If you are new to advanced skincare, it may be daunting to think that your skin products contain acid. However, they’re revolutionary in the fight for flawless, balanced, and glowing skin.

    These acids might be beta hydroxy acids, or BHAs, like salicylic, glycolic, or lactic, or they can be alpha hydroxy acids, or AHAs, such as ellagic, which brightens skin and prevents dark spots caused by excessive sun exposure.

    Comprehending the precise acids in your products and their mechanisms of action will enable you to select the ideal combination of anti-agers to create a regimen that yields the desired outcomes. 

    The purpose of this guide to using skincare acids is to explain the most prevalent types of acids and how to use acids for skincare. Prepare to glow!

    Understanding Facial Acids 

    Facial acids refer to exfoliating skincare compounds like salicylic and glycolic acids. These acids dissolve dead skin cells during chemical exfoliation, revealing softer and more radiant skin. 

    This procedure helps create a more luminous complexion. It encourages cell turnover, improves skin texture, and unclogs pores.

    AHAs vs. BHAs vs. PHAs 

    Alpha-Hydroxy Acids

    AHAs are the most often utilized acids in skincare products and chemical peels. AHAs come in various forms, and each has unique pharmacokinetic characteristics on the skin and differences in molecular size.

    Since AHAs are soluble in water, they function better on the skin’s surface. AHAs are the greatest treatment for conditions that affect the skin’s surface, such as dull skin and hyperpigmentation. AHA’s exfoliating properties also smooth rough skin and even out skin tone.

    Because of their humectant properties, AHAs are less harsh on the skin than their BHA counterparts. Moreover, AHAs are present naturally in food: fruit contains citric and malic acid, rice wine and soy sauce contain kojic acid, sugar cane has glycolic acid, and sour milk contains lactic acid. AHAs are sometimes called fruit acids due to this relationship.

    Beta-Hydroxy Acids

    Beta hydroxy acid is the other primary acid group frequently utilized in skincare products and chemical peels. Salicylic acid is the only kind of BHA, in contrast to AHAs.

    Because BHA dissolves in oily skin, it goes deeper down the skin than AHA and adheres to sebum in the pores. BHA also has anti-inflammatory properties, so it may be helpful if you suffer from acne and comedones (clogged pores). 

    When applying excessive amounts, be cautious because the skin can absorb salicylic acid.

    Poly-Hydroxy Acids

    Polyhydroxy acids are a relatively recent addition to the family of acids used in cosmetic products. PHAs are a subclass of AHAs, even though they may appear to be a distinct type of acid. 

    PHAs are also referred to as “second-generation AHAs” by certain skincare products. Galactose, gluconolactone, and lactobionic acid are a few PHAs. The molecular size of PHAs is different from that of AHAs. PHAs cannot penetrate deeper into the skin than standard AHAs due to their bigger molecular sizes. 

    PHAs have less of an exfoliating and skin-rejuvenating action than traditional AHAs. PHAs do, however, reduce the possibility of adverse effects like irritability or hypersensitivity. Therefore, people with illnesses like rosacea and eczema, when they cannot take BHAs or AHAs, may find that taking PHAs helps.

    AHAs Used in Skin Care 

    ● Glycolic Acid: Sugarcane naturally contains glycolic acid, a chemical exfoliator. Since it is a tiny water-soluble AHA, it can reach the skin’s basal layer, where melanin accumulates deep down.

    ● Lactic Acid: One of the mildest AHAs is lactic acid, which promotes cell turnover and removes dead skin cells from the top layer of skin.

    ● Mandelic Acid: One of the AHAs in apples is mandelic acid, which helps moisturize your skin, minimize wrinkles, and avoid acne. It also helps cleanse and renew your skin.

    ● Citric Acid: Citrus fruits contain citric acid, which helps exfoliate the skin. Another kind of alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA) derived from grape extracts is tartaric acid, which can treat acne and sun damage symptoms.


    ● Exfoliates the skin.

    ● Aids in skin brightness.

    ● Facilitates the synthesis of collagen.

    ● Removes wrinkles and fine lines from the skin.

    ● Reverses skin pigmentation.

    ● Enhances blood flow to the skin.

    How BHAs Are Doing Wonders in Skin Care 

    Beta hydroxy acids, or BHAs, are a chemical exfoliant well-known for their amazing skincare benefits. The most popular BHA used in cosmetics is salicylic acid which benefits skin by deeply entering pores and treating acne and blemishes.

    The ability of BHAs to help exfoliate the skin by 

    ● removing debris, 

    ● dead skin cells, 

    ● and excess oil 

    that can block pores and cause breakouts is one of their main advantages.

    This thorough exfoliation helps 

    ● clear up pores, 

    ● lessen whiteheads and blackheads, 

    ● stop acne flare-ups.

    ● and reduce inflammation. 

    Skin Care Benefits of The Relatively New PHAs 

    It differs from AHAs in that it is better suited for delicate skin types due to its bigger molecular size, which does not irritate.

    1. Perfect for Sensitive Skin

    PHAs are great for sensitive skin types that could get red or irritated from other active ingredients because they dissolve dead skin cells gently.

    2. Hydrated Skin

    PHAs assist in increasing hydration and replenishing moisture, in contrast to conventional exfoliants that deplete the skin’s surface of its oils and moisture.

    3. Possesses Antioxidant Qualities

    Because of PHA’s superior antioxidant qualities such as a hydro dermabrasion machine, UV damage can be reversed, and regular disruption of the skin’s barriers can be avoided.

    4. Brings Back Dull Skin to Life

    By promoting collagen formation, it revitalizes tired skin. It keeps appearing younger while gently exfoliating the face and improving tone and texture.

    5. Functions as a Humectant and Gentle Exfoliant

    PHAs are chemical peels that don’t damage the skin’s structure by gently dissolving skin cells. As a humectant like hyaluronic acid,  it gives the skin extra moisture and hydration.

    How to Incorporate Acids into Your Skincare Routine

    It is necessary to know how to use AHA and BHA in skincare. Following are the steps: 

    ● Begin with a minimal level of focus.

    ● Patch examination.

    ● Select the acid that is best for your skin type.

    ● No more than twice a week.

    ● Apply sunscreen after that.

    ● Hydrate

    ● Avoid mixing with additional exfoliants.

    ● Have patience.

    Safety Considerations and Skin Care Acids

    ● Skin Irritation: Acids can cause skin irritation, particularly if you use strong amounts or have sensitive skin.

    ● Dryness and Flaking: Certain acids, particularly acids that exfoliate like AHAs and BHAs, can cause dryness and flaking if used frequently or if the skin’s moisture barrier is compromised.

    ● Enhanced Sensitivity: Some acids, such as AHAs, might increase the UV sensitivity of the skin.

    ● Skin Purging: When adding certain acids, such as AHAs and BHAs, to their skin for the first time, some persons may go through a brief “purging” period.

    ● Allergic Reactions: Rarely, people may experience allergic reactions to certain acids or other components used in producing a product.

    ● Skin Sensitivity: You may experience red skin or skin sensitivity due to certain acids.

    To lower the possibility of side effects the following steps are suggested:

    ● Lower dosages should be used initially.

    ● The manufacturer’s instructions for the product must be adhered to.

    ● Patch-test new items on a small section of skin before applying them to a larger area.

    ● Use acids at night to minimize solar exposure.

    ● Enough moisture and nourishment should be applied to the skin to preserve its barrier qualities.

    ● Seek advice from a dermatologist or other skin care specialist.


    In conclusion, multiple types of acids in skin care can be beneficial additions to your daily beauty regimen when used appropriately and tailored to your skin type and concerns. Among their many benefits are 

    ● exfoliation, 

    ● whitening, 

    ● skin texture improvement, 

    ● treating various skin conditions like acne, hyperpigmentation, and helps with anti aging.

    You must educate yourself on the functions of the many acids available for skin care, as well as your skin’s needs and sensitivity level. Maintaining a balanced skincare routine that includes cleansing, moisturizing, and sunscreen is essential for the best skin possible.


    1. Can I use AHAs and BHAs together in my skincare routine?

    Combining beta hydroxy acids (BHAs) and alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) in your skincare regimen is possible. 

    2. How often should I apply skincare acids to avoid irritation?

    If you’re new to using acids in skincare routine, and wondering how to use exfoliating facial acids for skin, start carefully and work your way up to using them more frequently.

    3. What are the best acids for treating acne-prone skin?

    Salicylic acid clears clogged pores, which is how it treats acne. It accomplishes this by dissolving fluids like sebum and the bonds holding dead skin cells together so they can exit the pore more readily.

    4. Which is the strongest exfoliating agent?

    Among chemical exfoliants, alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) are the most effective. They have tiny molecular sizes and are soluble in water.

    5. Which chemical exfoliator is best for beginners?

    Start with a mild exfoliator, such as PHAs, which are kinder to the skin because of their bigger molecular size than AHA and BHA.

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