It's Monday and you know what that means, time for another Beauty 101! Today it's all about AHA vs BHA - What do these terms mean? What do they do? Will they work for my skin type? We hear you, and we're here to give you the low down. More often than not, we see terms like this on the sides of our lotions and potions but there's very little explanation as to what they actually mean or do. Doing your research is key when it comes to skincare ingredients to ensure you're using the right product for your skin and are getting the best results, so let's start here. Make a cup of tea, kick back and give yourself ten minutes to relax and learn a little something at the same time.
AHAs and BHAs, what are they?
So, AHAs and BHAs are two types of hydroxy acids, AHA stands for alpha hydroxy acid and BHA stands for beta hydroxy acid. To work efficiently, they must be formulated within a narrow pH range, between 3 and 4. You can generally find AHAs and BHAs in various cleansers, toners, scrubs, peels, masks etc. The purpose of these hydroxy acids is to exfoliate the skin and they work at different levels depending on the concentration of them in your products, for instance, a lower concentration might remove dead skin cell build-up on your skins surface while a higher concentration can work to remove the entire outermost layer. Both are super effective and work pretty similarly in terms of exfoliation, but they do have differences in how they're used.
What's the difference?
AHA: While each product you choose will naturally cater for specific skin issues, generally speaking, you should look out for AHAs in your skincare products if you want to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, improve firmness, brighten dull and uneven skin tones, hydrate the skin and improve its texture. The desired concentration in your AHA product should lie between 10%-15% and should be applied only a few times a week until your skin becomes accustomed to the product. And remember, you're dealing with acid exfoliation here! So, no matter which AHA you choose, you must wear sunscreen afterwards to prevent sun damage to the skin.
BHA: It is true that these two types of hydroxy acids work pretty similarly, however one of the most common BHAs that is found in acne-treating skincare is salicylic acid. Salicylic acid is known to fight bacteria and is fat-soluble which means it's great for oily skin and enhances its ability to penetrate pores. If your skin issues are deep in the skin like cystic acne or even just acne in general, you'll want to lean towards BHA as it will penetrate deep in the skin and work to find the root of the problem. For this reason, everyday use of BHAs is totally acceptable whereas the use of AHAs everyday is generally discouraged, use those products a little more sparingly and you're on to a winner!