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What Is Bha In Skin Care

Can You Use Ahas And Bhas Together

BHA skin care product review| Dr Dray

It is seen that if both AHA and BHA are used together, then they can be highly effective due to increased collagen synthesis, which can make the dermis and epidermis plumper.

But, since both of these are strong exfoliating agents, they can cause a lot of dryness and irritation depending upon the skin type. So, consult the dermatologist before using such products.

Best Intensive Aha: The Inkey List Glycolic Acid Toner

The Inkey List Glycolic Acid Toner

The Inkey List Glycolic Acid Toner is a 10% glycolic acid toner that exfoliates surface dead skin cells to improve everything from dullness and rough texture to large pores and fine lines. Since it has a high concentration of the active ingredient, at a low pH level, its only meant to be used a few times a weeknot daily.

What Doctors Say You Need To Know About Bhas

When your face feels greasy and your pores become congested, you can remove gunk and control oil by incorporating beta hydroxy acids, or BHAs, into your daily skin care routine. But what exactly are BHAs? And which BHA skin care products should you get?

We asked board-certified dermatologists all about BHAs, their benefits and limitations and how they compare to alpha hydroxy acids, or AHAs. In addition to sharing expert-recommended products, we followed their guidance to gather a few top-rated BHA items that are commonly available.

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Best Aha And Bha Face Masks And Peels:

Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Sukari Babyfacial


This resurfacing face mask has a cult following, and for good reason. As the product name alludes, it will give you baby-smooth skin with continued use. Yes, really. Plus, it works to smooth out uneven skin tone, fine lines, and wrinkles. Leave it on for 20 minutes and use once a week for best results. Even better? Use the Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Framboos Glycolic Night Serum for daily upkeep.

The Ordinary AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution


This exfoliating mask will help keep breakouts under control, and at such an affordable price, its such a steal. It combines glycolic, lactic, and salicylic acid, has a 4.5 star-rating from over 1,000 reviewers, and went viral on TikTok, too. To use, apply a thin layer onto clean skin and leave it on for 10 minutes before washing off with lukewarm water. For best results, use twice a week.

Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Extra Strength Daily Peel


Derma E Overnight Peel

Clean beauty lovers will love this overnight peel that uses fruit acids and 5% AHAs to diminish age spots and blemishes like a pro.

Which Skin Types Are Best Suited To Ahas

BHA Serum Clarity Booster  Regarding Skin

AHAs are effective for skin that is suffering with dryness, flakiness or dullness. Once dead cells are removed by AHAs, like glycolic acid, any moisturising products applied on top can penetrate the skin more easily so they can actually help enhance the effects of your other skincare products. They are also very helpful for targeting signs of ageing, such as fine lines and early wrinkles.

AHAs are well tolerated on most skin types but if you suffer with very sensitive skin you should seek the advice of your cosmetic doctor or dermatologist before using them. For more sensitive skin or for people new to AHAs, I suggest the use of lactic acid, which is a more gentle AHA that results in a milder exfoliation. Individuals with dark skin can occasionally react to AHAs with a paradoxical darkening of their skin so in these cases, AHAs should be used with caution and on medical advice.

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Best Aha And Bha Toners:

COSRX AHA/BHA Clarifying Treatment Toner


We love a convenient skincare product, and this toning mist is everything our face needs right now. This exfoliating liquid uses AHA and BHA acids to keep your skin acne-freejust spritz throughout the day!

Summer Fridays Soft Reset

As the name suggests, this toner helps set the refresh button on dull, tired skin. Using a concentrated 16% AHAs, this powerhouse product brightens, exfoliates, and softens your skin. We were so impressed by it that we gave it a 2021 Beauty Crush Award. I applied this at night and woke up to my face feeling so smoothI couldnt stop touching it, reported one tester for the awards. Were sold.

Versed Weekend Glow Daily Brightening Solution


The formula includes exfoliating azelaic acid, renewing AHA, brightening vitamin C, toning kojic acid, and bearberry extract to help fade dark spots. Its a great option for someone with sensitive skin that has a dull complexion or post-acne scars, like mine, noted an HG tester for our annual Beauty Crush Awards.

What Happens To Your Skin If You Irritate It

Topical acids should never be overused. As these products are becoming more and more popular I have noticed that some patients are over-exfoliating using too much and too frequently. The signs of overuse include irritation, burning, or peeling redness and inflammation or wax-like skin texture.

You should always check the ingredients in the rest of your skincare routine, especially retinols and antioxidants like vitamin C, which should be avoided immediately after topical acids. It is always best to allow your skin to completely absorb one ingredient at a time to reduce the risk of over stimulation and any adverse reactions.

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What Are The Differences Between Them

AHA and BHA differ in the following ways:

AHAs are less aggressive and more moisturizing or hydrating than BHAs.

AHAs can be used on all skin types, while BHAs are best for oily and acne-prone skin.

BHAs are better at dissolving oil and clearing out pores, while AHAs are better at exfoliating the skin and reducing hyperpigmentation.

How Many Types Of Ahas Are Used In Skincare Products

Which BHA / salicylic acid exfoliator is best for you?

AHAs come in many different forms, and there are 9 different types that you can find in skincare products. The most common AHAs used in skincare are glycolic acid, lactic acid, and citric acid.

Other less common AHAs include malic acid, tartaric acid, mandelic acid, hydroxycaproic acid , hydroxycaprylic acid , and malic acid. Each type of AHA has its own unique benefits for the skin.

For example

Glycolic acid is the smallest AHA molecule, so it penetrates the skin more deeply than other AHAs. This makes it an excellent choice for those with dull, dry skin, as well as hyperpigmented skin.

Lactic acid, on the other hand, is larger than glycolic acid, so it doesnt penetrate as deeply. This makes it a better choice for those with sensitive skin.

Citric acid is a good all-around AHA that can be used on all skin types.

Mandelic acid is the largest AHA molecule, so its the least likely to cause irritation. This makes it a good choice for those with sensitive skin.

Tartaric acid is a good choice for those with acne-prone skin, as it has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.

Hydroxycaproic acid and hydroxycaprylic acid are good choices for those with dry skin and fine lines or wrinkles, as they help to hydrate and plump the skin.

Malic acid is a good choice for those with sun-damaged, dry, and dull skin, as it helps to brighten, hydrate and exfoliate the skin. It works better by making other AHAs more effective.

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What Are Hydroxy Acids And Why Do We Use Them

AHAs, BHAs and PHAs are widely used liquid exfoliants in skincare formulations targeting acne and designed to reduce the visible signs of ageing. In essence, they all work through exfoliation desquamation of the top layers of the epidermis, thereby speeding up skin cell renewal to resurface the skin. Among a range of outcomes, AHAs were found to promote softer, smoother skin, fade wrinkles, lighten age spots and decrease blemishes .

Beauty consumers these days have had to become familiar with acronyms for various high-performance and active cosmetic ingredients, but may not know what lies behind them, nor how certain enzymes and acids perform on the skin. As natural formulators, we need to dig deep into the science of these trending ingredients that have crossed over from salons to consumer beauty to ensure we add them to our formulations correctly, at the recommended safe usage level, and with clear purpose so we create desired outcomes from the use of our products.

In this guide, we take you on a brief tour of AHAs vs BHAs as well as mention their close relation PHAs. We cover the main differences, uses and safety precautions of these liquid exfoliants. Taken together, they form a topic we advise you to research further if intending to use them in your formulations. As we will see, these short acronyms hide powerful and effective ingredients.

What Is Bha In Skin Care

When glycolic acid was first introduced in the early 1990s, it revolutionized skincare. Being the most active from the group of alpha-hydroxy acids , it was the first one to incorporate in cosmetic formulas, allowing everyone to use it at home and offering impressive results in the removal of dead cells with the benefit of an unprecedented smooth and clean skin. It was later discovered that glycolic acid had equally spectacular effects on collagen production.

A few years later, cosmetologists bring to the surface the salicylic acid of the beta-hydroxy acid group, highlighting the ideal ingredient against sebum production in the skin pores, acting as an active anti-inflammatory against acne, redness, and irritation.

Both of these acids, glycolic and salicylic, are still an unbeatable duo against skin aging and skin damage. In what follows, you will learn everything about BHA: The catalyst of your skincare!

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How To Use Bhas

BHAs are also designed for daily use, but you may need to apply a few times per week at first until your skin gets accustomed to them. Although BHAs dont make your skin as sensitive to the sun compared to AHAs, you should still wear sunscreen every single day. This will help prevent further sun damage.

Option : Layering Vitamin C + Aha/bha Together


Acids can enhance the potency of vitamin C. If your skin can tolerate them, it’s possible to use acids at the exact same time as vitamin C. That “acids destabilize vitamin C” appears to be one of these things that is repeated all the time, but is not precisely true. I’ve not found any evidence that layering two pH-compatible products would render either one unsuccessful–in actuality, quite the opposite!

Employing an acid right before your vitamin C could actually ENHANCE your results. Here is why:

Antioxidants help prep the skin to get much better absorption of active ingredients, such as vitamin C. By removing barrier-forming dead cells, you increase the rate of penetration. AHAs and BHAs make the skin more acidic . According to studies, the active form of vitamin C, L-ascorbic acid, has been found to soak up best at a very low pH. Put simply, an acid may create the perfect conditions for the vitamin C to be effective. The catch? You have to be familiarized with the pH of your products!

How to layer AHA and Vitamin C? AHAs, BHAs, or Vitamin C, which one should I apply first?

How long should I wait between layers?

In case your vitamin C is not pH-dependent.

Apply it once the acid has been absorbed since they don’t need a certain pH to be effective.

In case your acid and vitamin C are close in pH.
In case your acid and vitamin C aren’t close in pH.

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Who Should Avoid Bha Exfoliants

While BHA exfoliants are mild enough to treat even sensitive skin, there are some individuals who should avoid using products made with BHA or its derivatives.

  • BHA exfoliants with greater than 5% concentration should not be used in individuals with Fitzpatrick skin types IVVI, or light brown, brown or black skin, without supervision or permission of a dermatologist, as higher concentrations of BHA can worsen skin conditions in these skin types.
  • Cosmetic products containing BHA should be used sparingly on children, and not used on children under two years old.
  • Using BHA on areas of the skin that are already irritated or infected may significantly worsen conditions.

Additionally, women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should consult a doctor prior to using BHA exfoliants. Individuals with an aspirin allergy, NSAID allergies, diabetes, kidney disease or liver disease should also avoid using BHA exfoliants.

What’s The Difference Between Lactic Acid And Glycolic Acid

Well, a lot. Just because theyre part of the same family of acids does not mean they work the same way.

Glycolic acid is used for lightening or whitening treatments or as an anti-ageing ingredient thanks to its capacity to regulate melanin synthesis, speed up the skin renewal process and stimulate the synthesis of collagen within the deeper skin layers, explains Dermatologist and founder of Meder Beauty Science, Dr Tiina Meder.

Meanwhile Lactic acid is an unusual AHA. It is a skin-identical ingredient and one of the main substances of the epidermis Natural Moisturising Factor .

‘It is used to prevent skin dryness because of its unusual capacity to enhance ceramides production by keratinocytes in the epidermis. The best skincare products are based on L-Lactic acid rather than D-Lactic Acid, so keep an eye out for this when shopping. It’s popular in anti-ageing and moisturising skincare and can help improve uneven skin tone without a whitening or prominent lightening effect, clarifies Dr Meder.

So it depends on what your priority skincare concerns are when it comes to picking which to add into your routine.

One of the main differences between the two, however, is that Glycolic can be a bit of a trouble maker if you dont gradually introduce it into your skincare routine.

So its best to err on the side of caution before purchasing a product with a high percentage.

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What Are Aha And Bha

Both AHA and BHA are types of hydroxy acids exfoliating acids that can safely be used in skincare. You can find them in a variety of products, including cleansers, toners, serums, moisturizers, scrubs, masks and peeling solutions. Both AHA and BHAenhance the skin by pretty much removing what shouldnt be there.

However, there are a few differences between the two. And on these differences depends what AHA and BHA products can and cannot remove, how they do it and, of course, which skin types can benefit from each the most.

Bha Exfoliants: Benefits And How To Pick One For Your Skin Type

Exfoliating Acids in Skincare Routine: Beginner’s Guide to Chemical Exfoliation (AHA & BHA)
  • Beta hydroxy acid , is a lipid-soluble ingredient best suited for exfoliating oily skin.
  • This ingredient penetrates deep into the skin to help clean and unclog skin pores and hair follicles.
  • BHA exfoliants are available over-the-counter or via prescription.
  • Exfoliants containing BHA are safe to use for all skin tones and types and do not increase the skins sensitivity to the sun.

Exfoliation is the process of removing oil, dirt and dead skin cells from the skin leaving it fresh and with a renewed, healthier surface.

Exfoliating products are made with different agents and ingredients to combat a multitude of skin conditions and to better exfoliate certain types of skin. An exfoliant containing BHA as the active ingredient is one type that is effective for exfoliating skin, especially so for those with oily skin.


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How To Apply Bha

BHAâs do not make your skin as sensitive to the sun as AHAâs but should still be used in moderation to start. While BHAâs are designed for daily use, you may also want first to try applying just a few times a week, as you would with AHAâs. The FDA suggests testing any product that contains BHA on a small area of skin before applying it to larger skin areas. BHA-containing products should also be avoided on infants and children.

If you experience skin irritation or prolonged stinging, you should stop the product and consult your doctor. For information on where to implement BHAâs in your skincare routine, check out How to Build a Simple Skincare Routine.

Are Expensive Products Necessarily Better When It Comes To Ahas And Bhas

According to Patten and Taher, prices can vary widely when it comes to over-the-counter productsand you generally get what you pay for. But its impossible to judge the quality of a skincare product on price alone. Some expensive formulas might contain fragrances or additional ingredients that could irritate the skin, while some more affordable items might have harsh formulas that will do the same. Both experts agree that since there is no hard and fast rule, its best to begin with a mild product that is within your price range and slowly test it on your skin before proceeding to an increased concentration or more expensive product.

If you have a specific skincare concern you want to target , Patten suggests chatting with a dermatologist or with an expert at a skincare clinic. Medical-grade skincare products are designed to address specific concerns, so this may be an interest to you if you feel that your over-the-counter acid isnt delivering the results you had hoped for.

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In Which Products Is Salicylic Acid Present And What Is Its Use

Salicylic acid is found in aspirin, but also many cosmetic products such as creams, facial cleansers, toners, shower gels, shampoos, and other liquid solutions for topical use. What you should be careful about when buying a product with salicylic acid is that its content should not be more than 2%, as it might irritate your skin. Unless, of course, your dermatologist recommends it. He knows exactly what your skin needs and will give you the right treatment and dosage.

In general, the use of salicylic acid should be done with caution, as it may cause irritation and mild stinging. Thats why its best to give your skin time to adjust to BHA, initially limiting its use to 1 time every other day and gradually increasing it.

For example, if after day after day use for 2 weeks you do not notice any irritation, you can proceed to daily use. Ideally, of course, you should consult your dermatologist before starting to use salicylic acid. Hes the best person to tell you first if you can use it and how.


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