids, primarily, which break down the keratin bonds of skin proteins (keratolytic) which reveals fresher, softer skin beneath.  This is primarily the AHA’s (alpha hydroxy acids).

Remember, all clients who are treated with or use products containing AHA’s must be instructed to use sunscreen, or they will do further damage to their skin with UV exposure, thus defeating the purpose.

Enzymatic – these enzymes are very specific in what they break down, which is only dead skin cells, not live cells, thus making them more gentle and appropriate for those with sensitive skin.

Be Sure to Consult a Skin Care Specialist

When working with skincare acids and exfoliation, it’s important to work with a knowledgeable skincare specialist. They’ve been trained to help assist their clients in achieving their skincare goals in the safest way possible. We love to answer any questions our customers may have, so please feel free to contact us and we’ll be sure to help you with your skincare routine!


15% OFF Select Products

ends April 26, 2021


Differences Between Peeper Keeper and Eye Serum?


We’ve had a lot of questions about our Eye Formulas, including what are the differences between Peeper Keeper and Eye Serum Products.

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First of all, let’s talk about the Original Formula of Peeper Keeper

Peeper Keeper original formula is a VERY rich product that doesn’t contain any specific anti-aging peptides or ingredients that would reduce puffiness, dark circles or wrinkles per se, (only soften the appearance of lines and wrinkles due to the moisturizing effect).

We’ve heard some comments that the original formula is too greasy. Well, it’s a deeply moisturizing product that is formulated specifically for dryness around the eye area.

If that’s not your thing, then we do have a series of eye products that are formulated to address SPECIFIC eye concerns, such as dark circles, puffiness, and more. You may be much happier with one of these depending on your specific needs.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

Here’s the breakdown of each product and it’s “Super Powers.”

After you read each description, the ingredients list, and how those ingredients “work” toward a solution, it will be easier to see which one, or combination of several, are right for you![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

Peeper Keeper Products

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Peeper Keeper original formula –

Rich, deeply emollient balm formulated to moisturizer and lubricate dry, crepey skin. Nothing more, nothing less. No peptides for dark circles or wrinkles or puffiness. It’s a great little multi-tasking product – brows, lips, chapped nose, cuticles, etc.[/vc_column_text][dt_default_button link=”|title:Queen%20Bee%20Peeper%20Keeper%20Eye%20Balm||”]Buy Now[/dt_default_button][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_empty_space][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/3″][vc_single_image image=”94306″ alignment=”center” style=”vc_box_border”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”2/3″][vc_column_text]

Peeper Keeper Riche –

A water based cream that is lightweight (not greasy) that contains marigold extract (cornflower) and one anti-aging peptide, so it soothes, lightly moisturizes and addresses fine lines.[/vc_column_text][dt_default_button link=”|title:Queen%20Bee%20Peeper%20Keeper%20Eye%20Balm||”]Buy Now[/dt_default_button][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_empty_space][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/3″][vc_single_image image=”8692″ alignment=”center” style=”vc_box_border”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”2/3″][vc_column_text]

Peeper Keeper Bright Eyes –

A water based cream that is lightweight and is specifically formulated with caffeine to aid in the reduction of puffiness due to fluid retention (not fatty eye bags). No peptides.[/vc_column_text][dt_default_button link=”|title:Queen%20Bee%20Peeper%20Keeper%20Eye%20Balm||”]Buy Now[/dt_default_button][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_empty_space][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

Eye Serum Products

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Essential Eye Serum –

Product is elegantly packaged and provides a host of benefits at an affordable price point. It contains 2 peptides (one for wrinkles and one for puffiness) and dark circle reduction in a serum product this is a lightweight. 15 ml size (1/2 oz).[/vc_column_text][dt_default_button link=”|title:Queen%20Bee%20Peeper%20Keeper%20Eye%20Balm||”]Buy Now[/dt_default_button][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_empty_space][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/3″][vc_single_image image=”96680″ alignment=”center” style=”vc_box_border”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”2/3″][vc_column_text]

Ultimate Eye Serum –

The holy grail of peptide products for puffiness, dark circles and wrinkles. It’s a lightweight serum that is lightly moisturizing. It contains three peptides, hence the highest cost of the five products. Two sizes.[/vc_column_text][dt_default_button link=”|title:Queen%20Bee%20Peeper%20Keeper%20Eye%20Balm||”]Buy Now[/dt_default_button][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_empty_space][/vc_column][/vc_row]

An Interview with Esthetician Julie Bilyeu (Part 2 of 2)

What are some of the most common skin issues you have noticed in your clients? 

Climate fluctuations are responsible for more skin concerns then many of us realize.  While I treat clients with different skin types and concerns across the board, the shifting of climates, like moving to a new place or the changing of seasons, is a general issue uniting all of them.

A particular cleanser they would use in the spring and summer may be too stripping in the dryer, colder months.  I see a lot of redness and inflammation because of it.

Facial-Polish-645235061725I also see a lot of pore congestion, and dull, sallow skin due to lack of proper exfoliation. I personally recommend monthly professional exfoliation treatments, like microdermabrasions or peels, in addition to Bee Naturals’ Facial Polish 1-3 times per week at home depending on the skin type. For lax skin, in need of more advanced rejuvenation/tightening we are excited to announce we now offer microneedling treatments.

Is there anything you feel like you are constantly having to remind your clients about their skin?

It’s amazing to find out how many people only cleanse once a day, often with an improper cleanser.  Adding to matters, many are unaware of how to properly condition and protect the skin, following cleansing.  Yes, we all have busy lives, but it’s an important part of taking care of ourselves to take care of our face. It four simple steps, TWICE A DAY (AM & PM):

  1. Cleanse
  2. Tone
  3. Moisturize
  4. Protect

What was the best piece of advice someone ever gave you on how to maintain a healthy complexion?

To cleanse twice a day, following the steps mentioned in the previous question, and that getting professional treatments are a necessity, not just a luxury!  It is recommended to start facial treatments in your mid 20’s, or early 30’s, but it is never too late to start.

Out of all the services you offer, which one gets you the most excited? rejuvapen

Microneedling by far! It’s an amazing treatment that offers the most improvement in skin tightness and texture by triggering your body’s natural ability to heal itself.  The triggering of this process stimulates the production of collagen and elastin fibers to add volume, plump and smooth out the skin’s texture. It’s a great alternative for those not interested in dermal fillers.

What treatment options do you offer that fall into the realm of medical esthetics?

  1. Rejuvapen Microneedling Treatments
  2. The Perfect Derma (medical grade peel)
  3. Diamond Microdermabrasions
  4. Fillers & Botox Injectables (preformed by our registered aesthetic nurse, Krista Stoll)

Skin care professionals are constantly stressing the importance of getting facials regularly, and many of us assume this is just a marketing ploy to get us to spend more money.  What do you have to say to all those skeptics out there?

Not to toot my own horn, but I’m confident in saying that I have yet to do a treatment where the client didn’t see a difference. There is only so much one can do at home on their own. An effective, professional exfoliation treatment and steam really helps to brighten, tone and decongest the pores for a smother, more refined texture.


*To see a full list of our spa services, or to book your appointment, click here!

An Interview with Esthetician Julie Bilyeu (Part 1 of 2)

What prompted you to become an esthetician?  What kind of training and past work experience do you have in the field?

I started working in the beauty industry as a receptionist back in 2000 at a spa here in St. Louis. While working the front desk, I sat back and watched the estheticians form relationships and a sense of trust with their clients which I admired. I communicated with the estheticians often and “picked their brains,” in regards to their treatments.  Skin care has always been something that I was into keeping up with.  I always watched my mother do her Noxema masks. I integrated these rituals into my own daily life as a young girl, and they eventually became my own routine as a young woman. It wasn’t until February 2008 after the birth of my second child, that it was time to chase my dreams.

I decided that I wanted to start helping others with what I had learned over the years, and be able to perform my own treatments.  So, I went to Xenon International Academy, and graduated in May 2008, at the top of my class, and obtained my Estheticians License.  I have worked in salons, spas, and medical spas, performing a wide array of treatments.  These included, IPL laser hair removal, photofacial, skin tightening and high frequency laser treatments, peels (medical and natural enzyme), microdermabrasions, waxing, and dermaplaning.  I am also trained in microneedling, the newest, innovative anti aging treatment.  I performed these services at a medical spa outside of Scottsdale, Arizona.

What sets Bee Natural apart from other natural skin care lines? cosmetic chemistry illustration

The use of game changing natural ingredients and Barbara’s exceptional understanding of cosmetic chemistry are what set Bee Naturals above the rest. Her 20 years as a nurse can be seen in her scientifically sound product formulations.  Many people don’t realize how important chemistry is when it comes to creating effective products.  Effectiveness goes well beyond simply combining a bunch of powerful ingredients, and it is refreshing to find a natural skin care company that understands this.

Based on your experiences with clients, how would you compare the effectiveness of natural products, like Bee Naturals, with conventional products lines, such as SkinCeuticles?

In Arizona, I was used to working with very high end “stem cell” products, that helped regenerate collagen and elastin fibers.  However, they were extremely chemical laden, and came with a heftier price tag than Bee Naturals.  I have noticed positive changes in my own skin with Bee Naturals, and my clients truly enjoy the natural, relaxing, therapeutic and noticeable results for their skin care concerns.  Bee Naturals products are mild, yet effective, natural and anti inflammatory.  I am an “ingredient guru” and do a lot of research on the effectiveness of certain ingredients for professional, as well as home care treatments for skin conditions.  I believe that these products treat the “root cause” and help heal skin conditions, rather than just masking the issues with chemicals for an instantly gratifying effect, without long lasting benefits.


What are some of your favorite Bee Naturals products?

ultra-AA-SerumI’m really into those geared towards anti-aging, so I would have to say the AA Serum which contains maximum levels of antioxidants-C, E, B5 and Hyaluronic acid, and has done wonders for the sun damage I got while living in Arizona for 3 years, and keeps on preventing further damage. Anti-Aging-Blemish-Creme

I also love the Anti-Aging Blemish Crème, which contains some of my favorite ingredients, such as, sugar cane extract, glycolic acid, Niacinamide and Hyaluronic acid.  I have seen major changes in my own skin and my clients’.

The Battle Against Blemishes, Oil and Acne, Part 2 of 2

In Part 1 of this article, we discussed the frustrations felt by those plagued with acne. Unfortunately, acne is an unforgiving issue that does not discriminate when it comes to your age. Recognizing that blemishes can threaten our skin at any stage of life, Bee Naturals has created a line of products to arm you in your battle. As promised, this section of the article will take a closer look at some of the active ingredients that make these products successful.

Anti-Aging Cream for Acne Prone Skin:

Moisture. As we age, we cannot seem to get enough of it. For this reason, many of us turn to a heavy-duty anti-aging product, formulated with every hydrating ingredient under the sun, hoping we will wake up the next morning with a supple, dewy, glowing complexion. Then, there are those of us who are aging and have come to terms with it, but their skin is living in a state of denial. This is a product for skin going through a midlife crisis. It is aging, but wants to break out in an attempt to relive its teenage years.

This cream uses Caprylic Capric Triglycerides to deliver aging skin with the nutrients it needs, without being too suffocating. At first glance, this tongue twister may look unnatural, but it is an ester derived from Coconut Oil. The ingredient has a dry, silky texture, full of skin loving fatty acids from the coconut that gently moisturize the skin. Sugar Cane Extract and Lactic Acid are Alpha Hydroxy Acids that have been added to the formula to aid in exfoliation. These two are equipped to tackle fine lines and wrinkles, while promoting collagen in the deep layers of the skin.

Blemish RX:


This little glass bottle is for 911 skin emergencies. Because it is formulated with so many powerhouse ingredients, only a little is needed and the bottle is sure to last you a while. Out of all the ingredients, Calamine is one that stands out from the rest. This pink powder is known for soothing skin irritations of all sorts. The ingredient’s claim to fame dates as far back as the 19th century when its anti-itch properties were first discovered. Calamine eliminates itchiness by absorbing fluids in the skin that are causing the irritation. Similarly, when applied topically over blemishes, Calamine works to draw the bacteria out of the clogged pores, drying up the area. As an anti-inflammatory, Calamine also reduces the redness often associated with acne.

Sulphur is the leading ingredient in the Blemish RX formula, which seems appropriate, as it is one of the most abundant minerals in our bodies. Often referred to as, “the beauty mineral,” Sulphur encourages the shedding of dead skin cells responsible for breakouts. Like Calamine, it clarifies the skin, absorbing excess oil and minimizing redness.

Blemish/Acne Cleansing Bar:

 It is hard to find acne-fighting products that do not leave you overly dry and irritated. This soap-free bar thoroughly cleanses the skin without stripping it of all its healthy oils. The Activated Charcoal in this product’s formula is responsible for its unique gray color and intriguing appeal. The ingredient is currently getting a lot of attention in the natural skin care arena, giving other ingredients a run for their money. Created by adding oxygen to charcoal, Activated Charcoal absorbs 100 to 200 times its weight in impurities. This is why the ingredient is often incorporated into the manufacturing of water filters. Its purifying qualities work in the same way for our skin, drawing impurities out of our pores.

Allantoin is used in the formula to help soothe, heal, and protect the skin. The ingredient is a chemical compound naturally occurring in most animals and plants. It is an incredibly versatile chemical and praised for its abilities to smooth the skin texture, diminish the appearance of acne scars, and stimulate new cell growth. Allantoin is the perfect ingredient for sensitive, dry, acne prone skin types.