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Blog skincare basics

Acids in Creams

When we’re looking to add some exfoliating acids to our skincare routine, we typically find them in liquid form - cleansers, toners, or acne treatments. What’s surprising is that they’re showing up more and more in moisturizing creams.

There are some benefits to using a cream that contains acids, especially for some specific skin types. If you’re new to using acids, it’s always a good idea to look into the different types of acids and what they do, before you start.

Why use acids in a cream?

You don’t have to ditch your other products with acids. While it’s important to remain aware of how many exfoliants your routine contains in total, creams with acids can often be used with your other products. So why add a moisturizer with acids?

  • You need more exfoliation. Creams with acids tend to sit on your skin for long periods of time (as opposed to getting rinsed off, like a cleanser). This is a good thing if you feel like you don’t get quite enough exfoliation out of your other products. Layering a couple of lower concentration acid products is also sometimes better tolerated than a single dose with a high concentration. Purito’s BHA Dead Skin Moisture Gel is hydrating, acne-preventing, and anti-inflammatory - everything you need.

  • Your skin gets irritated by acids. Because moisturizers are often full of soothing, repairing, hydrating ingredients, a cream that contains acids may work perfectly for your sensitive skin. You get the benefits of the acids, but all those moisturizing ingredients counteract possible irritation. Some By Mi AHA BHA PHA 30 Days Miracle Cream contains four different centella-derived ingredients, making it an ideal choice if you have low tolerance to acids.

  • The ingredients work together. A cream is a great place to get ingredients that work together. The acids in a moisturizer dissolve dead skin cells, allowing anti-ageing ingredients to work more efficiently and absorb better. Skin calming ingredients can help prevent the irritation that acids can cause. D’Alba Peptide No-Sebum Repair Cream has a bit of everything thrown in: peptides and amino acids for some anti-ageing action, white truffle to help with pigmentation, and BHAs to fight excess oils.

  • You have oily, or acne-prone skin. If your skin’s already oily, there’s a good chance you’re not looking to put anything heavy on it. But skipping your moisturizer usually isn’t a good idea either - drying acne out can make your skin amp up oil production. Using a light moisturizer with acids means you get the moisture and acne-fighting effects in one product. Try COSRX’s AC Collection Lightweight Soothing Moisturizer. It calms angry acne-prone skin with soothing propolis, aloe, and green tea. It’s oil-free and has a light, non-sticky finish.

  • It just saves time. Anyone can gain from using multi-tasking products, and that’s just what a cream with acids is. Combining two steps into one helps to streamline your routine when you’re in a rush, and means less products to pack if you’re headed out of town. By Wishtrend Acid-Duo Hibiscus 63 Cream gives you a dose of protective antioxidants, brightening ingredients, and oil control in one step.

How to use creams with acids

There isn’t much you need to do different when using a cream with acids. Use it at the end of your routine, like you would any moisturizing cream. These products are formulated to sit on your skin for extended periods of time. A patch test is always a good idea when using a new product with acids.

If you feel like using a dedicated exfoliating product and a cream with acids will be too much for your skin, split them up. Use one in the morning and one in the evening, or alternate days on which you use them. The same can be said when using any type of acid product with other stronger actives, like vitamin C or retinol. It’s a good idea to use them at different times, so your skin doesn’t get irritated. When using any acids, make sure you apply a sunscreen afterwards (unless you’re going to sleep, of course).

Using a cream that moisturizes and exfoliates is a great way to get a cocktail of beneficial ingredients in one, easy step. There are so many types - skin soothing, oil-controlling, and formulas for sensitive skin - it isn’t hard to find one that caters to you!