For the uninitiated, acids might seem like a fairly intimidating ingredient — the word doesn’t necessarily invoke thoughts of gentleness and calm. However, when used properly, acids designed for use on skin can actually be beneficial ingredients in your product collection. Not only are some acids powerful exfoliators, they can also complement skincare routines, from acne-prone to anti-aging.
Not every acid is created equal, though. There are so many to choose from, each one with their own specific purpose, that it can be confusing for newbies and experts alike. To help you make an informed decision, we put together this guide. Check it out to discover which one could be the missing piece of your skincare puzzle.
This naturally occurring fruit acid is derived from Sugar Cane. It belongs to a family of acids called Alpha-Hydroxy Acids (AHA). These water-soluble acids work primarily on the surface of the skin, exfoliating away dead skin to help smooth and refine texture, even skin tone, and minimize the appearance of dark spots.
Part of the oil-soluble Beta-Hydroxy Acids group, Salicylic is best known for helping control acne, oil, and blackheads. Because this powerful exfoliator can help with excess oil, dead skin, and bacteria that can build up in pores and lead to blemishes.
This synthetic form of Vitamin C is widely considered one of the most effective skincare ingredients. It’s unique in that it is designed to both visibly correct skin damage and help protect your complexion from further free-radical abuse. It’s a free-radical fighter that can help neutralize those damaging molecules from the environment. Recent reports have noted that when combined with SPF protection, it provides powerful antioxidant sun protection. And, if all that wasn’t enough, it also aids in skin brightening and helps reduce the appearance of wrinkles.
This lesser-known antioxidant acid has serious skin-smoothing and pore-clearing abilities. It’s been shown to clinically accelerate surface skin cell turnover to reveal visibly fresh and radiant skin. It’s also extremely gentle, making it a good choice for those with sensitive skin.
The bottom line: Your skin can benefit from acids in order to get the right mix of exfoliation, but new products have now made it easier than ever to get your fix regardless of your skin type.