We know what you’re thinking….what the heck is a face acid and how do you pick the right one? Don’t worry – you’ve come to the right place! 

Though the term “face acid” sounds positively terrifying, it is actually the prize of the skincare world and can get your complexion to go from not to hot. Here’s everything you need to know about face acids: 

What they are

To say it simply, face acids in skincare refer to ingredients that are used for exfoliation and have a pH balance of < 7. Face acids can be separated into two major categories: AHAs and BHAs. These ingredients work to stimulate cellular turnover and shed old, dull, dead skin cells to make way for shiny, bright new ones. It’s the equivalent of a micro-chemical peel that loosens up all the bad stuff and allows it to slough those cells right off your face. 

AHAs vs BHAs: What’s what?

AHAs, or alpha hydroxy acids, are water-soluble meaning they work mostly on the surface layer of the skin and target things like texture issues, fine lines, wrinkles and dullness. They gently exfoliate the outer layer of skin to even out tone, texture and ultimately brighten the skin.

BHAs, or beta hydroxy acids, penetrate the skin and get into the lower layers to help unclog pores and remove oils and dead skin cells making them a great option for those with acne-prone skin. 

Our favorite face acids

While there are many different acids to choose from, we have a few that we always find ourselves coming back to to keep us looking young and radiant. Here are our top 5 all time favorites:

  • Hyaluronic Acid: If you’re looking to draw moisture into your skin and get that plumping effect look no further. Hyaluronic acid is the holy grail of hydrating acids and can help reduce the look of dull, dry skin and fine lines.
  • Kojic Acid: Kojic acid actually works to prevent the forming of melanin (what gives our skin pigment) and lightens the skin. It targets dark spots, discoloration, hyperpigmentation and can battle acne scars.
  • Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C): Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant as well as a face acid and works to brighten the complexion and protect against photoaging. Skin looking tired, dull or lifeless? Give it some Vitamin C.
  • Mandelic Acid: Mandelic acid is our favorite acid for fighting acne-causing bacteria because it’s gentler on the skin and yields the same results as other AHAs like glycolic or salicylic acid. Mandelic acid works to promote collagen production, accelerate cellular turnover and is a powerful exfoliant perfect for acne-prone skin. 

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