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  • Writer's pictureSarah Hathaway

Acids Shmacids

Do I really need one? Which one do I use? What's the difference between them all? Let's break it down. (I just imagined all of us break dancing hahahahahaha).

What are acids and what do they actually do for me?

Well, there are two main types of acids: AHAs and BHAs. These acids are chemical exfoliators that help fix uneven skin tone, dead skin cell buildup, dullness/dryness/flakiness, signs of aging, clogged pores, bumps/wrinkles, and unevenness. As we get older our natural exfoliation process slows down and we build up uneven skin, dryness, and layers of dead skin. This can mask the glow that we really desire!

Basics you need to know:

  • PH for an acid should be between 3 & 4

  • Acid use creates photosensitivity so SPF is a must

  • They are better used in the PM (especially if you are doing vitamin C in the AM)

  • Retinoids should not be mixed with acids because it can irritate the skin.

  • Chemical exfoliators are safer than physical exfoliation

The brilliant two: AHA & BHA

AHA: Alpha Hydroxy Acid

Glycolic Acid (sugar cane): better for normal to oily skin

Lactic Acid (milk): better for dry and sensitive skin

Other AHAs: Tartaric, Citric, Malic (crossover), Mandelic

  • Works on the surface of skin

  • Water soluble

  • Best for sun damaged and aging skin

  • Look for 10-15% concentration for best results

BHA: Beta Hydroxy Acid

Salicylic Acid (willow bark)

Other BHA: Citric and Malic (crossover)

  • Works on the surface of the skin and in the pores

  • Oil Soluble

  • Best for oily and acne prone skin

  • Look for .5-5% concentration for best results

Can you mix the two together? YES! Yes, you can. However, some people cannot handle the combo. If you fall into that more sensitive category, you can try using one at night or one in the morning. You can also try using the BHA (salicylic acid) on the oily parts of the skin and use the AHA on the dryer parts of the skin.


I personally love using the products with a mix of multiple acids, but my skin is oily and can handle it. It is best to get samples and try them little by little, to see what your skin can handle, and what kind of acid works best for you. Glycolic acid is my absolute fave. If your skin can handle it if will make a crazy difference in your skin very quickly.

Here are some of my favorite acid products:

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Oct 12, 2018

Glycolic avid has helped my skin so much! Those Nip and Fab pads are great. Good recommendation from you! ❤️

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