AHA vs. BHA. Both terms are related to skincare, but what exactly are they, and what's the difference?
Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHA) are water-soluble acids found in fruits and milk. They consist of primarily glycolic acid, citric acid, lactic acid, malic acid, and tartaric acid. They are used in skincare because they exfoliate the skin like how the skin naturally exfoliates.
Beta Hydroxy Acids (BHA) are oil-soluble acids found in certain plants and milk. They consist of salicylic acid, lactobionic acid, and tea tree oil. BHA's are thought to exfoliate the skin by loosening and breaking up the bond that holds dead skin cells together. They also possess antiseptic properties and can penetrate through the skin.
BHA's are better at preventing clogged pores and treating blemishes because of their ability to penetrate through the skin in terms of skincare. They can also help minimize small wrinkles and smooth out the skin's texture. In addition, BHA's have been reported to be effective in treating hyperpigmentation, something that AHA's cannot do by themselves.
BHA's are the way to go for people who suffer from blackheads, enlarged pores, and acne. AHA's are a better option for people who have dryer skin because they help remove dead skin cells while hydrating. As for sensitive skin, they both are likely to cause irritation. If you have dry, sensitive skin, AHA's might irritate it further, but a moisturizing cleanser beforehand will help. If you have dry, sensitive skin BHA's can cause irritation, but if you use a moisturizing cleanser beforehand, it should help.
Now that you know the difference between AHA & BHA, which one should you use?
In the end, it all comes down to preference. If you have dehydrated skin and suffer from blackheads, BHA's will work better for you. On the other hand, if your skin is very sensitive, you cannot use BHA's, and you suffer from oiliness, you might benefit from an AHA. Like we mentioned above, using a moisturizing cleanser beforehand can help regardless of the type of acid you choose.