Anyone can develop a beautiful complexion, but you have to choose the right routine to see significant results.

Exfoliation is one of the key stages in a great skincare regime, but many people ignore this step then wonder why their moisturisers, serums and creams don’t work as well as they could.

You needn’t manually scrub your pores so hard that they disappear, but you can create an evenly balanced skin tone, clear complexion and youthful appearance with exfoliation, and one of the hottest skincare buzzwords – acids will help you get there.

Exfoliation And Acids

Exfoliation involves the shedding of old, dull, dry skin cells. A gorgeous face and neck require an exfoliation routine to keep them healthy, radiant and smooth, and that is where acids such as glycolics come into play. These specially prepared formulas dissolve the dead skin cells effectively in safe, use-at-home formulas.

The range of acids available for use in beauty preparations is huge, but most people are familiar with AHAs (alpha hydroxy acids), BHAs (beta hydroxy acids), hyaluronic acid and retinoic acid.

These powerful chemical products can transform a complexion in the most beautiful way, with stars like Jennifer Lopez and Gwyneth Paltrow regulalrly using them to achieve flawless skin.

AHAs like glycolic acid, lactic acid, mandelic acid and citric acid all perform effectively. They exfoliate, reduce the appearance of lines and wrinkles, add hydration, improve skin texture and tone and boost collagen production.

Beauty science and research has been done extensively on the value of using acids in a successful skincare routine. For example, a test study reported by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) found that using a cream or lotion of 12% lactic acid added firmness and thickness to the skin with a host of other amazing benefits.


Glycolic acid is another favorite because of its tiny molecular size that allows it to penetrate deeply into the dermis. A 10% acid is excellent at keeping the complexion clear, smooth as silk and radiant.

Salicylic acid, a beta hydroxy, is a clear favorite for fighting back against acne and very oily skin. It’s strong but gentle and works on the complexion’s surface to smooth away bumps, blackheads and blemishes. The acid is also great for those with rosacea or milia.

Beta hydroxy acids are oil-soluble and can go deep into the pores and also contain antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.

Hyaluronic Acid And Retinoic Acid: Age-Defying Skin

HA is tremendous at providing the skin with good hydration and plumping up the natural contours of the face. Hyaluronic acid occurs naturally in the body and gives structure to the skin. After age 40, it begins to diminish, unfortunately.

Applied topically, an HA improves skin elasticity and is tolerated by every skin type.

Retinoic acid comes in prescription form as Retin-A, and its cousin retinol can be found at over-the-counter drugstores. The acid is a derivative of vitamin A. It is exceptional at encouraging collagen production and skin cell turnover. It can repair sun damage and keep one looking youthful.

Retinol is a gentler skincare form of Retin-A.

Acids – safe for sensitivity?

As always, if you’re going to embark on any new products in your beauty regime, it’s always wise to seek the advice of a trained therapist and to carry out patch tests before you apply any products to your skin. The general consensus is that used in moderation, acids are safe for many different skin types so long as tests are carried out beforehand. Some therapists may recommend highly diluted versions of these products for skins that are incredibly sensitive, until you build up a tolerance.