Face Acids Types, Benefits, Which Ones to Use

Face acid is a beneficial ingredient for skin care. The word acid and chemical burn may seem scary, but the face acid is very much different from that acid.

There are different types of miraculous face acids which help to fight with wrinkle, aging, acne uneven skin tone, and scarring. There will be a number of products available for skin so it might be confusing which one to use. In this article, we will know more details of face acid and how to choose it.

Initially, you will feel like chemistry class while browsing for skin care acids. There are different types of face acids which provide different benefits. Knowing more details of each face acid helps to choose the best suiting skin acid for you according to your skin type.

Generally, face acid is a common ingredient in every beauty product. It is used for improving skin.

According to Dr. Vermen M Verallo-Rowell of VMV-Hypoallergenics tells that face acid trigger necrosis of skin cells. It means the replacement of new cells by shedding old one. Using face acid helps new cell growth by improving skin texture. But it is also true that a different acid is meant to target a specific skin type which depends on the size of molecular of acid and its power. Some acid target acne and some acid help to treat wrinkle and fine lines.

Types of Face Acids and their benefits

1.Ascorbic Acid

Importance of Vitamin C in Workout Routines

Ascorbic acid is substances version of vitamin C. It provides benefits of antioxidants said by Dr. Joyce Imahiyerobolp (A board-certified dermatologist).

This acid is the best alternative for brighter skin. It also helps to stimulate collagen composition. Make sure to use it properly and store it in a tight container. Once the container of ascorbic acid is open, then it will lose its effectiveness over time.

Ascorbic Acid benefits

Best topical application

The ascorbic acid (vitamin C) can be the best topical application for the skin. The stratum corneum is the main obstruction to increase the effectiveness of vitamin C absorption from external sources.  When you have stratum corneum removal by chemical, laser or mechanical techniques, then it will promote the absorption.

However, similar studies still needed for human trials. Animal laboratory studies discovered that the absorption of percutaneous vitamin C completely depends on your pH levels.

For the stability of vitamin C in topical application, make sure to avoid exposure to heat, air, light which causes to slow down the effectiveness of ascorbic acid.

Prevent Deficiency

When you have vitamin C deficiency, you will notice the symptom of plasma concentration. You can prevent this deficiency by consuming 10 mg of ascorbic acid every day. Ascorbic acid will beneficial to prevent the collagen synthesis decline that can harm blood vessels and connective tissues.


Ascorbic Acid helps to prevent skin damage triggered by UV rays (ultraviolet) exposure. The vitamin C is not a sunscreen to protect skin because it is not capable of absorbing UVA or UVB light spectrum. But it is an antioxidant which protects from the damage occurred by free radicals.

Prevent Wrinkling

The collection of oxidative damage to proteins is a distinctive component of both photodamage (photoaging) and normal aging; such oxidative damage can cause alterations in skin structure.

Notwithstanding its antioxidant prevention agent, vitamin C controls the compounds of the protein collagen. The function of vitamin C in the hydroxylation of collagen atoms is well simulated. Hydroxylation of collagen is vital for its plasm stableness and aid the epidermis.

Wound healing

A unique feature of Ascorbic Acid is healing wounds. Vitamin C is helpful to reduce the wound site. The inflammatory responses in the skin create a free radical on the area of injury. The use of ascorbic acid helps to limit the free radical damage in the affected skin. It will activate the dermal collagen compounds to promote vitamin C utilization.

Dry skin

Sufficient use of vitamin C helps to reduce dry skin. When you don’t get enough vitamin C from your food, your skin become dry. The use of ascorbic acid on the face helps to provide the effects of transepidermal water loss.

Additionally, the vitamin C boost the compounds of barrier lipids which will produce a functioning level corneum with reduced water permeability.

2.Azelaic Acid

Some people naturally have extra redness in their skin. Those people often fear of using harsh skin care products like face acids. Do not worry, Azelaic acid works mildly on your face skin. It is the best substitute for healing melasma and hyperpigmentation. It can provide benefits to soothing acne, rosacea, and redness.

Azelaic Acid Benefits

Papulopustular rosacea

Azelaic acid is a foremost treatment for Rosales which is approved by the Food-and-Drug-Administration (FDA). It has proven to be effective and safe for this condition mentioned by the research of Valley-Hospital-Medical-Center, in Las Vegas. It is a more effective gel form than cream.

The researcher believes that it works for rosacea because of its anti-inflammatory antioxidant qualities. It also prevents free radical and reduces the swelling and redness of the skin.


According to different studies, Including the research of Leeds-General-Infirmary, England, and Yorkshire discovered that azelaic acid is an effective treatment for acne.

Azelaic acid is a powerful antibacterial agent. It helps to stop the growth and spreading of Propionibacterium acne (acne-causing bacteria), and Staphylococcus epidermis – a type of bacteria causes staphylococcal infection in the follicles.

Azelaic face acid also works as a keratolytic agent – meaning it helps to lower the risk of clogged skin pores that causes inflammatory acne.


Melasma is one of the common skin problems characterized by dark patches and spots on your skin. Azelaic acid helps to decrease the pigmentation and its ability to limit the tyrosinase which is a copper-containing enzyme. It plays an important role in melanin production.

Interrupting this enzyme helps to increase the brightness of skin and promote entire skin tone. According to clinical trials recommend azelaic acid become more effective than hydroquinone 4% in decreasing melasma which will unknowingly occur in individuals whose skin does not react positively to hydroquinone.


Hyperpigmentation is a general skin disease in which skin patches become darker than the other surrounding skin. It occurs because of excess melanin production which is skin color pigmentation.

Often, inflammatory lesion induces hyperpigmentation such as an inflammatory rash or acne pustule. For that, you will require to use Azelaic acid for healing the post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation effectively or reduce dark patches happened by acne lesion. It will diminish with time and relieve the skin tone for enhancing appearance.

3.Salicylic acid

Salicylic acid is a well-known face acid for a long time. It is the best acid for exfoliating skin for cleaning pores and decrease acne. It is available in the cleansers and serums at intensities between 0.5 and 2%, as well as in place treatments for acne.

Salicylic acid usually used in higher combination as a peeling method for acne treatment, melasma, acne scars, sun damage, and age spots. It works effectively to treat corn and wart as a removal solution. Even it is safe for treating pigmentation, still likely to cause dark skin. As it belongs to aspirin which is acetylsalicylic acid, it provides anti-inflammatory qualities.

Salicylic acid Benefits

Exfoliates Skin

Salicylic acid act as an excellent exfoliator for face skin. It helps to dissolves the flaky and dead cells. Salicylic acid is best for removing dirt and grime from the skin outer layer and pores by purifying the skin. It effectively promotes the flawless look.

Fights Acne

A well-known ingredient in skin break out care products, salicylic acid diminishes skin break out inflammation, relieve oily skin, promote acne free skin. It helps to treat skin break out and hinder further breakouts.

You can prepare an anti-acne face mask by mixing one large strawberry in a bowl. Also, add one teaspoon of raw honey and mix together. Apply this face mask and wait till it gets dries. Later wash with warm water then dabble with cold water. You will require to repeat these two times a week.

Lighten Acne Scars and Blemishes

If you are getting many blemishes, acne scars, black marks and dark spots on the skin, then try salicylic acid. It is the best options to lessen the discoloration and promote skin tone.  You can also use salicylic acid for treating blemish spots by mixing with aspirin tablets and water. Then apply it on the affected area by using a q-tip.

Clear Clogged Pores

Using salicylic acid helps to promote the sale of oils circulation for oily skin and clear the clogged pores. It removes dirt, grime, pollution and excess oil from pores.

You can make a pore-clearing scrub by mixing two aspirin tablets and two tablespoons of warm water. Also, include a half a teaspoon of honey and two drops of tea tree oil. Do the gentle scrub for two minutes and rinse with cold water.

Decreases Oily Skin

If you are suffering from oily face skin, then salicylic acid is best to treat the fatty synthesis such as sebum (natural oil) of skin. Using salicylic acid removes excess oils from the skin.

Shrinks Large Pores

Using salicylic acid on face skin provide benefits to shrink the large pores by reducing oiliness and tightening your skin. It contains special qualities of astringent which helps to reduce the large pores and promote smooth skin appearance.

Boosts Anti-Aging

Salicylic acid enhances cell turnover, which advances the flow at which the skin develops. This allows fast restoration of dead skin cells and boosts collagen reproduction which makes skin youthful and smooth.

Diminishes Skin Inflammation

Salicylic acid is helpful for lessening all kinds of skin inflammation and redness. You can apply it for sunburns, acne inflammation, dermatitis flare-ups.

Mash a ripe kiwi in a bowl and make a puree. Then apply it on inflamed parts. After five minutes wash it with cold water.

Extricates Blackheads

Using salicylic acid helps to open the pores and eliminate the blackheads which you can easily squeeze out.

Follow this remedy to make your own black removal pack.

Taking facial steam to open your face skin pores then make a powder of aspirin tablet and mix with warm water. With the help of an old toothbrush, gently scrub the aspirin paste on the blackheads and keep it for seven minutes. Later with the help of a spoon remove it.

Dissolves Warts

Using 10% to 30% concentration of salicylic acid helps to dissolve warts.

You will need two aspirin tablets. Mix it with hot water and wait till it gets dissolved into a thick paste. Wash your hands and apply the paste with the index finger on wart areas. Keep it overnight to dry out and clean in the morning. Do this remedy for one to two weeks.

4.Citric Acid

Citric acid also describes as alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) that is obtained from citrus fruits. It is a rich source of antioxidant acid that is beneficial for averting premature aging. Citric acid is also suitable for treating acne and sun-damaged skin. It helps to exfoliate brown spots and increase skin brightness.

Citric Acid benefits

Help uneven skin tone

Citric acid work as a natural scrubber for face skin. It helps to de-pigment the skin effectively.

To make citric acid face pack mix one tablespoon citric powder and two tablespoon oats in 1/4 cup of plain yogurt. Mix all the ingredients well.

Before applying this paste clean your face. Apply and gently scrub the face skin with your fingers into a circular motion for five minutes. Wash it later with cool water to get a toned skin.

Open clogged pores

Using Citric Acid helps to open the pores and clean it. Make a face mask with the following steps.

  • Add one pack of general gelatine
  • 2-tablespoon of citric acid powder
  • ½ cup of orange juice
  • ½ cup water in a pan.

Mix all ingredients and heat on a medium flame. Keep stirring till gelatine and citric acid powder get fully dissolved.

Let this pack cool down by keeping in refrigerator for 22-25 minutes.

Apply it on the dry skin. Gently peel it after half an hour. It will purify your skin deeply.

Treat Acne-prone Skin

Using citric acid helps to treat the skin which gets acne frequently. Follow the steps to make a face pack.

Mix two tablespoons of citric acid powder, ¼ cup water, and ¼ cup low-fat milk. Mix all well and make a blend.

Apply this blend on the dry skin patches. Let the face mask get dry and then wash with warm water. It will help to eliminate the dead cells and promote flawless skin.

Remove Sun-tan

Using citric acid on face beneficial for healing the sun-tan from the skin. You will need a medium size lemon juice. Mix it with 3 to 4 teaspoons of water and apply on damaged skin to heal the skin. Avoid direct sun exposure after using lemon for the skin. It may create negative effects.

Treat Wrinkles

As citric acid contains high anti-oxidants, it will help to slow down the aging process. You can directly rub the lemon peel on the affected part to heal the wrinkles.

5.Glycolic Acid

Glycolic acid is a handy AHA that can assist to enhance the appearance of scars, spots, and wrinkles while giving the skin extra radiant.

Additionally, it will help to shrink the pores. It is the best face acid to prevent the aging process.

Glycolic Acid benefits

Makes skin glow

Different factors such as dryness and aging cause to slow down the skin’s natural glowing process and result in dull skin. Using glycolic acid benefits through exfoliating and removing dead skin cells. It is not like harsh scrub, but the mild glue helps to remove the skin cells and reveal glowing and radiant skin.

Purifies pores

Glycolic acid benefits to unclog, purify, and lessen the look of enlarged pores by softening makeup, oil, dirt, and excess sebum.

Fades discoloration

Everyone desires to have an even looking skin complexion. Since glycolic acid removes the outer skin layer, it helps to remove the brown spots and melasma.

Glycolic acid promotes texture

Glycolic face acid prevents rough skin texture. It provides excellent smooth skin. This chemical exfoliates and promotes new cell production to manage the smooth surface and texture of facial skin. Your face will look even more smooth and soft.

Treats acne

Glycolic acid is the best component to treat acne problems. It will deeply penetrate in your skin to treat the regular and cystic breakouts. By doing this, it will encourage the new skin cell generation and ease the acne scar healing method.

Fights the signs of aging

It’s completely impossible to turn back time and look younger like as you were in your 16. The main reason that as your age increase your skin lose its originality and younger look. Using glycolic acid as chemical peel provide anti-aging topicals and slow down the aging process.

Prevents ingrown hairs

Ingrown hair is red bumps that pop up. The hair growth curled around and grow but back in your skin only. It will not come out of the skin. It often occurs around armpit and bikini zone. Using Glycolic Acid helps to prevent ingrown hair.

6.Hyaluronic Acid

Hyaluronic acid is the best option for moisturizing your skin. It is excellent water retaining and skin hydrating face acid. It is an ideal face acid for aging skin because it improves your facial appearance and reduces the fine lines and plumps the face skin. Try to find a product containing vitamin C and hyaluronic which helps to penetrate your face skin.


Hyaluronic acid can be the best water drink for your skin. It is capable of holding up 1,000 times of its molecular water weight. Hyaluronic acid enters in the skin and connects water to the skin cells by infusing all skin layers to rejuvenating moisture.


Humectants are an ingredient of many skincare. It helps to provide moisture in your skin. They allow hydrogen bonding and draw water. Humectant skincare products contain ingredients such as sorbitol, glycerine, butylene glycol, hexylene, and hyaluronic acid.

Lipid Check Enhancement

Our skin performs an important function to provide protection to our body and inner system including nerves, cells, tissues, and organs. The skin also protects you from harmful toxins.

All kinds of dirt and toxins attack the outer layer of facial skin. It increases your chances of getting acne and other skin problems. The skin damage will result in dark spots, fine lines, drier skin.

Using hyaluronic acid enhances the skin’s natural ability to keep the moisture in your skin and provide hydrating effects. Over time it helps to lower the deterioration of lipid problems and protect the skin.

Enhance Resilience

When the lipid block is more enhanced and protected by hyaluronic acid, the skin is better able to protect itself against environmental pollutants and age-factors. When it’s not combating these toxins, the skin continues brighter, less wrinkled, and bouncier longer.

Tighten Skin Tone

Saggy skin can be very uncomfortable.  As you age, your skin drops its natural flexibility. The best trick to know your elastin, tweak your skin on top of your hand. If it bounces back immediately, then it means you have sufficient elastin in the skin. Managing Hyaluronic Acid benefits to tighten your skin.

Smoother Texture

Like other face acids, Hyaluronic Acid also makes your skin appearance look tight and create a smooth texture. You will get a silky-smooth finish on your face skin.

Fade Fine Lines and Wrinkles

Hyaluronic Acid helps to decrease the clarity of wrinkles and fine lines. It maintains moisture in your skin and produces a plumping effect.  When you have hydrated and protected skin, it will look healthier.

Stimulates Skin Cell

It may not speed up the cell renewal process but stimulate the regeneration of skin cell. It provides extra hydration and protects the skin. By promoting healthier cells, it provides vibrant complexion.


Hyaluronic acid helps to decrease the pigmentation and prevent aging spots. It may not work on its own, so you need vitamin C serum also to boost the skin brightness.


Why your skin gets dry, it will produce more oil to hydrate the skin. Even oily skin also requires hydration. Therefore, proper hydration and moisture are important for balancing the skin. It also prevents the over-production of sebum which can clog the pores and leads to breakouts.

7.Lactic Acid

Lactic acid is a vital ingredient in the products of sensitive skin types. This acid exfoliates your outer layer and softens the wrinkles and fine lines. It is less irritating than other face acids.

Lactic Acid benefits

Skin Lightening

Lactic acid provides the best benefits for lightening the face skin. It is well known for discoloration and brightening for toning the skin. Lactic acid gives 4% to 10% decrease the melanin production. It helps to remove the problem of pigmentation.


Lactic acid is famous for exfoliating dead skin cells. It can be a natural exfoliator to make skin smooth, soft, and supple.

For Dry Skin

Using lactic acid helps to treat the dry skin by providing hydration in the skin cells and create moisture.

Remedy: You can make a face mask by mixing one teaspoon plain thick yogurt, half teaspoon raw honey and two drops of lavender oil. Leave it for seven minutes and wash it off.

Make rough skin soft

You can solve the rough skin problem of your knees, elbows, and heels with the help of lactic acid. Plain yogurt or milk can be the best alternatives.

You can also take a bath for softening your skin. You will require ten drops of lavender essential oil, two cups of whole milk. Mix it in warm water for bath and soak your body for ten minutes.

Enhances Skin Texture

You can treat flaky, bumpy, clogged up and uneven skin with the help of lactic acid. It can be beneficial for smooth skin texture.

Excellent Product Absorption

Skin with dead cells and clogged pores often prevent nutrient absorption and limit the face nourishment. Using lactic acid promote skin absorption.

Improves Dull Skin

Lactic acid relieves the dull skin and brings back the brightness with new fresh skin.

Remove dark spots and acne scars

The skin lightening features of lactic acid fade dark spots and acne scars.

Make a face mask of lemon, yogurt, and turmeric to lighten the acne scar and spots.

Best for Sensitive skin

Lactic acid works gently on sensitive skin compared to citric acid and glycolic acid. Therefore, it can be less irritable and sensitive for skin without a problem.

8.Mandelic Acid

Mandelic acid is best for lightening and brightening of the skin. This face acid found in grapes and contain a fair amount of acidity. It is less bothersome than glycolic acid. Mandelic is a common ingredient for peel mask.

Mandelic Acid benefits

Manage blemishes and acne

Mandelic acid contains anti-bacterial qualities which can be perfect for acne treatment. It also removes dead skin and clear pore.

Reduce wrinkles and fine lines

Similarly, like alpha-hydroxy, mandelic acid work effectively for anti-aging for skin care. Mandelic acid increases new cell reproduction by reducing bonds and bind skin cells together. It allows to remove the dead skin from the outer layer and reveal healthier skin.

Lightens Pigmentation

As your age increase, the hyperpigmentation and dark spots become noticeable. Using mandelic acid helps to prevent aging sings and lighten the dark spots and pigmentation.

9.Oleic Acid

Oleic acid is best suitable for people with dry skin. It is an excellent source of essential fatty acid which available in vegetable (olive oil) and animal source.  This acid contains high antioxidants and inflammation-fighting qualities which help psoriasis seborrheic dermatitis and eczema.

Oleic Acid benefits

Promotes Skin Repair

Oleic Acid is an important ingredient for repairing skin by reducing antioxidants, inflammation and healing wounds. It promotes moisture in your face skin and prevents dry skin.

10.Ferulic Acid

Ferulic acid comprises of high antioxidant that serves to fight free radicals and the slowdown aging process. It’s generally utilized in combination with other actives such as vitamin C, ascorbic acid, vitamin E.

People with delicate skin require to be careful. Ferulic acid is collected from the apples and oranges seeds. It is available in the cell of plants walls such as oranges and apples.

While purchasing this product make sure to check the processing because more processing can reduce the effectiveness.

Ferulic Acid Benefits

Ferulic acid is one of the beauty ingredients in the skin serums which work with other antioxidants, particularly vitamin C.

Vitamin C is one of the common ingredients which provide anti-aging skincare benefits. Often, vitamin C is not stable in itself, and its effectiveness gets reduced when revealed to sunlight. However, vitamin C serum generally come in amber-colored or opaque bottles.

Ferulic acid benefits to stabilize vitamin C and increase the photoprotection.

Photoprotection helps to prevent sun damage to the skin.

How to decide face acid for your skin?

It can be hard to choose the correct face acid for your skin. The simplest way to determine if the problem you want to treat.

Here is the reference to choose the suitable face acid for your problem.

Acne-prone skin

  • Azaleic acid
  • Salicylic acid
  • Glycolic acid
  • Lactic acid,
  • mandelic acid

Mature skin

  • Glycolic acid
  • Lactic acid
  • Ascorbic acid
  • Ferulic acid

Fading pigmentation

  • Kojic acid
  • Azelaic acid
  • Glycolic acid
  • Lactic acid
  • Linoleic acid
  • Ascorbic acid
  • Ferulic acid


Make sure to avoid a high concentration of acid because it will irritate the face skin. Whenever you use it the first time, do a patch test cream containing low concentration before applying on face.

You will get different face acid which provides different benefits because they are made with a different formulation. The brand does the advertisements of serums, cleansers, toners but makes sure to check for its ingredients.

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