We’re not going to deny that there’s a whole lot of beauty jargon constantly circulating amongst the beauty hemisphere. In recent times, acids have risen to be a hot, buzzy topic, so you might not be a stranger to terms like AHAs (alpha-hydroxy acids) and BHAs (beta-hydroxy acids). We’re also not going to deny that it may be a tad bit difficult to navigate and decipher these big argots.

Which is why we’ve taken it upon ourselves to decrypt these head-scratching terms – with a special focus on glycolic acid in this piece. Falling under AHAs, glycolic acids – like all types of AHAs – works to slough away dead skin cells, stimulate cell turnover on the surface of the skin and lighten pigmentation and uneven skin tone. Think of it as the acid that will give you perfect skin, if used right.

Overusing glycolic acids – or any other acid – can leave the skin red, raw, dry, sensitive or even burnt. Photosensitivity, thinning of the skin, risk of pigmentation are possible adverse side effects as well. If you’re just getting started on glycolic acids, ease into it by using products that have it in relatively low concentrations, say five per cent, or a cleanser that has glycolic acid. When your skin gets accustomed to it, up the ante by slowly transitioning into toners, then peels.

It’s also wise to steer clear of overloading and overstimulating your skin with too many active ingredients as once. As a general rule of thumb, let the glycolic acid be the centre of attention on days where you’re using it, which should be every other day. Leave the other active ingredients such as retinol or vitamin C for the other days.