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Exfoliation is a key step in any skincare routine, but did you know that there are different types of exfoliation that are meant to target specific skin types and issues? You may be used to gritty or sandy physical exfoliants – let us introduce you to two types of highly effective chemical exfoliants referred to as AHA and BHA. Exploring the differences between the two may help you to choose the right exfoliant for your skin type and experience brighter, softer skin. 

What are AHA and BHA?

AHA and BHA are two types of hydroxy acids which are commonly found in many different skin care products, and while neither is necessarily better than the other, they accomplish different things. Standing for Alpha Hydroxy Acid and Beta Hydroxy Acid, both acids are ultimately meant to exfoliate the skin. The difference lies in their intended use – allow us to break down the benefits of each type of hydroxy acid.

Alpha Hydroxy Acids are water soluble based acids derived from sugar cane and fruits. Their purpose is to help remove the buildup of dead skin cells from the surface of your face, making way for newer, fresher skin. AHA’s are known to help stimulate collagen as well as shedding dead skin cells, meaning that they’re able to treat both the inner and outer layers of the skin. This combination makes them highly effective in producing softer, smoother, more evenly pigmented skin. For this reason AHA’s are commonly used to treat wrinkles and fine lines, hyperpigmentation and large pores. While sometimes not suitable for extremely dry or sensitive skin, AHA’s are best used gradually to avoid irritation. 

Beta Hydroxy Acids are most commonly used to treat sun damage, acne and textured skin. BHA’s are oil soluble acids, such as salicylic acid, which are well known in the skincare industry for being highly effective in helping to improve acne and surface texture. BHA’s are able to penetrate the skin’s outer layer, deep into the pores and hair follicles to help remove dead skin cells and excess oil. This process helps to unclog pores and remove buildup on the face. 

Depending on your skin type and needs, exploring AHA and BHA exfoliators may be a game changer for the overall appearance of your skin. Reach out to us at the clinic for our tips, tricks and recommendations when it comes to exfoliating.