Why It’s Time to Add Acids to Your Skin Care Routine

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Why It’s Time to Add Acids to Your Skin Care Routine
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Photo: Allison Kahler

When most of us hear the word “acid,” we immediately think of something that burns and causes discomfort. But in the context of skin care, it’s actually quite beneficial to keeping our skin clear of the things that become breeding ground for breakouts. There are multiple ways to incorporate it into your regimen, but first, a refresher on what it is, how it works and why experts love recommending it.

For starters, all acids, regardless of the category they fall into (more on this in a sec), are renowned for their exfoliating powers. According to board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Melissa Doft, “they remove the dead cells along the top layer of your skin, allowing new cells to populate the surface and thus making your skin look more radiant and decreasing fine lines.” She also says they help to remove sebum, which can clog pores and stimulate acne.

MORE: The Drugstore Beauty Products Celebs Genuinely Love

Most acids fall under one of two categories: BHA or AHA. BHAs, or beta-hydroxy acids, are oil-soluble, meaning they can dissolve in a water or oil solution, and are able to deeply penetrate the skin. This makes them an especially smart choice for anyone with oily layers. Doft says BHAs are most often found in willow bark and salicylic acid, which is often used in spot treatments.

AHAs, or alpha-hydroxy acids, are sort of the opposite. Doft says these “are not oil soluble, so they tend to treat the surface of the skin by exfoliating the top layer.” And they’re most commonly found in glycolic from sugar cane, citric from citric fruits, lactic from sour milk, malic from apples, and tartaric from grapes.

MORE: The Non-Invasive Plastic Surgeries Making Waves in 2018

Acids overall aren’t exclusive to a specific skin type or lifestyle. Most of us can benefit from them, although Doft says “patients with sensitive skin will want to look for formulations with lower concentrations of citric or glycolic acids, as they can be irritating and cause redness.”

More often than not, a lot of products on the market will combine several acids to better target skin issues. You can expect to feel nothing at all or a little tingling upon application, but see a doctor if you experience excessive dryness, redness, or significant burning. With all that being said, there are a ton of options for adding acids to your routine. Ahead are some of our favorite picks, from masks to cleansers and toners.

 

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BHA & AHA: Herbivore Botanicals Blue Tansy Mask
BHA & AHA: Herbivore Botanicals Blue Tansy Mask
Photo: Herbivore Botanicals
AHA: MZ Skin Cleanse & Clarify Mask
AHA: MZ Skin Cleanse & Clarify Mask

$92, at MZ Skin

Photo: MZ Skin
BHA: Paula's Choice Skin-Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid
BHA: Paula's Choice Skin-Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid
Photo: Paula's Choice
BHA: Dermalogica Clearing Skin Wash
BHA: Dermalogica Clearing Skin Wash

Dermalogica, available on Amazon

Photo: Dermalogica
BHA & AHA: The Ordinary Peeling Solution
BHA & AHA: The Ordinary Peeling Solution
Photo: The Ordinary
BHA & AHA: Neutrogena Pore Refining Cleanser
BHA & AHA: Neutrogena Pore Refining Cleanser
Photo: Neutrogena
BHA & AHA: Murad AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser
BHA & AHA: Murad AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser
Photo: Murad
AHA: Vibrancy-Boosting Face Mask
AHA: Vibrancy-Boosting Face Mask
Photo: Fresh
BHA & AHA: Peter Thomas Roth AHA/BHA Acne Clearing Gel
BHA & AHA: Peter Thomas Roth AHA/BHA Acne Clearing Gel
Photo: Peter Thomas Roth
BHA: Sunday Riley U.F.O. Face Oil
BHA: Sunday Riley U.F.O. Face Oil
Photo: Sunday Riley
AHA: Glow Recipe Watermelon Glow Sleeping Mask
AHA: Glow Recipe Watermelon Glow Sleeping Mask

$45, at Glow Recipe

Photo: Glow Recipe
BHA: Tata Harper Resurfacing Mask
BHA: Tata Harper Resurfacing Mask
Photo: Tata Harper
AHA: Krave Beauty Kale-Lalu-yAHA
AHA: Krave Beauty Kale-Lalu-yAHA

$25, at Krave Beauty

Photo: Krave Beauty

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The All-Natural Beauty Hacks Celebrities Swear By

The All-Natural Beauty Hacks
Celebrities Swear By
  • BHA & AHA: Herbivore Botanicals Blue Tansy Mask
  • AHA: MZ Skin Cleanse & Clarify Mask
  • BHA: Paula's Choice Skin-Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid
  • BHA: Dermalogica Clearing Skin Wash
  • BHA & AHA: The Ordinary Peeling Solution
  • BHA & AHA: Neutrogena Pore Refining Cleanser
  • BHA & AHA: Murad AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser
  • AHA: Vibrancy-Boosting Face Mask
  • BHA & AHA: Peter Thomas Roth AHA/BHA Acne Clearing Gel
  • BHA: Sunday Riley U.F.O. Face Oil
  • AHA: Glow Recipe Watermelon Glow Sleeping Mask
  • BHA: Tata Harper Resurfacing Mask
  • AHA: Krave Beauty Kale-Lalu-yAHA

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