Beauty Tips: Acid Exfoliants Are Your Friend


The word acid can sound quite scary when we think of applying it to our skin. But acid exfoliants are what we should all be using to remove dead skin cells, not the abrasive scrubs that can cause damage due to their harshness and can cause micro tears in our skin. The other thing to note with scrubs is that they only tackle the surface of the skin unlike acid exfoliants that go much deeper into the built up layers of dead skin cells.

In the first instance, it is important to exfoliate your skin as part of your skincare regime because we naturally shed dead skin but quite often many skincare types and concerns, like dry skin, oily skin, sun damage can actually create a barrier for this natural process to happen. As a result, this can in turn result in other skin concerns like further dryness or dull skin, clogged pores which will lead to breakouts or uneven skin tone. So, by using an exfoliant two or three times a week, you can really help to eliminate many skin concerns and reveal clear, smoother, brighter skin. It will even increase hydration levels to your skin and help fight the appearance of wrinkles. Think of it like this, you want to clear your skin of all dead skin cells so that you have the perfect surface for which all other products that follow (serums, oils or moisturisers) can penetrate the layers and do the work they are supposed to be doing without anything getting in the way.

Next you need to consider which product to use. There are two types of acid exfoliants:

AHA (alpha hydroxy acid) - often referred to as glycolic or lactic acid
These are more suitable for drier skin types or sun damages skin. They contain anti-ageing and hydrating properties and will help with minor breakouts and clogged pores.

BHA (beta hydroxy acid) - often referred to as salicylic acid
These are more suitable for oily skin or sensitive skin types, those prone to breakouts as they will penetrate the blocked pores. These contain anti-inflammatory properties to help sensitive and problem skin.


These acid exfoliants come in a liquid formula that are applied to cleansed skin with a cotton pad. If they come in a gel or lotion formula, they can be applied with fingertips. They don't need to be removed as in the case of scrubs. You simply leave it on and let it get to work while you finish with your routine of serum and moisturiser. How often you use an exfoliator is entirely down to your skin type and what works for you. I have dehydrated skin and I find twice a week to be sufficient, although some people are happy to use theirs more often. Start off gently and increase the frequency if you need to.