AHAs(Alpha Hydroxy Acids) & BHAs (Beta Hydroxy acids) are two chemicals used in skincare for gentle but effective exfoliation, cell turnover & signs of aging. Both of these are very beneficial & are gentle enough to use often in your skincare routine.
Whether you have dry skin, ageing skin or oily acne-prone skin, you will benefit from chemical exfoliation. To see the difference between physical & chemical exfoliation read here. We will first look at AHAs & see who can benefit from those.

Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA) come in forms such as glycolic, citric, lactid, tartaric, mandelic & malic acids that are naturally occurring in fruits, milk & sugar cane and are water-soluble by nature. They are available in varying strengths. AHA, when applied to the skin, causes dried dead skin cells to break up & dissolve. It loosens up substances that keep dead skin skin stuck together in order to reveal bright, fresh skin.  It also softens fine lines & wrinkles, evens out pigmentation & improves the overall texture of the skin. They have also been shown to increase the production of collagen, a substance that gives skin its elasticity & ability to resist wrinkles. Skin tends to lose collagen overtime as it ages so AHA are very beneficial to replace some of this loss. AHA, to an extent, may also help with those who suffer from acne because of its ability to break up top layers of dead skin. AHA’s, however, will make your skin more sensitive to sunlight so an SPF should always be worn during the day.  AHA can be used every two days at first before your skin gets used to the chemical. You can then adjust usage as your skin gets accustomed to the chemical.

AHA should always be followed up by moisturizer as it can cause some dryness and irritation to the skin in some people. AHA’s should always be used only at night time due to sensitivity from the sun that occurs during the day time.

AHA’s are best for persons wanting to combat signs of ageing, people who have dry skin  & those with rough, damaged skin. 

aha and bha

Beta Hydroxy Acid (BHA) also known as salicylic acid is derived from the bark of a willow tree. BHA is a multi functional product for skin care needs & is oil-soluble by nature. They are available in varying strengths, with 2% being the most gentle & recommended percentage. It acts like an exfoliant, toner, anti-inflammatory agent & anti-septic agent. This makes BHA extremely effective in aiding in the relief of acne. It is able to penetrate not just the top layer of dead skin but also sebum in our pores & get deep down to clear away debris, harmful bacteria & oils. BHA helps to get rid of pore clogging, white heads & black hheads to reveal fresh, vibrant skin. It also has the ability to resurface pores & make them appear smaller.

BHA has effectively improved the overall texture of my skin, as well as break up any pigmentation left behind from acne scarring. Black heads & whiteheads are no longer a skin concern of mine since I’ve been using BHA. The change can be seen almost overnight, where texture is concerned. While AHA can cause the skin to be irritated & be more sensitive to sunlight, BHA does the opposite in that it has valuable anti-inflammatory properties that help with swelling & redness with those who suffer from acne. The exfoliation that occurs after using BHA helps products that you apply after this treatment, to penetrate more deeply & effectively. It allows for you to get the best out of your skincare products especially serums & moisturizers.  BHA can be used safely on an everyday basis.

BHA should always be followed up with moisturizer as it can cause dryness & in turn this dryness can lead to increased oil production in the skin. BHA can be both in the day time but more so especially at night time.

BHA (salicylic acid) is best for persons suffering from clogged pores, white heads, black heads, rough skin texture, pigmentation, acne, acne scaring, large pores.

I highly recommend including a chemical exfoliant (whether AHA or BHA) in your skin care routine.

Thanks for reading! x


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