6 Biggest Myths About Acids in Skincare Busted by an Expert Dermatologist

February 15, 2023

Table of Contents

Your mom was right when she told you not to believe everything you read on the internet – especially when it comes to acids in skincare. To distinguish fact from fiction, we went to board-certified dermatologist Dr. Dennis Gross who knows a thing or two about acids.

After all, he did create the number one at-home peel. Whether you're a seasoned acid user or considering trying them for the first time, keep reading to learn the truth about these powerful skincare ingredients.

You can’t combine multiple acids in your routine

Alpha Beta Extra Strength Daily Peel by Dr Dennis Gross Skincare

FALSE: alpha & beta hydroxy acids go together like peanut butter and jelly. They play really well in pairs and can even give you better results together than just on their own. This is due to their different properties, molecular size and benefits.

That said, don’t mix up your own concoction of acids – leave that to the pros. The Alpha Beta Extra Strength Daily Peel is formulated with a cocktail of 7 acids that improve radiance, refine pores, diminish lines & wrinkles, and clear blemishes – all without the irritation.

I should only use acids once or twice per week 

FALSE: there are several studies that show the benefits of using acids consistently in your daily regimen. In a double-blind, third-party study, participants who used the Alpha Beta Extra Strength Daily Peel every day showed improvement in skin density, collagen production and GAGs – all things that healthy skin needs.

You can deep dive into the full study here

I can’t use acids if my skin is dry and sensitive 

FALSE: while acids might be immediately associated with oily skin types, some are actually excellent for dry & sensitive skin. Lactic & mandelic acid are two prime examples. Lactic acid has been shown to stimulate ceramide production, strengthen the moisture barrier and promote internal hydration. Mandelic acid has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties.

Have sensitive skin? Try Dr. Dennis Gross Ultra Gentle Daily Peel which has both lactic and mandelic acid.

If it’s not burning, it’s not working

Post peel skin redness

FALSE: burning is a sign that irritation – aka damage – is happening. The skin is the body’s largest organ. Would you injure your lungs to help you breathe better? I didn’t think so.

Same goes with your skin. Red skin is a red flag – with the right ingredients, you can get great results (aka glowing, smooth, radiant, blemish-free skin) without the irritation. 

Acids are just for exfoliation

FALSE: acids go far beyond exfoliation – they are amazing skincare ingredients that our skin loves (our skin is naturally acidic). Different acids have different benefits including increased cell turnover, collagen production, reduced pigmentation, cleared acne, ceramide production, hydration and more.

With this list of benefits, everyone should have acids in their routine. Find out which acids are best for your skin type here.

Acids will make my skin peel off

Skin peeling peeling off after exfoliation

FALSE: gone are the days of the Samantha x Sex In The City carpaccio face peel. Daily micro peels are a great way to boost cellular turnover and keep skin clear and radiant – and you won’t see a bit of actual “peeling”.

Be sure to look for a peel with two steps: acids and neutralizer like the Alpha Beta Daily Peels. The neutralizer shuts off the acids to eliminate irritation – plus is loaded with anti-aging and soothing ingredients to go beyond just an exfoliator.

If you made it here, you’re obviously serious about adding acids to your skincare routine.

Try one of our at-home 2-step peels, that will help you get smooth, radiant skin in only 2 minutes a day.

Final Verdict 

Don’t believe the rumors – add acids to your skin routine and see the results for yourself. That said, not all acids are created equally. Look for a product that combines AHAs and BHAs at low concentrations, adding up to a meaningful dose of acids. It should also have two steps: an acid step and a neutralizer. The neutralizing shuts off the acids in step one which is key to preventing irritation or over-exfoliation. Our favorite is Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Daily Peels.


Keep Reading

Stay up to date on the latest advice from our team of skincare experts.

Sign up to receive a monthly digest of skincare, wellness, and lifestyle tips.