Using acid in your skincare routine can be the key to gorgeous, glowing skin. Here’s how to incorporate them safely so that you can put your best face forward.

When you think of exfoliation, you probably think of cleaning your face with a scrub, which is also known as physical exfoliation. But chemical exfoliation is becoming increasingly popular and can be even more effective. What this entails is applying a product – often in toner form – that contains a specific acid that can target everything from uneven texture to hyperpigmentation. Before you grab the first one off the shelf, there are a couple of things you should know about them. This will make the idea of putting acid on your face a lot less terrifying!

Understanding acid

While skincare acids can be a great addition to a skincare routine, it’s important to understand the differences between them. There are three main types of acids found in products which all have different uses and yield different results. They are:

  • Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA) Acids that fall into this category help to break down the ‘glue’ holding dead skin cells to your face for effective exfoliation.


  • Beta Hydroxy Acid (BHA) These exfoliating acids are able to penetrate deeper into the pores to push out any debris and help to combat oiliness.


  • Poly Hydroxy Acid (PHA) Milder than their counterparts, these acids are less harsh and only exfoliate the top layer, making them ideal for sensitive skin.


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So how do you establish which type of acid is right for you? Here are some of the most effective picks, according to your skin type.

Dry or mature skin

If you suffer from dry skin, your skincare has to work harder at getting rid of those dead skin cells to avoid congestion and keep your skin healthy. Glycolic acid is a popular choice because it improves dullness while also improving the skin’s hydration levels.

Oily or blemish-prone skin

Probably one of the most widely-used treatments for acne out there.  Salicylic acid helps to break down sebum and flush out pores to prevent breakouts. It also helps to increase skin-cell turnover which speeds up the healing process. It also helps to diminish the appearance of scars left behind by zits.

Sensitive skin

Putting acid on to sensitive skin might sound like a *terrible* idea, but there are gentle variants out there, such as most PHAs, that can be a good, non-irritating fit. One of the AHAs – lactic acid – can, in some formulas, also be mild enough for use and offer even better exfoliation results.

Normal skin

If you have fairly balanced skin that is neither dry, oily, sensitive or prone to breakouts and reactions, lucky you! This means that you can experiment with just about any AHA, BHA and PHA to find the fit that’s right for you. You can even switch it up and use different types to target specific concerns.

Acid can be a great way to level-up your skincare routine but proceed with caution. As the name might suggest, these products can sting or even burn if you aren’t used to them. It’s best to start out slow, using once a week and gradually building up your tolerance. Better safe than sorry!