First things first, not all acids are psychedelics, and not all are harmful. They might sound scary, but when used appropriately, they can be highly beneficial to include in your skincare routine. Each acid will target different needs,
AHA stands for alpha-hydroxy acids. This type of acid is water-soluble and is naturally derived from plants or fruits (think lactic acid or the acid from fruits) and pusherman glycolic acid is the most prevalent of the AHA crew. AHA is a one-two punch; hits the top layer of skin as an exfoliator and then hits the deeper layer of the dermis. Because of the exfoliation, new cells are re-energized to turn over, boosting collagen, reducing fine lines, lightening sun and age spots, and helps thicken the barrier layers of the skin.
For dry, combo, and normal skin, try Skinceuticals C + AHA serum, which soothes the skin from the AHAs whilst adding in antioxidants. If you have oily skin, I highly recommend Malin + Goetz AHA Treatment, which helps to reduce oil while balancing skin and boosting radiance.
Regardless of skin type, microdose this shit. Start slowly, every few days, and use SPF.
BHA stands for beta-hydroxy acids. This is very similar to AHA in molecular composition, but instead of being water-soluble, they are lipid-soluble, aka they dissolve in oil and sink further into skin than AHAs. The most common BHA is salicylic acid, found in willow bark, and used in most over-the-counter acne products. It’s good on oily skin because it is able to penetrate pores and fight bacteria.
Paula’s Choice BHA Skin Perfecting Liquid has achieved cult-status. If you have sensitive skin, use spot treatment instead of applying BHA on the whole face, and similar to AHA, start slowly.
Whomever named this really missed the mark. I’ve been an acid prude most of my life due to the Sahara desert that is my face, but low and behold, Hyaluronic acid is actually a dream moisture agent. After being told over and over again by estheticians that my skin is dry, I was exposed to Irish brand Pestle & Mortars Pure Hyaluronic Serum at the Face Gym and decided to see if I could trick my next facialist (I did). It’s freaking amazing. Gel-like, but kinda slinky, it’s essentially a slip dress on your face and plays well with others.
I also tried Rodan + Fields Active Hydration Serum which has hyaluronic acid and gargantuan amount of glycerin, 30% to be exact, which is supposed to raise hydration up 200% and last for 8 hours. Never before has a product encapsulated so much glycerin. Well… I put this on at night, again in the morning, ran across the street to the store and caught my reflection… I looked like a mom with a bad chemical peel. My face was flushed red. I tell you this as a lesson in starting slow, even with the hydrating stuff.
This is code for Vitamin C which is an antioxidant that can combat sun damage, reduce inflammation, stimulate collagen, and provides a perky glow. This is suitable for all skin types and can be used each morning after cleansing and toning. Ideally, you’ll want to look for products that have 15-20% L-Asorbic Acid, alongside pure vitamin-E is optimal. I like Drunk Elephant Vit-C Serum, (and yes, it’s worth the $80), when I am pinching pennies I use the K-beauty Freshly Juiced Vitamin C Serum from Klaris, which only has 5% L-ascorbic acid but is gentle and pure.
As someone who dabbles in acids here and there, my suggestion is to start slowly. Be specific in your quest, and ensure that the product is designated to help target any specific problems. Because you should be doing it anyway, wear SPF. Now, have a good trip!