In the industry that I currently work in, I get alot of questions regarding AHA’s & BHA’s. If you are one of the confused people or if you don’t know what either of these are, then this is the right post for you.As some of you may know, I have worked in the beauty and skincare industry for about 8 years now. I’ve learned alot over the years and I’m always questioned about product suggestions and the functionality of most of them. One reoccurring question as of late has been what’s the difference between AHA’s & BHA’s.Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHA’s) are acids that can be derived from natural or synthetic substances. Most commonly derived from Sugars. They work by exfoliating the outer most layer of the skin to aid the skin’s natural shedding process. AHA’s are made up of tiny molecules of water soluble acids (water loving). AHAs are preferred for sun-damaged and dry skin because they exfoliate the skin’s surface and have the added benefits of improving moisture absorption. The benefits of using an AHA are smoothing the skin, its brightening properties and the targeting of fine lines. These acids help with anti-aging and overall skin texture and clarity.Alpha Hydroxy Acids:
Glycolic acid: derived from sugar cane
Lactic acid: derived from milk
Mandelic acid: derived from bitter almonds
Tartaric acid: derived from grapes
Malic acid: derived from apples and pears
Citric acid: derived from citrus fruits
Some of my favorite products:
Now, Let’s get into BHA’S.Beta Hydroxy Acids (BHA) are oil soluble (oil loving) acids. BHAs are preferred for oily skin types. They help in treating blackheads and whiteheads. They can get through the oil that clogs pores and help to normalize the lining of the pore that contributes to acne. BHA’s have been known to control oil production. BHA’s also have anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties.
Beta Hydroxy Acids:
Salicylic acid: derived from the Willow Bark Tree and others.
Citric acid: derived from citrus fruits and considered a cross over acid. It can be an AHA or a BHA depending on its formulation.
Some of my favorite products:
These products are a mixture of AHA’s & BHA’s.
Disclaimer: It is strongly recommended to use sunscreen when using any of the above acids. Exfoliants can make skin photosensitive [having a chemical, electrical, or other response to light] so a broad-spectrum SPF will help protect your skin.
Disclaimer: It is important to note that most of these acids are derived synthetically. This is to aid in the stability of the acid and allow for use for those with allergies to natural substances. It also helps to control the strength of the acids.
Exfoliation is definitely needed in your skincare routine. Proper exfoliation removes the barrier of dead skin cells clogging the skin. It also uncovers fresh new cells. This opens the way for moisturizers and moisturizing serums to penetrate more deeply into the skin which, of course, makes them more effective. In short, a regular exfoliating regimen will leave your skin looking fresh and healthy. Exfoliation should not exceed 2 times a week and 3 for more oilier acneic skin. If you are unsure about frequency or specifics, please consult a professional.