What's The Difference between AHA and BHA Exfoliants?

Great question! Both AHAs (Alpha Hydroxy Acid) and BHA (Beta Hydroxy Acid) are fabulous choices for exfoliating the skin’s top layer of dead skin cells, but each has its special qualities you'll want to consider when deciding which best for you:
  • AHA is preferred for your prematurely aged, sun-damaged and dry skin as well as exfoliating it has the added benefit of also improving moisture content.
  • Good ranges that offer AHA's are ASAP,  Alpha-H and Skinstitut.
  • BHA is preferred for oily, acne-prone skin and for treating blackheads. BHA can penetrate through the oil that is clogging your pores. It encourages the shedding of dead skin cells from within the pore, helping keep the pore clear. In this way, it reduces the number of pore blockages and breakouts on the skin.
  • BHA has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial action. Those are two more reasons to use a BHA exfoliant if you have acne or sensitive, reddened skin.
  • Dermalogica has two BHA ranges Clean Start for teenagers and MediBac Clearing for adult acne.

The most commonly used AHA, are made from lactic (from milk), glycolic (from sugar cane) and citric acids (from oranges and lemons). Where as Salicylic acid is really the only BHA used in skin care products.

Just remember AHAs and BHAs remove the skin's top layer of dead skin cells, this can make the skin more sensitive to sun exposure.  Which makes the use of broad spectrum UVA/UVB blocking sunscreen with a minimum of SPF 30 a must.