AHA/BHA: Your Path to Beautiful Skin

by Johnny Jacks
AHA, or Alpha Hydroxy Acid, and BHA, or Beta Hydroxy Acid, are among the most popular exfoliants, renowned for promoting clear and smooth skin. To understand these products better, delve into the article below, exploring their ingredients and learning how to effectively incorporate each type into your skincare routine.

What are AHA/BHA?

What is aha and bha?

What are AHA and BHA? AHA and BHA are currently the most popular exfoliants, known for promoting smooth and bright skin.

AHA/BHA, commonly found in various skincare products like exfoliating creams, toners, and moisturizers, offer exceptional exfoliating benefits, leaving the skin radiant and deeply cleansed.

What is AHA?

AHA, or Alpha Hydroxy Acid, is a water-soluble acid renowned for effectively exfoliating the skin’s surface. Its main ingredients include Glycolic Acid, Lactic Acid, Mandelic Acid, Malic Acid, and Tartaric Acid. AHA’s functions involve the removal of dead skin cells, regeneration of new skin cells, fading of dark spots, and evening out of dull skin tone. Moreover, AHA improves skin moisture, stimulates collagen production, and reduces wrinkles, promoting plumper skin.

What is BHA?

BHA, or Beta Hydroxy Acid, possesses oil-soluble properties and gently purifies and cleanses the skin. The most common BHA is Salicylic Acid. BHA effectively controls oil, penetrates pores to eliminate dead cells, sebum, and acne. It addresses pore inflammation, tightens pores, and ensures clarity. Furthermore, BHA exhibits anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties, making it suitable for acne-prone skin.

How do AHAs and BHAs work?

It is not advisable to use AHA and BHA simultaneously on the skin. Dermatologists recommend using one in the morning and the other in the evening or thoroughly alternating their use. AHAs are recommended for dry areas, while BHAs are suitable for oily areas.

AHAs exfoliate the skin’s surface, especially beneficial for dry skin due to its hydrating properties and ability to stimulate collagen production. Active AHAs effectively cleanse the skin, aiding in the removal of damaged cells, resulting in a more radiant, even skin tone and anti-aging benefits.

BHA cleanses the skin’s surface and deep within the pores, primarily due to the active ingredient salicylic acid’s ability to dissolve in oil. It effectively addresses issues such as clogged pores and dermatitis, making it suitable for oily, acne-prone, and sensitive skin, reducing irritation and redness caused by acne.

Guidelines for Proper AHA and BHA Usage

Using AHA/BHA is a simple process; just follow the routine of cleansing, moisturizing, and applying sunscreen for beautifully glowing skin. AHA or BHA should be used immediately after cleansing, followed by other skincare and protection steps.

Specifically: Cleanse your face – apply AHA/BHA exfoliator – use lotion/toner – apply lotion – apply sunscreen.

Where to Find AHAs and BHAs

Although AHAs and BHAs share similarities, they are found in different sources. AHAs can be found in:

  • Glycolic acid from sugar cane
  • Lactic acid from milk
  • Mandelic acid from bitter almonds
  • Tartaric Acid from grapes
  • Malic Acid from apples and pears
  • Citric acid from citrus trees

BHA, on the other hand, can be found in:

  • Salicylic Acid: Derived from willow and other plants
  • Citric acid from citrus trees, indicating that AHA or BHA can be found in a tree from this family, depending on its formula.

Important Notes for Beginners Using AHA and BHA-containing Products

Adhering to the guidelines for using AHA/BHA not only enhances skin beauty but also protects the skin from irritation.

  • New users should start with low-concentration cosmetics to allow the skin to acclimate to the acid.
  • Use only 1-2 times a week initially, increasing frequency as your skin adjusts, depending on your needs.
  • Follow the correct procedure for using chemical exfoliants containing AHA/BHA.
  • For toners containing AHA/BHA, limit use to no more than 2 times per day to avoid dry skin.
  • For serums containing AHA or BHA, ensure the serum fully absorbs into the skin before continuing with other products like cream, eye cream, or sunscreen.
  • Avoid using AHA/BHA around the eyes and eyelids.
  • Always use sunscreen when going out to protect the thin and sensitive skin treated with AHA/BHA or retinol. Neglecting sunscreen can result in dull, dark skin and immediate skin pigmentation.
  • If you are using other products like renova or retinoids, consult your doctor before incorporating AHA/BHA into your routine.

Can AHAs and BHAs be Used Together?

Have you ever pondered the possibility of using a combination of AHA and BHA and, if so, the effective way to combine AHA/BHA? While these two acids share similar mechanisms of action and effects, they cannot be used simultaneously due to their potentially strong impact on the skin, leading to adverse consequences. However, it is possible to use a combination of AHA and BHA in a reasonable manner. Rather than using them at the same time, it is advisable to use them alternately to determine which product is more suitable for your skin. A recommended approach is to use one in the morning and the other in the evening, or to alternate their use on different days of the week.

For individuals with combination skin, a pertinent suggestion is to use BHA for the oily T-zone and AHA for the dry skin on both cheeks.

5 Best AHA-BHA Creams Available

  • Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 8% AHA Gel Exfoliant: Renowned for its gentle exfoliation, this gel effectively brightens the skin while minimizing pores.
  • The Ordinary AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution: Known for its potent formula, this solution targets various skin concerns, including acne and uneven texture, leaving behind a radiant complexion.
  • Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Framboos Glycolic Resurfacing Night Serum: This powerful serum boasts a blend of AHAs and BHAs, working overnight to refine skin texture and promote a youthful glow.
  • COSRX AHA/BHA Clarifying Treatment Toner: Recognized for its mild exfoliation, this toner balances the skin’s pH level while effectively removing dead skin cells, revealing a smoother complexion.
  • Farmacy Honeymoon Glow AHA Resurfacing Night Serum: This serum is celebrated for its gentle yet effective exfoliation, promoting a radiant and even skin tone while diminishing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

AHA-BHA related questions

Knowing what AHA/BHA’s properties, composition, and skin effects are will help you have enough information to choose the right product according to your skin needs. Follow Dep365 every day to pocket more useful beauty information!

Can AHA-BHA Treat Acne?

AHA-BHA is a chemical exfoliant that effectively removes dead skin cells clogging pores. Consequently, open pores lead to reduced acne and a brighter complexion. AHA-BHA products are highly beneficial for acne treatment.

Distinguishing between skin purging and irritation (breakout) caused by AHA and BHA:

  • Purging: Occurs when active ingredients stimulate acne beneath the skin, causing it to surface. Purging is characterized by the emergence of acne that is easily extracted.
  • Irritation (Breakout): Manifests as inflammatory or cystic acne, often accompanied by a burning sensation, which does not improve even after using the product for a few days.

Should AHA/BHA and retinol be used together in a skincare routine?

It is not advisable. These are all potent active ingredients, and using them together can lead to skin irritation, particularly for those with sensitive skin. Recovery time may be prolonged. Therefore, it is recommended to use them on alternate days to ensure effectiveness.

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