How to use skincare acids with The Ordinary

Hands up who wants to know more about the skincare acid trend sweeping the nation? Yes please! We caught up with The Ordinary's Education Manager Jack Wardlaw to give us the lowdown

What are skincare acids & why should we use them?

We’ve all seen them – the cleansers, moisturisers and serums that contain active ingredients and promise to help us on our way to radiant and smooth-looking skin. Like us, we’re sure you want to know if they do what they say on the tin, and what their benefits are. Well, you’ve come to the right place.

Let’s start with the basics. Active ingredients in our skincare products are typically acids like AHAs and BHAs (we’ll come on to that) and help to effectively target dullness of skin and uneven textures.


What are the different types of skincare acids?

There are two main types of skincare acids, AHAs (alpha hydroxy acids) and BHAs (beta hydroxy acids). AHAs are water soluble exfoliants and work to dissolve dead skin cells, whilst BHAs are oil soluble, meaning they can penetrate clogged pores more easily.

Glycolic acid

Achieving exfoliating excellence has never been easier. Known for helping the appearance of skin discolouration, and those pesky fine lines and wrinkles, the AHA rich formula can help to remove any dead skin cells on the surface of the skin.

Lactic acid

Another member of the AHA gang, lactic acid can help increase skin moisturisation. Naturally formed from fruit sugars or milk, lactic acid is a gentle exfoilant in comparison to glycolic acid.

Mandelic acid

Another skincare hero we’ve all been missing! Mandelic acid is an AHA derived from almonds (who knew?). A go to anti-ageing acid, it works by removing dead cells from the skin’s surface and strengthens collagen, helping to reveal more radiant skin.

Salicylic acid

As a BHA, salicylic acid can penetrate past the surface of the skin, making clogged pores on oily skin a thing of the past. Even better it can help to make your skin appear plumper – how good is that?

Azelaic acid

A naturally occurring acid found in grains such as barley and rye, (so not an AHA or BHA), azelaic acid is suitable for all skin types and offers a gentle approach to skin exfoliation – good news for those of us with sensitive skin!


But what about hyaluronic acid?

Neither an AHA nor BHA, hyaluronic acid occurs naturally in your body. As we age, our bodies slow down the production of hyaluronic acid and, as a result, the tell-tale signs of skin ageing appear. Using skincare acids containing hyaluronic acid can help to plump and hydrate the skin, helping to keep the wrinkles away.

Consider your skincare acids crash course complete.