What Are Skincare Acids and How Do They Work?

At this point in your skincare journey, you have a decent grasp on the concept of serums, cleansers and moisturizers, how they work and what they do. However, confusion starts to arise when acids, also known as actives are brought into the conversation.

Acids are what fancy skin experts mean when they talk about active skin ingredients that cause a physiologic change in the skin layers that can be measured scientifically and visually. AHAs (Alpha hydroxy acids) are by far the most common things we use in our skin routines to treat acne, hyperpigmentation and to help with overall textural issues. The best part about incorporating acids into your skincare lineup is that they instantly affect your skin and provide results reasonably quickly.

Still curious? Keep reading on for the perfect breakdown of how acids and the skin types they're best used for.

Glycolic Acid

Glycolic acid is made for all skin types except for sensitive skin. The acid is designed to brighten the skin, lighten hyperpigmentation, dissolve dead skin cells, smooth texture, and boost collagen production.

Lactic Acid

Made for dry and sensitive skin, lactic acid smooths fine lines and rough skin texture while lightly hydrating and plumping the skin.

Mandelic Acid

Mandelic acid is geared toward sensitive, oily and acne-prone skin. The active softens and blurs pigment left from acne and regulates oil production.

Malic Acid

All skin types except for sensitive skin can handle the use of malic acid. The active helps to retrain hydration, treat acne and also works to smooth the skin's texture.

Salicylic Acid

All skin types except for sensitive skin can handle the use of malic acid. The active helps to retrain hydration, treat acne and also works to smooth the skin's texture.