AHA or BHA that is the question!

January 15, 2022 3 min read

AHA or BHA that is the question!

What's the Difference Between Aha and Bha?

When you're looking to achieve younger-looking skin, you might hear some unfamiliar terms thrown around -- alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) and beta hydroxy acids (BHAs). Both AHAs and BHAs fall under the category of exfoliants, which remove dead skin cells from the surface of your skin, but their purposes are distinct from one another. While both AHAs and BHAs can have powerful effects on your skin's appearance, it's important to know the difference between them if you want to get the most out of your skincare routine.

The Health Benefits of AHAs
Alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) are a major category of skin care ingredients that have been used for decades to improve wrinkles, texture, pore size, and sun damage. AHAs are naturally occurring fruit acids that exfoliate dead skin cells, which may boost hydration levels by improving skin cell turnover. And research suggests that certain AHAs—glycolic acid in particular—may decrease pore size and improve tone. You can find AHAs in our Enzyme Gel Cleanser, Redefining Moisturiser, Green Olive Clay Mask, Redefining Scrub and our Vitamin C Serum.

The Health Benefits of BHAs
There’s plenty of research to back up what many skin care companies are saying about betaine hydroxy acid (BHA), that it can boost your complexion by removing built-up dead skin cells, reducing pore size, preventing acne breakouts, fighting fine lines and wrinkles—even lightening brown spots. It’s also thought to regulate oil production so that you don’t overproduce oil when you put on heavy moisturizers or serums containing other ingredients that might cause a breakout. You can find BHAs in our Probiotic Moisturising Lotion.

When to Use AHAs or BHAs
Both AHAs and BHAs have benefits when it comes to skin care. However, how often you should use each is dependent on your skincare goals. If you’re looking for a quick fix, use an AHA—which has a smaller molecular structure than a BHA—twice a week. If you’re trying to fight wrinkles, acne or hyperpigmentation, go with a nightly application of either ingredient instead.

Ingredients in AHAs, BHAs, or Both
Alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) remove dead skin cells to reveal newer, healthier skin underneath. They are commonly derived from natural sources like sugar cane, milk, pineapple, etc. These ingredients can also be synthetically made in a lab. The most common AHAs used in skincare include glycolic acid, lactic acid, malic acid, citric acid and tartaric acid. L-ascorbic acid is an example of a vitamin C derivative that serves as an exfoliant. Beta hydroxy acids (BHAs) are frequently included in acne products because they work well at penetrating pores to clear out oil and debris on a microscopic level. Common BHAs found in skincare products include salicylic acid, mandelic acid, resorcinol, pyruvic acid, etc. Salicylic acid works especially well for acne prone skin types because it loosens blackheads without drying out your face. It’s actually possible to use both AHAs and BHAs together, but consult with a skin specialist first before combining them.

Side Effects & Precautions
While a safe and effective acne treatment, it is crucial to use AHA or BHA with caution. Using too much can cause skin dryness, redness, stinging or irritation. If you notice any of these symptoms, discontinue use of your treatment until your skin returns to normal. Additionally, you may experience some minor flaking or peeling during initial use; do not be alarmed as some people are more sensitive than others and require a few days for skin to adjust before noticing a dramatic improvement in their complexion.

Using the right ingredients can help you to achieve your skin goals sooner. Some of our products use AHA's or BHA's including our enzyme range and our serums. 

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