Glycolic acid vs Salicylic acid


You cannot turn a corner in your local beauty store without bumping into a product that has acid in it. They’ve always been there but thanks to the skinfluencer community their popularity has grown by huge amounts.

And for good reason – they perform almost immediately. If you’ve never used acid on your skin before then I am 100 percent sure you will see a difference straight away and think they are a miracle product.

But if you are new to an intensive sometimes scary skincare routine, then you’ll probably question why on earth I would tell you to put acid on your face?

Well first lets lay the foundation and figure out what an acid is.

What is an acid?

Acid in very science(y) terms in a proton donor or in even more words, it is highly reactive. You can get AHAs, alpha hydroxy acids (like glycolic) and BHAs, beta hydroxy acids (like salicylic). They are different because of their solubility. BHAs can work on the skin surface and inside the pores whereas, AHAs only work on the surface layer of the skin.

The general idea behind using acid on your skin is to help your remove dead skin cells by “ungluing” them and therfore, exfoliating your skin. This also allows other products you use to interact with your skin on a much more molecular level.

But should I use glycolic or salicyclic acid?

Salicylic is best for those who have more serious skin concern, like acne. Because it is able to reach much deeper into the pores of your skin, it will be more effective at keeping your skin clean.

Glycolic is your great, standard exfoliator. It does a great job of keeping the outermost layers of your skin clean and if you have particlaury sensitive skin, then this is probably the one you should go for.

But always remember to ease your skin into acids. Start with low concentrations and only once a week until you build up some tolerance. Also, if you’re pregnant, its probably best to skip this step for the next 9 months or more.

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