Acids. Sounds daunting, but skin begs to differ.

Acids. Sounds daunting, but skin begs to differ.

AHA’s and BHA’s have been changing faces and minds about the word “acid” for some time. But lately they’ve garnered even more praise as we finally get to the buzz-worthy truth about how these powers-that-be can literally change everything – even more than we knew…and we know this stuff.

We’re not saying they’ll change your life – or are we?

Here’s how to reap the benefits. Here’s how often you need them. Here’s the breakdown. Here’s the acid test…

What’s the difference between AHA's and BHA’s?

An AHA is an alpha-hydroxy acid derived from a natural or plant source. These blast away dead skin by allowing cells to fall away more easily to reveal your brightest and healthiest glow. That was so easy.

BHA’s or beta hydroxy acids are more effective for spot prone complexions, aka acne or breakouts, because their magic power is their ability to plunge into pores for an extra squeaky deep-dive clean.

What’s in it for my skin?

Acid-based products offer a whole slew of complexion-boosting benefits from improved texture, expedited cell turnover (trust us…you want to keep things flowing), and unclogged, decongested pores. Plus, these acids set the stage for the serums and moisturizers that follow improving their absorption, so even those work better. Acid for the win.

Should I use both…or one or the other?

While these skin-loving gems have separate benefits; AHA’s are more focused on sloughing off dead skin cells, and BHAs leave no pore uncleaned, help with inflammation and drastically reduce the look of dark spots – we say, why not use both? 

How do these acids show up on ingredient labels?

There are so many acids to choose from, and you’ll often see them combined on an ingredient label. Here are some of our favorites:

• Salicylic acid: This BHA is an anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory and a great all-around exfoliant. You’ll often see White Willow Bark listed on Credo ingredient labels, as this is a clean and natural form of Salicylic Acid.

• Lactic acid: This AHA exfoliates and doesn’t stop till skin is deeply hydrated and moisturized.

• Mandelic acid: Another AHA to add to your arsenal; this makes sure acne doesn’t stand a chance.

• Glycolic acid: This AHA is so popular because of its ability to really penetrate the skin, making it a powerhouse for cell turnover. 

Where do I start?

You don’t need to start with the most intense strength. Make sure you have the right strength for your particular needs. If you’re seeing redness or irritation, then start slower and work your way up. The results will continue to build as you become accustomed to the ingredients and we guarantee, if you use it…the results will come. This is your skin’s field of dreams.

Start once a week 

This will give your skin time to get used to any new AHA/BHA products you’ve chosen. Start by using these products at night and sleeping on it and work your way up to every other night as skin becomes accustomed. Once your skin gets adjusted, you can work your way up to two or three times a week. Again, listen to your skin…it speaks loudly.


This should be a no-brainer. Sunscreen is even more critical when you’re using acid-based products. While they can help fade pigmentation brought on by UV exposure, both AHAs and BHAs can also increase skin’s sensitivity to the sun’s rays. Be safe out there. We know you know.

What should I put in my cart now?

Well, like yesterday, you should most definitely add these…


Moon Juice Acid Potion
This nourishing lightweight liquid exfoliator actively resurfaces with FIVE acids to reveal tighter, brighter and smoother skin. What pores? What uneven texture? What fine lines? Thank you to this 25% AHA + BHA Acid Complex. Thank you Reishi for reducing redness and Niacinamide (Vitamin B3) for boosting hydration. Thanks all around.

Kosas AHA Serum Deodorant
AHA’s play a different role here…but it smells important. This stain, aluminum and baking-soda-free deodorant leaves underarms brighter, fresher and healthier at the hands of a unique AHA blend to fight odor, soothe skin and prevent ingrown hairs. Did we mention the amazing cooling rollerball that refreshes and just feels good every single time?

Tata Harper Clarifying Cleanser
This foaming gel cleanser hones in on blemish-causing impurities and gets to the root of the breakout issues. Leaves skin with a velvety matte clean without a side of dryness. Juniper Fruit balances oils and reduces breakouts, with natural salicylic acid and AHA’s for gentle enzymatic exfoliation. Chlorella nourishes and gives this cleanser its glorious verdant color. Say hello to your next…your forever…cleanser.

Keep these cliff notes handy and the acids handier. Your future looks clearer, cleaner, brighter and super decongested. 

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