Acids A - Z

Glycolic acid. Hyaluronic acid. Ascorbic acid. Salicylic acid. Retinoic acid. So many acids! And barely even scratching the surface. While these all may be acids, they each work in very different ways to bring about changes in the skin. Some are excellent exfoliators, while others are powerful antioxidants, intense hydrators, or effective acne fighters. 

I totally get it - it can be confusing and overwhelming! But I’m here to help make it as straight forward as possible, so I’ve created an alphabetized list of the most common skincare acids, what they do, and who they’re best for. So next time you’re roaming the skincare aisles or browsing skincare products online, I hope you can take a look at the acids present in the product to better understand how the product will impact your skin.

Ok - here we go!


ASCORBIC ACID (VITAMIN C)

  • Derived from: fruits and vegetables 

  • Ideal for: skin brightening and collagen stimulation 

  • Key features: neutralizes free radicals to protect skin from oxidative stress (AKA protects from sun damage and collagen breakdown)  

  • Favorite product: Vitamin C 20% Serum

AZELAIC ACID

  • Derived from: grains such as rye, wheat, and barley

  • Ideal for: rosacea/redness and acne

  • Key features: anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties 

  • Favorite product: Azelaic Acid Suspension 10%

CITRIC ACID

  • Derived from: citrus fruits 

  • Ideal for: anti-aging, exfoliating, and skin brightening

  • Key features: antioxidant, helps to reduce fine lines and wrinkles

  • Favorite product: Skin By Blair TONIC 

FERULIC ACID

  • Derived from: seeds of apples and oranges 

  • Ideal for: antioxidant protection against free radicals 

  • Key features: often used in conjunction with vitamin C and E for optimum antioxidant benefits 

  • Precautions: not ideal for sensitive skin 

  • Favorite product: CE Ferulic

GLYCOLIC ACID

  • Derived from: sugarcane

  • Ideal for: fine lines and wrinkles, exfoliation, hyperpigmentation, clogged pores, acne scarring, and ingrown hairs

  • Key features: one of the most gentle, hydrating, and effective exfoliators, increases collagen production

  • Favorite product: Skin By Blair TONIC

HYALURONIC ACID

  • Derived from: plant fermentation 

  • Ideal for: hydration and skin plumping

  • Key features: holds 1,000 times it weight in water for increased skin hydration 

  • Favorite product: Hydrating Serum

KOJIC ACID

  • Derived from: fungi 

  • Ideal for: skin lightening and melasma 

  • Key features: inhibits excess melanin production 

  • Favorite product: Pigment Pads 

LACTIC ACID

  • Derived from: beets

  • Ideal for: brightening and exfoliation for sensitive skin 

  • Key features: stimulates collagen and elastin production

  • Favorite product: Skin By Blair TONIC

MANDELIC ACID

  • Derived from: almonds 

  • Ideal for: acne and hyperpigmentation 

  • Key features: improves skin texture and reduces signs of aging 

  • Favorite product: Skin By Blair TONIC

PHYTIC ACID

  • Derived from: legumes 

  • Ideal for: hyperpigmentation and PIH

  • Key features: gentle, gradual exfoliation and skin brightening 

  • Favorite product: Skin By Blair TONIC

RETINOIC ACID

  • Derived from: dairy products

  • Ideal for: anti-aging, firming skin, fine lines and wrinkles 

  • Key features: increases collagen and elastin production, improves skin tone and texture, all retinoids are eventually converted into retinoic acid 

  • Precautions: sun sensitivity, not to be used while pregnant

  • Favorite product: Retivance

SALICLYIC ACID

  • Derived from: bark of willow trees

  • Ideal for: acne, blackheads, and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH/PIE)

  • Key features: Reduces oil production, BHA

  • Precautions: Avoid if you have an allergy to aspirin

  • Favorite Product: Skin By Blair TONIC