What Are AHAs and BHAs

What Are AHAs and BHAs

As you browse through skincare products, you’ll come across the terms AHA and BHA quite a bit, but what are AHAs and BHAs? Both of these ingredients in skincare can provide you with several benefits, but it’s important to understand the difference so that you can choose the right product to meet your needs. 

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What Are AHAs


AHA stands for alpha hydroxy acid. AHAs are water-soluble and work wonderfully for removing dead skin from the surface of the skin. Because of that, they are frequently found in face masks and exfoliants. 

AHAs do make your skin more sensitive to the harmful effects of the sun. It’s important to wear sunscreen when using these products. 

AHA Examples

Glycolic acid is the most commonly used AHA. It’s found in various concentrations in most skin care products that are designed to treat skin concerns through serious exfoliation. It’s found in toners, facial peels, dermabrasion treatments, and many other products. 

Lactic acid is another AHA found in skincare products. It’s made from the lactose in milk, so that you can find it in most milk products, such as cleansers and facial peels. 

Benefits Of AHA’s

AHA’s are found in lower concentrations in a lot of over-the-counter skincare products. They have been tested in laboratories to prove that they are both effective and safe. There are so many benefits to AHAs that it’s hard to resist this skincare craze. 

AHAs are known for increasing collagen production, giving them a huge advantage over BHAs when it comes to anti-aging. Collagen production naturally decreases as we age, resulting in fine lines and wrinkles. When you use AHAs, you slowly start to notice that your skin appears plump and youthful again. If you have yet to develop fine lines and wrinkles, AHAs can help prevent them. 

The anti-inflammatory properties in AHAs can help instantly improve your skin. If you have hyperpigmentation due to inflammation, you’ll slowly see the redness start to calm down. This ingredient can also help with dull skin and uneven skin texture to give you a radiant glow without having to use a highlighter. 

How To Use AHAs

It’s important to start off using AHAs slowly. It takes some time for your skin to get used to them. Try using them every other day or every few days in the beginning. You can slowly work up to using them every day. This is the best way to prevent irritation. 

What Are BHAs

111 Skin

BHA stands for beta hydroxy acid. BHAs are oil soluble. This allows them to dig deeper into pores below the surface of the skin to clean out pores, eliminate excess oil (sebum), and remove dead skin cells. These are found in all skincare products but are particularly popular in cleansers. 

BHA’s can make your skin sensitive to the sun, but not as much as AHA’s do. However, you should still wear sunscreen every day. 

Examples Of BHAs

BHA’s are often referred to by their name in skincare products. They’re typically found in products that are designed to treat acne and other skin conditions. 

Salicylic acid is one of the most common BHAs. It remains one of the most well-known treatments for acne, making it a key ingredient in most products that are designed to treat acne. You can find this ingredient in a variety of skincare products, but it is most common in facial cleansers. 

Benefits Of BHAs

BHAs work in a similar manner to AHAs: by exfoliating and cleaning your skin while providing a slew of other benefits. These are great for anti-aging treatments and for people with acne-prone skin. 

The anti-aging benefits of BHAs are usually less than you will see with AHAs, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t work. BHAs can help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles by boosting the production of collagen. You’ll enjoy noticeable firmer and tighter skin. 

The anti-acne benefits of BHAs are where they truly outshine the competition. BHAs are known for helping to clear excess sebum out of pores. They have the power to go deep beyond the surface of the skin for an impact that lasts. BHAs can also help reduce inflammation, a common side effect of having acne. 

How To Use BHAs

If you have sensitive skin or experience irritation, it can be helpful to only use BHAs once per week. Then, slowly increase the amount of time that you use BHAs to use them every other day. Don’t forget to wear sunscreen daily!

AHA vs BHA: Which One Should You Use?

Face exfoliator

Both AHA and BHA are found in everything from serums to masks and exfoliants. Your facial cleanser probably has one or the other too! Both of these acids have several benefits in common. They can both:

  • Even skin tone to reduce hyperpigmentation
  • Unclog pores
  • Minimize the appearance of large pores
  • Remove dead skin cells
  • Smooth the texture of your skin

However, one usually outshines the other in certain areas. AHA tends to work better for surface problems, such as the appearance of enlarged pores and wrinkles. They are a great option if you would like an anti-aging treatment.  BHA products are better for people with skin damage from the sun, acne, or other deeply rooted problems that often lie beneath the surface of the skin. 

It is possible to use both, but this can dry out your skin. You can use both in low concentrations, use a product with both of them in it, or use them on alternating days to enjoy the benefits without having dry, irritated skin. 


Are BHA and salicylic acid the same

Salicylic acid is a type of BHA, so you’ll want to follow the same recommendations that you would for using other BHAs. A great way to look at this is to compare it to a food group. An apple is a type of fruit, but it is not the only fruit. BHA is used to describe various BHAs, including salicylic acid. 

What does AHA mean in skincare

AHA stands for alpha hydroxy acid. This is an ingredient found in many skincare products, particularly anti-aging treatments, exfoliants, and cleansers. AHAs make your skin more sensitive to sunlight, so you should always wear sunscreen when using them. 

What is hydroxy acid

Hydroxy acid in skincare is also referred to as alpha hydroxy acid or AHAs. AHAs are a group of acids that are naturally found in fruit, milk, and sugar. People use them to increase collagen production, decrease the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, and for an even skin texture. 

In Conclusion

AHAs and BHAs are both skincare ingredients that are used to treat common skincare conditions, such as fine lines, wrinkles, enlarged pores, acne, hyperpigmentation, and many more. Understanding the main differences between the two can help you ensure that you’re using the perfect product to meet your needs. Learn more about the ingredients in your favorite skincare products here. 

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