Alpha-Hydroxy Acids aka AHAs
You’ve probably seen AHAs listed on some skincare product you own. They’re pretty common, and for good reason. Also known as alpha-hydroxy acids, they can help even out pigmentation, encourage exfoliation and include anti-aging properties. This makes them staples in acne medications, for example.
But they’re really a jack-of-all-trades, acne or not. They’re an exfoliant category that includes lactic, glycolic, and mandelic acids. But before you get acid-happy, you don’t want to introduce too many into your routine at once because you can actually burn your skin and cause damage to its barrier. Take your time, talk to your doctor, and see what’s best for your specific skin type.
Regardless of the route you take, it’s best to incorporate them at night after cleansing and before serums and moisturizers, since they can make you sensitive to the sun. If used during the day, be sure to follow with sunscreen.
Beta-Hydroxy Acids, aka BHAs
Now that you’ve gotten your crash course on AHAs, meet their counterpart, known as beta-hydroxy acids (BHAs). If you’re unfamiliar with BHAs directly, you’ve likely heard of salicylic acid, the heavy-hitting active ingredient in the BHA family. Known for its ability to superficially exfoliate, BHA use leads to improvement in whiteheads, blackheads, dark spots and overall skin texture. But like with any acid, BHAs can irritate sensitive skin. It’s also advised to steer clear if you’re pregnant (but of course speak with your doctor first).
Spent too much time amid the L.A. smog? Soaked up a little too much sun during your Hamptons vacation? Here’s where antioxidants come into play. These are a group of ingredients that neutralize free radical damage caused by sun exposure, pollution, smoking and other daily life encounters.
Vitamin C and E are the most popular examples of this group, which is known to keep your skin cells healthy. If you’re looking for a place to start incorporating antioxidants into your routine, the YSE Beauty Take It Off Gel-Oil Cleanser is a great place to start. It contains a blend of seed oils that keep the skin supple and smooth.