It’s time to incorporate AHAs and BHAs into your skincare regimen and take your exfoliation game to the next level.
Exfoliating is all about removing dead skin cells and giving your skin a deeper clean to help prevent dull and dry skin, blocked pores, pimples, blackheads, fine lines and wrinkles. Scrubs or grainy cleansers are the most common type of exfoliants. But they really only target the top layer of your skin. If you’re ready to step it up, let’s take a closer look at the next step in exfoliation: chemical exfoliation aka AHAs and BHAs.
AHA stands for alpha hydroxyl acid. Ingredients in this category include lactic acid (from milk) and glycolic acid (from sugar cane) as well as a whole host of others, some of which are created by beauty companies for exclusive use in their products.
BHA stands for beta hydroxyl acid, otherwise known as salicylic acid. These are even harder working than AHAs, as salicylic acid can really penetrate your pores and help to clear them out.
Both AHAs and BHAs penetrate deeper than scrubs ever could to give your skin a really great exfoliation. If you’re used to scrubs, you might assume that AHAs and BHAs are also heavy duty cleansers, just without the grains. This is partially true - there are cleansers and products marketed as wash off exfoliants that contain AHAs and BHAs. But there are also toners, moisturisers, serums, peels and masks that contain these ingredients. This makes it incredibly easy to incorporate them into your skincare routine, and also gives them a much longer opportunity to sink into your skin rather than watching them slip down the drain!
Our friends at Paula’s Choice have come up with this helpful summary of the differences between AHAs and BHAs:
AHAs are preferred for sun-damaged and dry skin because they exfoliate on the surface of skin and have the added benefit of also improving moisture content.
BHA is preferred for oily, acne-prone skin and for treating blackheads and white bumps because BHA can get through the oil that's clogging your pores, normalizing the lining of the misshapen pore that contributes to acne.
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.
BHA is preferred for those struggling with rosacea. Not everyone with rosacea can tolerate an exfoliant, but it is wise to experiment with a BHA product to see how your rosacea responds. It is quite likely you'll see less redness and a smoother, more even skin with fewer breakouts.
Worked out which one will suit your skin best? Here are some of our favourite products.
First Aid Beauty Facial Radiance Pads
These easy to use pads contain both lactic and glycolic acids, and regular use will improve skin clarity, reduce visible pores and diminish the appearance of fine lines. Shop now in the bellabox store.
Intraceuticals Rejuvenate Exfoliant
This powerful exfoliant includes lactic acid, fruit enzymes, antioxidants, hydrators, Carnauba wax and microbeads to purify and deep cleanse the skin. Use once or twice a week after cleansing for best results. Shop now in the bellabox store.
Alpha H Liquid Gold
This cult skin resurfacing treatment from Alpha-H uses a state of the art, low pH delivery system to effectively diminish wrinkles, pigmentation and sun damage. Apply after cleansing, and leave on overnight without adding moisturiser for best results. Shop now in the bellabox store.
This leave on exfoliant is fantastic for those who suffer from blocked pores, skin congestion and breakouts. It rapidly exfoliates both the skin's surface and inside the pore, reshaping the pore lining, unclogging pores and improving skin cell turnover rate. We're also very excited to be sharing this cult product with subscribers this month! Available at paulaschoice.com.au.
Bioderma Sebium Pore Refiner
Bioderma Sébium Pore Refiner contains an exclusive patented Fluidactiv complex that controls excess sebum and minimizes pores. It has a silky smooth finish and really helps to brighten your complexion. Shop now in the bellabox store.