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#Skincare101: An Introduction To Acids & How To Use Them In Your Routine

Facial acids– they sound super harsh and scary to use, right? And no, you’re not the only one to think that. Skincare has evolved so much in the last decade, that it is impossible to imagine any kind of skincare routine without them. But, how to use them?

Whether it’s using a gentle cleanser or a moisturizer, we are spoilt for choice. But as mentioned before, skincare is no longer the same. Multiple serums, essences, oils and even facial acids have made their way into our skincare regimen and the burning question on our mind is, “How to introduce acids into our skincare routine?”


Why You Need Acids In Your Routine

Exfoliation is the key to glowing, youthful-looking skin. And no, we aren’t talking about scrubbing your skin with a physical scrub.


Using different (and the right) kinds of acids on your skin can help reduce signs of ageing, regenerate skin cells and heal the skin–acids aren’t looking so bad now, right? And here’s how to properly introduce them to your skincare routine.

Understand Various Types Of Acids And Their Purposes


Facial acids are the way to go but if you do not understand their purpose or what good they can do for your skin, then you’ll only end up with a bad experience.


Trying out a facial acid is all about understanding the purpose and how to use them. For example, Use…

– Niacinamide: If you wish to get rid of acne, acne scars and large pores. It also helps protect the skin from environmental factors such as pollutants and sunlight.

– Salicylic Acid: If you have an acne problem. Salicylic acid belongs to salicylates, a popular class of drugs. It not only helps keep acne at bay but also helps to remove dead skin, exfoliate the skin and helps in decreasing redness or skin inflammation.

– Glycolic Acid: If you wish to add some glow to your skin. Glycolic acid helps break the bonds between the outer layer of the skin and the next layer. It is one of the best exfoliating ingredients that you can use that creates a ‘peeling effect’, revealing more even-looking skin over time.


– Hyaluronic Acid: If you have dry skin, then this ingredient is going to be your saviour. It has the incredible capacity to hold 1000 times more moisture than its weight, which is why it is such an important ingredient in most facial moisturizers.

– Lactic Acid: If you’ve got a glow on your mind, then you have to give lactic acid a try. It is a mild exfoliating alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) and if you find glycolic acid too harsh for your skin type, then perhaps lactic acid can help you. It is derived from milk so therefore, it has excellent moisturizing properties and also helps reducing hyperpigmentation.

Citric Acid: If you have uneven skin tone or even invisible pimples, then you should give citric acid a try today. It helps getting rid of dead skin cells and mild exfoliation. It also helps to unclog pores and fight acne-causing bacteria. Since it is served from citrus fruits, it also works as a great antioxidant.

– Mandelic Acid: If you’ve got exfoliation on your mind, then you have to give mandelic acid a try today. It has the largest molecule of all the AHA variants, thus allowing it to penetrate slowly into the skin (perfect for everyone who has sensitive skin). It also accelerates cell turnover, which is why it is most commonly found in chemical peels.


– Tartaric Acid: If you want to try a mild but effective skincare ingredient, then tartaric acid is what you need to try today. It has astringent properties and also helps keep the skin moisturized for longer durations, promotes healing and has anti-ageing properties. It is also perfect to use if you want your skin to feel smoother.

Before you jump on board the acid train…

Acids are a fantastic way to up your skincare game. Here are some a few more things you should know!

Always Patch Test



No doubt that we all have some good and bad experience with certain products. But, if you truly want to know if a particular acid or a product containing that acid will work in favour or not, then you have to do the patch test first.

Here’s how.

– Clean the areas using just water as you wouldn’t want any type of reaction to happen on your skin. The common areas to patch test are on your wrist, back of your ear, neck and even around the collar bone.

– The next step is to pour a few drops of the product into the skin (the patch test areas) and massage them softly.


– Wait for a few minutes before wiping off the product from your skin. And then at least for 24-48 hours to see if there are any ‘after’ effects of the product.

– If your skin reacts in any way instantly, then wash off with ice-cold water immediately. If an allergy persists, then book an appointment with your dermatologist right away.

The Best Time To Use Acids

Now that you know which acid will work in your favour and if it’ll actually suit you or not…its time to incorporate them into your skincare regimen.

You can either dabble with skincare items with a high percentage of the facial acids that you’re interested in or invest in some good quality one-ingredient skincare products. The affordable skincare products by The Ordinary, Good Molecules, The Inkey List and The Minimalist are some of the brands that provide such products.


Here are some of our favourites!

At What Step Of Your Routine Should You Use An Acid?



Just like you use your facial serums – after you cleanse & tone.


You want to leave it on overnight for maximum impact — unless mentioned otherwise on your product. Avoid using any other products in your routine when you use acids. Keep it simple. If you need additional hydration, use a simple moisturiser or even aloe vera gel over this. 

Since our skin repairs at night, it’s best to use them at night before sleeping, on alternate days. And once you feel like your skin is actually feeling better than before, you can incorporate it into your morning skincare as well.

Purging Is Normal


Since acids are ‘active’ ingredients, there’s a slight chance that you’ll have a skin purge. But guess what, it’s not bad…at all.

Purging happens when you try a new skincare ingredient that leads to an increasing skin cell turnover rate, making you ‘breakout’. Now, breaking out is not the right way to describe it but most of you might as it feels like one but is definitely not! And the reason why it’s not bad is that it helps benefit the skin in the long run. Surely, purging lasts longer than an acne breakout but it eventually leaves without no scars and radiant-looking skin.


Don’t Skip The SPF


Acids sensitize your skin to the sun – which means that you will tan and burn easily. You want to make sure you wear an SPF of 30 while you are indoors and SPF 50 incase you spend the day outdoors. 

Skipping sunscreen can reverse all the benefits your skin got from using an acid. In fact, it can make your skin issues a lot worse. So no matter what you do, make SPF your BFF!


Ready to take your skincare game up a notch?

Also Read: Lactic acid for skin 


Featured Image: Instagram, Pinterest


16 Feb 2021

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