The beauty landscape is a vast one full of twists and turns, and sometimes it can be a little tricky to navigate all those buzzwords and ingredients. Acids for skin can be a particularly complex topic since there are so many different types and each with its own agenda. To help cut through the confusion, we’ve created a super simple guide highlighting some of the most common types of acids and explaining how to use these acids in skincare routines. And for your dewy complexion pleasure, we’re also shouting out some of our favorite beauty finds that contain each!
Glycolic acid is an exfoliating ingredient that’s part of the alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) family. As an exfoliant, its primary objective is to help visibly refine the skin’s surface. It can also help target the appearance of large pores. When you consistently use glycolic acid skincare products, it can help create a complexion that looks and feels smoother.
“[Glycolic acid] is derived from sugar cane and, of the various AHAs, it is the smallest in structure with the lowest molecular weight,” explains Kavita Mariwalla, a board-certified dermatologist and IT Cosmetics Advisory Board Member. “That is what makes it so effective—it can easily penetrate the skin to work.”
Bye Bye Pores Glycolic Acid Serum is a silky serum that's formulated with glycolic acid to help visibly refine the skin's surface. It also contains hyaluronic acid, an ingredient that helps support a smoother, more supple feel. To incorporate this serum into your regimen, apply four to five drops to freshly cleansed skin and follow with Confidence in a Gel Lotion. In the mornings, you can follow with CC+ Cream with SPF 50+. Bye Bye Pores Glycolic Acid Serum is formulated for all skin types, including sensitive skin.
Hello Results Resurfacing Glycolic Acid Treatment + Caring Night Oil is a superstar when it comes to improving the look of uneven texture, including fine lines and large pores. It boasts a unique formula that combines both glycolic acid and botanical oils (including argan and meadowfoam). The former helps promote skin surface-cell renewal while the latter helps soothe, smooth, and hydrate.
Another member of the AHA family, lactic acid is a natural acid for skin that’s often derived from milk. It’s also an exfoliating ingredient and can alleviate the appearance of dullness.
If you’re keen on trying lactic acid for skin, we recommend starting with Confidence in Your Beauty Sleep Night Cream. It's uniquely formulated to prevent the visible transfer, which means more skincare goodness for your face and less for your pillowcase! The lavender-scented cream contains hyaluronic acid to attract moisture and plump the look of fine lines and wrinkles, ceramides to help retain moisture, and lactic acid to gently refine the skin's surface.
Let’s move on to another family of acids for skin: beta hydroxy acids (BHAs)! Salicylic acid falls into this category, and Dr. Marilwalla says it’s considered one of the best acids for blemishes due to its ability to help soothe inflammation and visibly unclog pores. Like the AHAs listed above, salicylic acid is an exfoliating ingredient.
You get a two-for-one deal with Bye Bye Breakout Full-Coverage Concealer, an innovative, color-infused cream that helps conceal blemishes while soothing via a blend of salicylic acid for skin surface exfoliation, peptides, oil-absorbing zinc oxide, witch hazel, tea tree oil, and sulfur. Available in seven shades, you can wear it alone or under your makeup to help camouflage pimples.
If you’re battling oily skin, larger-looking pores, and blemishes, we recommend applying Bye Bye Pores Leave-On Solution Pore-Refining Toner after cleansing. This lightweight solution is meant for daily use to help visibly control shine and create a more balanced-looking complexion. In addition to salicylic acid, the formula also contains kaolin clay to absorb excess oil, silk to smooth and soften, and coconut water to hydrate.
Unlike BHAs and AHAs that exfoliate the skin’s surface, hyaluronic acid for skin helps with hydration, which makes it one of our favorite acids for sensitive skin types. It’s referred to as a “humectant,” which means that it helps attract moisture to your skin so that it looks and feels more supple and hydrated.
“Let me tell you why dermatologists, like me, like [hyaluronic acid] so much,” says Dr. Mariwalla. “This super-hydrator helps plump the look of skin, visibly reducing fine lines and delivering lasting moisture.”
Bye Bye Lines Hyaluronic Acid Serum is an anti-aging serum formulated with 1.5% hyaluronic acid to deliver lasting hydration to your skin while simultaneously improving the look of fine lines. It's also infused with a blend of skin-loving peptides and vitamin B5 to help further support supple-feeling skin. After cleansing your face in the morning and evening, apply a few drops to your skin and then layer your favorite moisturizer and/or CC Cream on top. You can also layer it with Bye Bye Pores Glycolic Acid Serum or Bye Bye Dullness Vitamin C Serum.
Want to learn more about layering? Check out our guide on how to layer different serums.