Acid trip

Dropping a little acid into your at-home skincare routine may be the secret to total transformation.

When it comes to skincare, acids tend to have a bad reputation. But the truth is, chemical exfoliators (the opposite of the grainy scrub you don’t think twice about reaching for) are gentle enough to be used on every skin type, plus solve a slew of skincare issues. "Chemical peels loosen the 'glue' that binds dead skin cells to the skin's surface, so they can actually be less abrasive than scrubs," says David Bank, MD, assistant clinical professor of dermatology at Columbia-Presbyterian Hospital in New York City. "Plus, they trick the skin into producing brand new, healthy skin cells to replace those that are wiped away."

Derms have long been using supercharged in-office peels to treat acne, brown spots and even wrinkles, but now almost every MD pushes the DIY option. "The percentages of active ingredients in at-home versions are lower than the pro formulas, so you’re not going to over do it," Dr. Bank explains, but it might take some time to see results. "The benefits of an at-home kit might not be as immediate as an in-office treatment — but they’re great for maintaining the results from a pro version between visits or if you just want to give skin an instant pick-me-up."

Get addicted to great skin: Click through the slideshow above to choose the acid-cocktail that's right for you.

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