22 Expert-Approved Exfoliating Acid Products To Try Out

Here's all you need to know about serums, facewashes and more infused with the goodness of AHAs, BHAs and PHAs.

Wedding preparations and the usual bridal running around before the D-day can take a toll on your skincare regime. So, whether you are the bride's bestie or the bride-to-be, self-exfoliating acids such as AHAs, BHAs and PHAs are a must-have in your beauty bag.

"AHAs, BHAs and PHAs are exfoliating acids that when applied, force the skin to self-exfoliate. They also result in glow, rejuvenation and brightening," says Dr Kiran Sethi, celebrity skin and wellness expert, Isya Aesthetics.

Though in the same family, the trio has diverse benefits in the beauty world. However, since they increase photo-sensitivity, you may need to include a heavy-duty sunscreen in your skincare arsenal too.

Which one's for you?

Don't be scared by the 'acid' word. Here is the breakdown of the difference between the exfoliation trio:

AHAs are alpha hydroxy acids but they are water-soluble. So they are more hydrating, and they unglue the skin cells from each other forcing them to exfoliate off. Best used to combat pigmentation, for hydration and also for anti-ageing as they have a collagen-boosting ability. There are many types of AHAs - so their result and precautions depend on which acid it is and what the pH is and how much you apply. The lower the pH and the more application layers - the stronger the peel.

BHAs are oil-soluble, so they can specifically go inside the follicle and exfoliate the junk in the sebum and pores. It is designed more for an anti-acne benefit and is good for unclogging those pores, better for oilier skin.

PHAs are the super-gentle versions of AHAs. They hydrate more and also generally don't penetrate so deeply. They are great for glow, hydration and for sensitive skin types as well.

Well, now that you have picked out the self-exfoliant best suited for your skin, here's help in narrowing down the products. We spoke to skincare experts to find their pick of products. Check it out:

Dr Kiran Sethi, celebrity skin and wellness expert, Isya Aesthetics


"I would suggest looking for serums containing AHAs or PHAs at night for anti-ageing, hydration, glow and anti-pigmentation. If you have acne, look for products with BHA's to be used in the morning or night - such as lotions, serums or even 2% salicylic acid face washes," says Dr Sethi.

Her picks:

For AHAs:

ACGLICOLIC Liposomal Serum


Glyco-6 lotion

FCL AHA Body Lotion


For BHAs:

Clean & Clear Face Wash

Bioderma Pore Refiner

GlamGlow SuperMud Clearing Treatment (has a mix of AHAs and BHAs)


For PHAs:

Neostrata products are based on PHAs such as gluconolactone

Neostrata High Resurface Lotion


Dr Nirupama Parwanda, dermatologist and founder, Zolie Skin Clinic


"AHAs, BHAs and PHAs can be used in the form of face washes or included in night applications in the forms of toners/ serums/ creams. You can use a combination of these too. But, while incorporating such formulations in the skincare routine it is essential to avoid excessive sun exposure and to regularly use sunscreen," says Dr Parwanda.

For AHAs:

AHAglow face wash

Melawash face wash

Glogeous face wash

Pixi Glow Tonic



Glyco 6/12

The Ordinary AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution


For BHAs:

Saslic face wash


AHAglow S facewash

The Ordinary Salicylic Acid Mask

For PHAs:

Blise Face Wash and Cream


Neostrata Restore Bionic Lotion


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