What are AHAs and BHAs?
Alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) and Beta-hydroxy acids (BHAs) are both chemical exfoliants. A chemical exfoliant relies on different types of acids to breakdown the most superficial layer of skin, causing dead skin cells to detach and shed. One is not superior to the other, rather they are used to treat different concerns.
- Alpha-hydroxy acids: AHAs are water-soluble and can be found in sugar, milk, citrus fruits or synthetic formulations. The most commonly used forms of AHAs are lactic acid, glycolic acid and mandelic acide.
- Beta-Hydroxy Acids: BHAs are lipid or oil soluble. They are closely related to AHAs as they are separated in their configuration by a single carbon atom. The most used form of BHA is salicylic acid.
Why are they good for the skin?
AHA's and BHA's exfoliating remove the top layer of cells on the skin to reveal the newer, younger cells below. Products that include AHAs and BHAs work to:
- Help brighten dull complexions.
- Help to reduce the appearance of uneven skin tone.
- Help to visibly diminish the signs of aging, by reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
- Promote a more radiant look.
Which one to choose?
The most used AHAs are lactic acid, glycolic acid and mandelic acid: