What is the difference between AHA and BHA exfoliants?
Alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) and beta-hydroxy acids (BHAs) are chemical exfoliants. These work to remove dead skin cells and unclog pores, revealing fresher skin cells for a more youthful look.
Here are Renee Lapino Skincare Clinic, we explain the differences between both AHA and BHA exfoliants…
Alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs)
AHAs are water based and remove surface epidermal cells. The list of AHAs includes fruit enzymes, lactic acid, and glycolic acid, which are great for improving the moisture content of the skin and stimulating collagen production.
Beta-hydroxy acids (BHAs)
BHAs are oil based. The list of BHAs is not as extensive as AHAs but the major players include salicylic acid and citric acid. BHAs penetrate inside the pore and digest the oil & debris. They are great for fighting bacteria and reducing inflammation.
Should I use an AHA, BHA or both?
AHAs and BHAs can be used together, but only use a maximum of two AHAs or BHAs in each of your routines, whether it is AM or PM. Acids can frequently be found in your cleanser and toner, so streamlining your skincare products will prevent you from irritating your skin.
AHAs are imperative for dry and aging skin, as they target hyperpigmentation and fine lines. BHAs are especially useful for those with oily skin, as they deep clean pores, tighten pores, and reduce breakout – but both are beneficial when used in moderation.
With AHAs and BHAs, less is more
As chemical exfoliants promote new healthy skin cell growth, it is critical that you wear SPF every day to prevent inflammation and sun damage. Overuse of AHAs and BHAs can lead to dryness, redness, and irritation so it is best to remember not to use more than two acid containing products per routine. With acids, less is more.
If you want to remember how penetrative each acid is, remember water is lighter than oil, and A (as in water-based AHA) comes before B (for oil-based BHA).
Overuse of AHAs and BHAs can lead to dryness and irritation so it is best to use on alternating days. Less is truly more.
If you want to remember how penetrative each acid is, remember water is lighter than oil & A comes before B.