If the skincare terms AHAs, PHAs, and BHAs intimidate you, you're not alone. Alpha hydroxy acid, polyhydroxy acid, and beta hydroxy acid are ingredients commonly used in exfoliating formulas, and often fly under the guise of salicylic acid, glycolic acid, and lactic acid. But when slowly incorporated into a regimen, these ingredients have the power to yield transformative results on the skin. Take the Youth to the People Mandelic Acid Superfood Unity Exfoliant as an example — the acid-packed toner has been called "witchery in a bottle" for erasing large pores, acne scars, and a bumpy texture overnight.
The leave-on exfoliant contains a triple-acid complex that consists of mandelic acid (one of the most gentle AHAs), salicylic acid (a BHA acne-fighter), and gluconolactone (a PHA that targets skin texture). Altogether, this combination of acids gently removes dead skin cells to reveal softer, younger-looking skin, reduce the appearance of hyperpigmentation, and remove dirt build-up and excess oils. That's not all — the formula also features antioxidant-rich additives such as licorice root, kale, spinach, and green tea, which soothe the skin and limit irritation and redness. Within just a few applications, users should begin to notice smaller-appearing pores, lighter scars, and an overall smoother complexion.
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Despite the exfoliating toner's hydrating, water-like texture, those with sensitive skin should begin with one to two applications per week, while gradually increasing the frequency over time. Despite this slow burn, it's possible to see fast results; one reviewer claims they could "feel a difference in their skin" after one use. Another shared that you'll immediately see "pure radiant, glowing skin, brightened, almost like using the blur tool in Photoshop."
"I'm frankly floored by this product," wrote one shopper. "I've yet to meet a Youth to the People product I don't like, but this stuff may be my new favorite. I'm a little wary of exfoliants as my skin tends to be a little sensitive, but holy CRAP. I've got combo skin with some adult acne and hyperpigmentation, and after using this stuff nightly for five days, my hyperpigmentation is completely gone. My skin looks just as bright and radiant as it did the day after a professional Hydrafacial."
Another fan wrote: "My skin has gotten extra-sensitive due to medications I'm on, and this toner does not cause my skin to flare up and get red. It's so easy to apply without waiting for a 'drying time,' and doesn't feel like my skin is stripped afterward. Love it!"
There's no reason to be afraid of incorporating acids into your skincare routine. Start slow with the Youth to the People Mandelic Acid Superfood Unity Exfoliant, available on the brand's website for $38 per bottle.