When it comes to acids, not all are made equal. And it can become confusing to know which one does what, whether it’s right for you, and how you can bring them into your routine in the most effective way for your individual skin concerns.

Welcome to our guide on the top four acids that are on everyone’s minds – their functions, differences, and where you can find them within the Alpha-H range.


The different types of acid

Although grouped under the same umbrella of ‘acids’, they don’t all behave the same and many of the acids used in our skincare have very different functions. The most well-known action for our hero acids is accelerating the skin’s natural exfoliation process - think AHAs like Glycolic Acid and BHAs such as Salicylic Acid - to remove dull and dead skin cells from the surface and reveal fresh, new, radiant skin. As we age, our body’s natural processes begin to slow down, leaving layers of dead surface cells on the skin and making it look dull and feel rough. Giving this process a boost supports your skin’s natural function, helping to maintain a more youthful, radiant complexion.

Then there’s another side to the acid world. Humectants and antioxidants play a big role in a well-balanced skin care routine. With the skin being faced daily with aggressors such as pollution, harmful UV rays and free radical damage, our nourishing and protecting acids give the skin it’s best defence to protect against environmental stressors – think Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C) - and bind moisture to the skin to maintain and replenish hydration stores – think Hyaluronic Acid. Hydration and protection are key to a healthy, happy skin.

So let’s take a look at the four most powerful acids that are on everyone’s radar.


Glycolic Acid

If you’re familiar with Alpha-H you’ll know that Glycolic is our hero acid, and for very good reason. The smallest molecular structure of all the AHAs (Alpha-Hydroxy Acids), Glycolic Acid can penetrate that little bit deeper, working to break down the protein bonds holding dead skin cells to the surface and allowing them to lift away for a superior exfoliation. But it doesn’t stop there. Clinically proven to stimulate the skin’s own production of collagen and hyaluronic acid, Glycolic Acid assists to plump the skin, helping to reduce the appearance of hyperpigmentation and smooth uneven texture.

You can find Glycolic Acid across our range including our original exfoliating tonic Liquid Gold, as well as Beauty Sleep Power Peel and Liquid Gold Midnight Reboot Serum. Shop our Glycolic Acid treatments here.


Lactic Acid

Considered the little sister of Glycolic, Lactic Acid is another hard-working member of the AHA family. This time with a larger molecular size, Lactic Acid stays closer to the surface of the skin making it more easily tolerated by younger skins, those new to accelerating acids, or a slightly more sensitised skin. This powerful yet gentle AHA helps to promote exfoliation of dull surface skin cells, aiding cell turnover and renewal without causing sensitivity. It can also work to increase the ceramides in the skin’s protective barrier, boosting hydration and reducing the appearance of hyperpigmentation.

You can find Lactic Acid in out potent Liquid Gold Ultimate Perfecting Mask, and Liquid Gold 24hr Moisture Repair Cream.

Salicylic Acid

The most powerful fighter against breakouts and blemishes, Salicylic Acid is your go to for a problematic skin. An oil soluble Beta-Hydroxy Acid (BHA), Salicylic is able to break through oil deep into the pore, working to clean from the inside out. Clearing away dirt, debris and bacteria helps to break the repetitive cycle of a breakout, lessening the frequency and severity of pimples and blemishes. While reducing inflammation within the pore, it can also help to control excess sebum production and remove bacteria build-up, preventing the breakout from spreading. 

You can find Salicylic across our Clear Skin Range including Clear Skin Tonic, Blemish Control Gel and Face & Body Wash. Shop our Salicylic range here.


Hyaluronic Acid

And finally, with world of exfoliating acids so full there needs to be a nourishing acid balance. When the skin becomes dehydrated it accentuates ageing skin concerns such as fine lines and wrinkles, uneven texture and tone, and dark spots and pigmentation. As one of the most powerful humectants with the ability to hold up to 1000 x its own weight in water, Hyaluronic Acid attracts moisture both externally and internally, binding it to the surface layers of the skin to maintain hydration levels and keep skin plump, moist, and supple.

Look for Hyaluronic Acid in our powerhouse hydrating serum Hyaluronic 8, as well as nourishing Absolute Eye Complex and daily essential Absolute Lip Perfector. Shop our Hyaluronic range here


Still unsure which acid you need in your routine? Click here to book in for a one-on-one Virtual Skin Consultation with a fully qualified Skin Specialist, to fully tailor your routine.