The world of skincare acids can be overwhelming and confusing. There are so many acids on the market and they seem very similar. This guide will help you understand the most popular and effective skincare acids. Skincare acids are excellent for exfoliating and hydrating the skin. Skincare acids are some of the most effective ingredients for anti-aging, acne, uneven skin tone, hyperpigmentation, and more. Keep reading to find out the right skincare acid(s) for you!



AHA stands for alpha hydroxy acid. BHA stands for beta hydroxy acid. According to Healthline, “AHAs are water-soluble acids made from sugary fruits. They help peel away the surface of your skin so that new, more evenly pigmented skin cells may generate and take their place. After use, you’ll likely notice that your skin is smoother to the touch. On the other hand, BHAs are oil-soluble. Unlike AHAs, BHAs can get deeper into the pores to remove dead skin cells and excess sebum.”

AHAs are known to be safe for all skin types. Although, if you have very dry or sensitive skin you may want to use AHA’s sparingly until you know how they affect your skin. BHAs are primarily used for acne and sun damage. BHA skincare products go deep into the pores to clear out dead skin cells and sebum. 

Hyaluronic Acid

Although it contains the word acid, hyaluronic acid is not an AHA or a BHA. Instead, it is a natural humectant. This humectant can hold 1000x its weight in water. Hyaluronic acid in skincare and cosmetics restore moisture, firmness, and plumpness. The super ingredient also smoothes fine lines and wrinkles. It is the ideal skincare “acid” for anti-aging. 


Isntree Hyaluronic Acid Line

If you are looking to include more hyaluronic acid in your skincare routine, Isntree has a full line for this super anti-aging ingredient. 

  • Isntree Hyaluronic Acid Toner - A deeply moisturizing toner that saturates dry, tired skin with moisture and, using its water-lock effect, locks it into place. This moisture-bomb-of-a-toner increases water content whilst decreasing evaporation. 
  • Isntree Hyaluronic Acid Moist Cream - Containing quintuplex hyaluronic acids, this intense moisture cream is ideal for dull, dry, and aging skin that is desperate for an injection boost of moisture.
  • Isntree Hyaluronic Acid Aqua Gel Cream - The gel texture penetrates into the skin without leaving a sticky residue, creating thoroughly moisturized and nourished skin. Combined with Hyaluronic Acid, Green Tea, Centella Asiatica, and Aloe, your skin will feel hydrated, protected, and revitalized.

Skincare Acids:

Ascorbic Acid - Ascorbic acid, also known as Vitamin C, is a potent antioxidant. It slows the signs of anti-aging and prevents sun damage. Ascorbic acid is also very effective for brightening and evening out skin tone. Lastly, it boosts collagen production to soften skin and increase firmness. The Round Lab Birch Juice Moisturizing Cream combines ascorbic acid, birch juice, and hyaluronic acid. This combination provides ultra moisturization to keep your skin looking younger for longer. 


Citric Acid - Citric acid is made from citrus fruit extracts. This acid neutralizes the skin’s pH levels and lightly exfoliates dry skin. The Keep Cool Soothe Bamboo Toner contains citric acid and bamboo water to balance, hydrate, and calm your skin. 

Glycolic acid - Glycolic acid is the most common type of AHA. This skincare acid comes from the sugar cane plant. Glycolic acid provides significant exfoliation. Therefore it is a popular ingredient in many peels. It also has antimicrobial properties to keep your pores clear of dirt and acne causing bacteria.

Lactic Acid - Unlike other AHAs made from citrus and sugar cane, lactic acid is made from lactose in milk. It is known for its exfoliation and anti-aging effects.

Salicylic acid - Salicylic acid is the most common BHA. It is an acne treatment that also calms redness and inflammation. 

AHA/BHA Blend Recommendation: The Papa Recipe Eggplant Clearing Peeling Pad Toner combines AHAs, glycolic acid, and lactic acid, and BHA, salicylic acid. This blend gently removes dead skin cells and waste from the skin. The 60 individual toning pads are soaked with skin-renewing and antioxidant-rich ingredients. These include Eggplant Extract, Calendula Flower Extract, Tea Tree, and an AHA blend. Each pad has a textured side for removing dead skin and impurities, and a smooth side for skin renewal and hydration. This blend promotes cell renewal. These toner pads leave your skin feeling full of youth and vitality and ready for the next stage of skincare.

Layering Skincare Acids

BHAs are designed for everyday use. AHAs are a little stronger and only recommended to use 2-3 times a week. Vitamin C (citric acid) can have exfoliating effects on the skin, so it is generally not recommended to mix vitamin C with other AHAs or BHAs. If you have oily skin, you may be able to handle an AHA/BHA toner or exfoliator followed by a citric acid serum. Products that combine AHA and BHA ingredients are safe to use. Just be sure not to use additional AHA/BHA products on the same day.