AHA vs BHA Exfoliants: What’s the difference?

Exfoliation is a crucial step in any skincare routine as it helps to prevent breakouts and improve your overall skin health by removing dead skin cells. Chemical exfoliants require minimal effort but offer maximum benefits using gentle acid to dissolve away any dead skin or impurities. They are classified as two types: Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHA) and Beta Hydroxy Acids (BHA), with different uses and outcomes. Read on to discover the difference between the two and which one is right for your skin type.

What are AHA’s?
Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs) work on the top layer of the skin and peel away dead skin cells by loosening the ‘glue’ that holds together the outer layers of your skin. AHA’s are best known for their exfoliating, brightening and anti-aging properties as they help to reveal a healthier layer of skin underneath.
Common types of AHA’s include:
– Glycolic acid
– Lactic acid
– Malic acid
– Citric acid

Recommended products: Purity Clean | Exfoliating cleanser, Benefit Balance | Antioxidant Infused Toning Mist, Defy | Triple Hydroxy Acid Age-Defying Treatment

What are BHA’s?
Beta Hydroxy Acids (BHAs) work on the surface of the skin to soften and dissolve keratin which helps to loosen dead skin cells. Additionally, they penetrate deep into pores helping to regulate healthy cell turnover and shedding. BHA’s have anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties which means they are best suited for skin concerns such as blackheads, blemishes, clogged pores and oily skin.
Common types of BHA’s include:
– Salicylic Acid
– Betaine Salicylate
– Salix alba/will bark extract

Recommended products: Purity Detox Scrub| Multi-layer detoxification system, Purity Balance | Exfoliating prep toner

So, what’s the difference?
The main difference between the two is that AHA’s are water-soluble (dissolve in water) and BHA’s are oil-soluble (dissolve in oil). Neither is necessarily better than the other – it all depends on what you’re looking for in terms of outcomes.

Which one is best for you?
Now that you know the differences between AHAs and BHAs, what does that mean for you and your skin? The general rule we like to follow with chemical exfoliants are:
– Acne = BHA
– Oily = BHA
– Dry = AHA/BHA
– Sensitive = AHA/BHA
– Pigmentation = AHA/BHA

Why not book in a time to see our therapist to have a full skin assessment and find the right mix of products for you. Or book a Video Consult now to discuss your needs online!

Maryanne Amies

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