Here's Why You Need an Acid Serum

I used to be a bit of a wimp when it comes to skincare. Convinced that my skin was hopelessly dry, I’d use only the gentlest face washes, followed by generous layers of organic oils. If my skin got flaky, I might use a physical exfoliant or resurfacing mask—Origins’s Original Skin Retexturizing Mask With Rose Clay ($26) is still my fave. For breakouts, I’d apply an all-natural spot treatment (or not even treat my blemishes at all). Like I said, I was a bit of a wimp.  

Chemical exfoliators were definitely not in my routine. I didn’t mess with acids. Even the names of the ingredients were harsh and intimidating. (Doesn’t the word “jojoba” sound so much friendlier than “glycolic?”) Frankly, I was a little afraid of them.

I realize now that my fear was rooted in one thing, and that was a lack of information. Not long ago, I visited celebrity esthetician Renée Rouleau, who completely overhauled my skincare regimen. One of the major changes she suggested was introducing an acid serum into my nighttime routine. Renée’s AHA Smoothing Serum ($42) with a 10% glycolic acid concentration is specifically formulated for sensitive skin types and people new to acid serums. She promised the product would help my skin stay clear, radiant, and wrinkle-free without irritation. I can already say with confidence that after less than a month of use that my skin has never looked better.

I’m now an acid serum convert, and I want to spread the word. But there are so many different types and concentrations out there that figuring out which one to use can be daunting. So, I asked Rouleau the tough questions to help you find the best acid serum for your skin. And trust me, there’s an acid for everyone. 

Curious about acid serums? Skeptical about putting “chemicals” on your face? To get the scoop on this essential (and totally un-scary) part of your skincare routine, keep scrolling!

What’s your favorite serum right now? Tell us in the comments below!