The suggestion to use acids as part of your skincare routine may seem counterintuitive. After all, acids are largely thought of as harsh and potentially dangerous. But, that’s not the case for all acids; there are many types that can actually work to improve skin health, leaving your face clear and glowing. It’s all a matter of finding the right acids for your skin type and sensitivity level.

With the many different types of acids out there, it can be tricky to know which ones to try on your skin. We’ve helped you out by providing a selection of popular and effective acids for common skin concerns. Whether you’re looking to treat acne, minimize discoloration, moisturize, or fend off aging, acids can be the key to achieving your skin care goals.

1. Salicylic Acid

You’ve likely heard of salicylic acid being used in skincare, as it’s one of the most common over-the-counter acne treatments available. Salicylic acid is effective at treating acne because it cleans deep down to your pores, helps to clear away dead skin, and reduces inflammation.

Salicylic acid comes in a range of different forms for your skin. It’s found in cleansers, spot treatments, moisturizers, masks, and peels. These treatments come in varying concentrations, which should be chosen based on the severity of your acne and the sensitivity of your skin. Those with sensitive skin should choose a low concentration, while those suffering from severe acne or acne scars should consider a higher concentration salicylic acid.

2. Glycolic Acid

Glycolic acid provides an array of benefits for varying skin conditions, making it a highly versatile skin care product. From fighting signs of aging to preventing acne breakouts, glycolic acid may just be the secret to better skin health.

As an alpha-hydroxy acid (a water-soluble acid), glycolic acid is the perfect exfoliant for those with combination or dry skin. It works to smooth out the skin and minimize age lines, as well as lighten dark spots or acne scars.

You’ll mainly find glycolic acid in serums, creams, masks, and peels. Regardless of its form, glycolic acid should typically be applied as part of your nighttime skincare routine, as it can raise your risk for sun damage. Always use a moisturizer with SPF for an added protection.

3. Lactic Acid

Lactic acid is another alpha-hydroxy acid that’s less common than glycolic acid, but still offers a host of skin benefits. It’s great for minimizing dark spots and acne scars, as well as treating sun damage. Lactic acid is a fitting choice for those with sensitive skin, as it’s gentler than glycolic acid and helps skin retain more moisture.

Lactic acid comes in night creams, serums, moisturizers, masks, and peels. High-end and affordable skincare brands all incorporate lactic acid into their products, so you’re almost guaranteed to find a lactic acid option within your budget.

4. Hyaluronic Acid

Hyaluronic acid has earned rave reviews in the skincare world for its hydrating properties. Hyaluronic acid is loved especially for its anti-aging effects, but women at any age can benefit from its moisturizing abilities.

Hyaluronic acid is available in moisturizers, creams, serums, and masks. It’s one of the most gentle acids around and therefore a wonderful choice for those with dry skin. Hyaluronic acid is also a fitting choice for blemish-prone skin because of its soothing, anti-inflammatory effects.

The acids listed above are just a selection of the many available types of acid for skincare. When you first incorporate an acid into your beauty routine, make sure to start with a low concentration. Individuals react differently to different products, so it’s wise to start off with a gentle approach and then build from there. Also, especially for those with sensitive skin, we suggest beginning with just one acid in your daily rotation to see how your skin reacts.

If it’s time to change up your skincare routine, reach for a product with one of the trusted acids listed above. You may be amazed at the results!