I'm Convinced These Acid-Based Products Helped Fade My Dark Spots

Is it just me, or does the thought of putting acid on your skin sound really scary? Not kidding, the thought of lathering acid on my face felt frightening to me for a while. That is before I knew the magical powers of acid and all the wonders it can work for your skin. To put it simply, my skin is so damn dry—not to mention I have severe eczema—and it's been that way for as long as I can remember. I had to adopt a skincare routine before I even knew how to spell skincare. Yep, since my baby days.

To add insult to injury, post–inflammatory hyperpigmentation came into my life in my early 20s. I was just starting out my beauty career and had no idea exactly what worked for my sensitive skin. I tried everything. This resulted in the worst breakouts of my life, which turned into unsightly dark spots all over my face that I've been determined to get rid of since last year. As you can see by now, my far-from-perfect skin has been through some things and is still trudging along.

Here's photographic proof for context:

Maya Allen

However, after interviewing several dermatologists and estheticians about ways to treat my dark spots, I was introduced to acids. Sure, they sound scary, but acids are actually a delight for my skin. I've found an entire skincare routine that's jump-started my glow-up, brightened my complexion, provided ample moisture, and faded my dark spots. But acids, specifically hyaluronic acid, have been the hero ingredient, hands down.

You might ask, what is hyaluronic acid and what does it even do for your skin? Well, a lot. Ted Lain, MD, told Byrdie that hyaluronic acid is actually naturally produced in our skin's compound. In fact, one gram of hyaluronic acid can hold up to six liters of water. "Hyaluronic acid (HA) is an extremely versatile compound found in nearly all tissues of the body," says Lain. "It is an important component of the matrix of the dermis and plays an important role in cell interactions. In skin, the natural regeneration of cells and dermal fibroblasts properties are directly dependent on the concentration of hyaluronic acid. In other words, it's what keeps our skin's wheels turning.

Meet the Expert

Ted Lain, MD, is a MBA board-certified dermatologist and chief medical officer specializing in the diagnosis and treatment of hair, skin, and nail disorders. He also performs minimally-invasive cosmetic and laser skin rejuvenation procedures.

Hyaluronic acid does so much. It boosts hydration, smoothes fine lines and wrinkles, repairs your skin's tissue, and, in my particular case, kicks dark spots' behinds. These are my holy-grail hyaluronic acid products, along with my favorite salicylic acid and glycolic acid products, listed in the order in which I use them in my skincare regimen.

Acne Retexture Pad 2% Salicylic Acid USP with 5% Glycolic Acid 60 Peels
Cane & Austin Acne Retexture Pad $60
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Hyaluronic Serum
Dr. Barbara Sturm Hyaluronic Serum $300
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SkinCeuticals Hydrating B5 Gel $83
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