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:
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. You can read all about it here. 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. Dermatologist 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 located between the cells as part of the matrix that gives structure and support to tissue. In skin, the HA plays the important role of providing turgor and thickness to the dermis, the second layer where collagen is also found." In other words, it's what keeps our skin's wheels turning.
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.
While we're at it, here are some Byrdie-favorite acid-based products.