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The Truth About Acids in Skincare


Chemical or fruit-derived acids in skincare are known to exfoliate or encourage skin cell turnover. They increase collagen and elastin production whilst brightening the skin, making acids an absolute must for hyper-pigmentation and post-summer skin damage!

The Science

The human skin consists of three main layers:

  • EPIDERMIS – The outer layer is the epidermis which consists of its own 5 sublayers. It is constantly shedding layers of dead skin from the top layer, replacing them with new healthy cells that grow in the lower layers. The pores are also present in this layer, allowing sweat and oil to escape.
  • DERMIS – The dermis is beneath the epidermis and enables the function of pathogen protection. It contains all sweat and oil glands, hair follicles, connective tissue, nerve endings, and lymph vessels. The dermis also contains collagen and elastin that help support the structure of the skin
  • HYPODERMIS- The hypodermis layer is the bottom layer of the skin that provides insulation and acts as a cushion that protects vital organs.

Our skin cells regenerate themselves every month or so, starting in the dermis, new skin cells move to our epidermis. These new skin cells are what make your skin look bright and healthy and skincare acids are a way to speed up the process.

Three Main Types of Acids in Skincare


  • This group of acids contains glycolic, lactic, citric and mallic acid
  • These acids tend to come from fruits but can be produced synthetically
  • They dissolve in water and work on the surface of the skin to improve texture
  • Glycolic and lactic acid are the most used AHAs in skincare

Best for skin tone and discolouration.
Try out AHA Energizing Mineral Exfoliator



  • These acids are oil soluble and work by penetrating the pores on the surface of the skin
  • BHAs work deeply to remove the acne-causing sebum and aid skin rejuvenation
  • Salicylic acid is the most common BHA acid in skincare

Best for oily and acne-prone skin.
Try out Peppermint Salicylic Cleanser



  • These acids work in a similar way to AHAs
  • As the molecules are larger, they cannot penetrate as deeply into the skin and therefore skin irritation is less likely to occur
  • PHAs have many hydrating and antioxidant benefits
  • Gluconolactone and lactobionic acid are the most common PHA’S on the market

Best for sensitive skin


TIP: Start slowly! Experiment with what works with your skin and introduce acids into your skincare routine slowly. If you don’t notice a change within two months, try switching it up! If you are unsure speak to a professional about your homecare use. 

Acids, skin types, and skin concerns 

We all have our own unique skin type, whether it’s on the dryer side, whether your skin is prone to oil and acne, or you have a mixture of everything! It can be difficult to navigate the world of skincare, so read on to see if you can spot your skin type…

DRY SKIN: BHAs can reduce redness and soothe and calm the skin, whilst AHAs aid dry skin by helping to retain moisture. PHAs are also great for dry and sensitive skin and can help people with eczema and rosacea.

OILY SKIN: BHAs work well for oily skin as the thinner liquid formula helps clean out pores and tighten your complexion.

COMBINATION SKIN: combination skin can benefit from a mixture of different products, but salicylic acid works best for its anti-inflammatory products.

MATURE SKIN: AHAs are great for mature skin as they help to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and reduce roughness on the skin.

HYPERPIGMENTATION: a strong AHA formula or BHA formula can be used to combat hyperpigmentation and scarring by encouraging skin cell turnover.

SUN DAMAGE: AHAs work well to reduce the appearance of sun damage and help to repair the skin

INGROWN HAIRS: AHA AND BHA can be used to eliminate dead skin, soften skin texture, and physically lift ingrown hairs from the surface of the skin


As we have seen, there is a multitude of ways acids can be used in skincare and different types of acids can lend themselves to different results! Chemical exfoliation works to tighten the skin, unclog pores and leave us with a glowing complexion. Acids can also work to repair damage caused to our skin by the natural ageing process or other factors such as sun damage or eczema. Exfoliating is a great way to rejuvenate our skin and a must for any good skincare routine.

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