Editor: Chanel Tyler, @buymechanel
Skin Type: Combination, Oily
Skin Concerns: Acne, Hyperpigmentation
There are many acids out there and it can all be a bit overwhelming in terms of navigating which one is right for your skin type or your skin needs. Acids have a number of functions and are truly multi-benefit ingredients, the main function is chemically exfoliating or breaking down the skin cells on the skin surface. This is important because it leads to a brighter and more even complexion, it dissolves debris in the pores, and it smooths the texture of the skin, ultimately acids contribute to texture and complexion flawlessness.
Acids are typically found in toner products and are usually incorporated as the second step in the skincare routine, following cleanser. Chemical exfoliating acids can also be found in Serums and Face Masks. See my favorite skin-loving acids to try below.
AHAs or Alpha-Hydroxy Acids
Popularly known as Lactic Acid, Glycolic Acid, and Mandelic Acid, AHAs are small in molecule size making it easy for them to penetrate the skin’s surface deeply and quickly, this is beneficial because it makes them extremely effective at delivering on their intended result. AHAs, like all acids, break down layers of dead and damaged skin cells, allowing the healthy and clear skin to come to the surface revealing a brightened and even toned complexion. If you struggle with hyperpigmentation, dark marks, or discoloration this is the most effective acid to incorporate in your routine.
Good for: Normal, Oily, Combo Skin, Dry Skin
BHAs or Beta Hydroxy Acids
BHAs, which is most commonly known as Salicylic Acid, can go even deeper than AHAs as they can penetrate the pores, dissolving oil / sebum and debris that clog pores. This is important because clogged pores typically lead to acne and breakouts. BHAs are also important for acne sufferers or acne prone skin types because they have anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties which can both help rid current breakouts and reduce the occurrence of future breakouts.
Good for: Oily, Combo Skin, Acne Prone Skin
PHAs or Polyhydroxy Acids
PHAs are larger than AHAs and BHAs in terms of molecule size, making them one of the more gentler acids of the three as they mainly focus on the outer layers of the skin. PHAs also contain humectants, meaning they draw moisture to the skin and trap it there, hydration is critical for skin health and for a radiant / glowing complexion. PHAs do all the things AHAs and BHAs do, plus a little more but they take a little longer to work. If you have sensitive skin or if you have normal skin with minimal concerns, this is a great acid to incorporate into your weekly skincare routine.
Good for: Sensitive, Normal Skin
Chanel’s Pro Tip: if you use any acid based products in your daytime routine always, always follow with SPF. Acids remove a layer of skin / encourage cellular turnover making the new skin susceptible to environmental damage, this fresh skin must be protected from the elements. Not protecting the skin can result in inflammation and irritation leading to hyperpigmentation or post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, and blemishes, which take away from our glow.
Featured image via @buymechanel and Ole Henriksen.