Face acid: How to choose the best one

Face acids are one of the most beneficial ingredients available in skin care.
They are wonderful allies that can help us fight acne, wrinkles, scars and other skin problems if used properly. When looking through a list of ingredients, we often come across different types of acids: hyaluronic, glycolic, salicylic, lactic, citric, oleicbut what does that really mean, what exactly is their role and which one will suit you best?

Discover all the wonders that acid can bring to your skin care.

face acid types

It is true that acids, as such, are generally impressionable, reminiscent of burns and scars, and rarely anyone who thinks of the word acid will think of the many benefits we can get from them, especially when it comes to skin care.

However, there is a growing trend of acids in cosmetics – dominated by hyaluronic acid – said to be a miracle for the skin; so it is increasingly emphasized on cosmetic products that the product contains hyaluronic acid. But is hyaluronic acid good for every skin type?

Check out the most common types of acids used in skin care and decide what works best for you!


Azelaic acid is fantastic in the fight against acne.

With its antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties, azelaic acid is an excellent choice for the removal of acne-causing bacteria and for the treatment of pores and acne prevention. However, it takes some time for this acid to start acting, which, combined with the percentage of acid in the product (ideally 15%, but most of the product contains a small amount), can delay the process of resolving acne problems. This acid is also suitable for the treatment of rosacea and hyperpigmentation.

Citric acid is a great exfoliator.

Citric acid is derived from fruits and is rich in antioxidants which are the main skin aides in the fight against wrinkles. This acid exfoliates the upper layer of the skin, removing the dead skin cells, making the skin smooth and shiny. During this process, the dark spots on the skin become lighter and the pores shrink. Citric acid can also be helpful in treating mild acne and uneven skin texture.

Glycolic acid fights dark spots and marks from UV damage.

Glycolic acid is a type of AHA (alpha-hydroxy acid) face acid that treats wrinkles with strong exfoliation and reduces dark spots on the skin, making it the Holy Grail in the fight against irregularities and discoloration on the skin. This acid obtained from sugar cane penetrates deep into the skin, regenerates it and evens out the skin texture. Despite reaching deep into the first layers of the skin (thanks to smaller molecules), this acid is not considered aggressive and is recommended for beginners in the use of acids in skin care. For home use, it is best to use products containing 8 to 30% glycolic acid.

Salicylic acid is oily skin’s best friend.

Salicylic acid is type of BHA (beta hydroxy acid) and it is an excellent choice for oily skin because it reduces the secretion of natural skin sebum. It cleanses the clogged pores of excess oil, reducing redness and other inflammatory processes on the skin, leaving it with the ability to develop new, healthy cells. Salicylic face acid stimulates collagen production and regulates fine wrinkles and lines; in home use it is best to use creams containing 6% to 10% salicylic acid.
However, it is advisable to consult a dermatologist before using this acid (or any other), as salicylic acid is the principal metabolite of aspirin and is not suitable for those who are allergic to aspirin or even pregnant or breastfeeding.

Hyaluronic acid is a glass of water for your skin.

Hyaluronic acid has incredible ability to retain moisture on the skin and make it soft and velvety (beware, you need to apply a hyaluronic acid cosmetic product on wet skin – to bring all that moisture into the skin). In addition to being a natural humectant, hyaluronic acid also has antioxidant properties, and protects the skin from external influences. Hyaluronic acid is great for those with dry and sensitive skin.

Lactic acid is a universal friend to all skin types.

Lactic acid is an AHA type of acid derived from milk and can be considered as a gentler variant of glycolic acid. It exfoliates the skin very slightly, reduces fine lines and encourages skin to retain moisture and reduce dryness. Generally this acid is good for all skin types because it is mild and safe to apply to the skin. For home use, find products with 10% lactic acid.

It would be great to consult a dermatologist before using any face acid (although acids in cosmetic products are dosed to the extent necessary to be perfectly safe to use). 

Also keep in mind that not every type of face acid will affect all people the same, for example those with already sufficiently moisturized and hydrated skin are not likely to see much benefit from hyaluronic acid, as young skin will not be best served by glycolic acid, which is the main ingredient in the fight against wrinkles.

But when you finally find the right acid for your skin type, you will see how much benefit you can get, because acids are our perfect skin care buddies.

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