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10 effective skincare products that use exfoliating acids to reduce acne and make your skin clearer, softer, and more even

AHA: AHA 7 Whitehead Power Liquid

AHA: AHA 7 Whitehead Power Liquid
COSRX AHA 7 Whitehead Power Liquid, available on Amazon, $14.95

COSRX, the skincare brand best-known for the Pimple Master Patch (though we suggest trying Mighty Patch), also has an AHA liquid formulated to resurface the skin and renew the complexion while reducing those surface-level whiteheads we're all too familiar with.

This serum contains 7% glycolic acid and fruit water to gently exfoliate the skin, prevent breakouts, and brighten skin tone. The company recommends using COSRX chemical exfoliators with cotton pads for the best results.

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AHA: Botanical Body Soap

AHA: Botanical Body Soap
Mario Badescu A.H.A. Botanical Body Soap, available on Amazon and Ulta, $14

Mario Badescu, arguably best known for its Drying Lotion (another go-to acne weapon for us), also makes an AHA-filled body soap.

Papaya and grapefruit extracts break down dead skin cells to be replaced with newly smooth and soft skin. Ginseng extract rejuvenates, and oat protein soothes sensitive or irritated areas.

If you're looking for a way to regularly combat body acne and thoroughly clean the buildup on your skin, this is a great option to add to your shower lineup.

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BHA: Medicated Acne Pads

BHA: Medicated Acne Pads
Stri-Dex Medicated Pads, Maximum Strength, 90-Count Containers, available on Walmart for $3.79

An old-school favorite and drugstore hero, Stri-Dex Medicated Pads are an inexpensive way to get your dose of BHA in the form of Salicylic Acid.

These work best for targeting existing pimples and blackheads, and they're strong; Stri-Dex pads contain the highest level of Salicylic Acid you can get without a prescription (2%). Formulas are entirely alcohol-free, however, so the cleansing process forgoes the characteristic burn of alcohol.

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BHA: Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Salicylic Acid Exfoliant

BHA: Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Salicylic Acid Exfoliant
Paula's Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Salicylic Acid Exfoliant, available on Amazon, $28.03

Paula's Choice is another popular name in the BHA, AHA world. One of their most popular products, the Skin Perfecting 2% BHA exfoliant works to unclog deep pores, blur wrinkles, and improve skin tone.

It's meant to be used as a leave-on exfoliant, applied twice daily after cleansing and toning. The benefit to using a BHA leave-on rather than your face scrub is that it's a) less abrasive and b) penetrates deep inside the pore and actually improves the structure and process of the pore itself, making your skin's health more sustainable.

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AHA/BHA: Alpha Beta Extra Strength Daily Peel

AHA/BHA: Alpha Beta Extra Strength Daily Peel
Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Alpha Beta Extra Strength Daily Peel, available on Amazon and Sephora, $85 - $88

This Daily Peel is an anti-aging, extra-strength peel that combats everything from dullness and uneven texture to fine lines, acne, and large pores. It has inspired legions of enthusiasts, including one Insider Picks editor.

The patented two-step formula contains seven acids and comes in two steps: the first for powerful exfoliating acids, and the second contains AHA for anti-aging, tone-evening, and nourishment. All of this ultimately leaves the skin looking refreshed, clearer, and more even.

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AHA/BHA: AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser

AHA/BHA: AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser
MURAD AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser, available on Amazon and Sephora, $39

MURAD's exfoliator is a highly active cleanser with a trio of exfoliating acids and jojoba skin-polishing beads to revitalize skin. While the acids slough off dead skin cells and grime, the moisturizing agent sodium PCA attracts water to the skin to help it retain the plumpness and elasticity needed to function as a strong, healthy barrier.

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AHA/BHA: Blue Tansy Resurfacing Face Mask

AHA/BHA: Blue Tansy Resurfacing Face Mask
HERBIVORE Blue Tansy AHA + BHA Resurfacing Clarity Mask, available on Amazon and Sephora, $48

HERBIVORE's cult-favorite Resurfacing Clarity Mask is a mix of truly natural ingredients that makes for one clarifying and cooling gel face mask. It contains white willow bark (natural BHA), fruit enzymes (natural AHA), and blue tansy to gently exfoliate, smooth, and resurface the skin.

The star ingredient — blue tansy oil — is naturally high in azulene and a powerful anti-inflammatory that soothes irritated skin and reduces redness.

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AHA/BHA: T.L.C. Sukari Babyfacial

AHA/BHA: T.L.C. Sukari Babyfacial
Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Sukari Babyfacial, available on Amazon and Sephora, $80

Drunk Elephant's T.L.C. Sukari Babyfacial is essentially a professional at-home facial that you can do in 20 minutes. It was a runaway success, earning plenty of buzz online and a glowing “Best of Beauty” award from Allure in 2017.

The T.L.C contains high concentrations of AHA (25%) and BHA (2%), plus Drunk Elephant's "dream team blend" of glycolic, tartaric, lactic, citric, and salicylic acids. Altogether, it gently but efficiently resurfaces the skin to reveal much more even and smooth skin underneath.

Powerful antioxidants like matcha, apple fruit, and milk thistle calm and hydrate, and non-fragrant plant oils replenish moisture and nourish the new layer of skin cells. Chickpea flour brightens and balances the skin without over-drying, and pumpkin ferment bumps up enzymatic action. Niacinamide, also known as Vitamin B3 or niacin, is a "cell-communicating" ingredient that's included to brighten and tone skin for a healthier look and feel.

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AHA/BHA: Honeymoon Glow AHA Resurfacing Night Serum

AHA/BHA: Honeymoon Glow AHA Resurfacing Night Serum
FARMACY Honeymoon Glow AHA Resurfacing Night Serum with Echinacea GreenEnvy, available on Sephora, $58

FARMACY is another brand we swear by in our own lives, and its new powerful night serum is already making waves at Sephora.

The Honeymoon Glow is a multi-correctional serum, resurfacing skin and reducing the look of pores and fine lines. It's formulated with a 14% AHA/BHA/gentle flower acid blend to exfoliate dead skin and pores, and uses both honey and Echinacea GreenEnvy for intense hydration.

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AHA/BHA: Peeling Solution AHA 30% + BHA 2%

AHA/BHA: Peeling Solution AHA 30% + BHA 2%
The Ordinary Peeling Solution AHA 30% + BHA 2%, available on Amazon, $14.19

The Ordinary Peeling Solution is an inexpensive AHA/BHA option that acts like a 10-minute exfoliating facial.

It contains a relatively high amount of AHA (30%) to exfoliate the skin's topmost surface and BHA (2%) to clear congested pores. The Peeling Solution also includes Tasmanian Pepperberry to help reduce irritation, Vitamin B5 to assist healing, and black carrot as an antioxidant.

Since the 10-minute Peeling Solution is strong, limit your usage to no more than two times per week. The company only recommends it for seasoned users of acid exfoliation, and it shouldn't be used on sensitive skin.

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