AHA & BHA Exfoliants. How to Use Them Safely?

Face acids are gaining in popularity year by year. There are more and more cosmetics containing face acids. To prevent adverse effects, such products are mostly used in fall and winter when the sun isn’t shining so brightly. What are AHA and BHA exfoliants? What is their effect on the skin?

Types of exfoliants and their effects on the skin

Acids used in cosmetics are substances that occur naturally in nature. To speed up the process of creating such beauty products, laboratories synthesize the acids, creating substances that resemble those of plant origin. Later, they are added to face tonics, peels, serums, creams and ointments. Properly chosen, face acids improve the appearance of normal, combination and oily skin, as well as sensitive, acne and dry skin.

Acids used in skincare are substances that belong to the group of hydroxy acids, containing a carboxyl and hydroxyl group in their structure. They are divided into two main groups: AHA and BHA. Each one delivers a different set of effects to a specific skin type.

AHA exfoliants, i.e. water-soluble α-hydroxyl acids, include: almond, lactic, glycolic, malic, tartaric and citric acids. They have a strong exfoliating effect on the skin. They work best for oily, combination and acne-prone skin, as well as for complexions that require thorough cleansing.

BHA exfoliants, or β-hydroxyl acids, include salicylic acid (and its derivatives). Fat-soluble, the acid penetrates the hydro lipid barrier easily, thus reaching the skin where it affects the sebaceous glands, fixing the problem of dryness and seborrhea. BHA exfoliants are good at combating acne, blackheads, pigmentation spots and acne scars. Because of its antiseptic and antiviral properties, salicylic acid prevents inflammation and blackheads.

Face acids and their effect on the skin

There are many types of blemishes and skin concerns that face acids can deal with. The key benefits of using AHA and BHA include:

  • exfoliation of dead skin cells
  • hydration
  • elimination of bacteria
  • smoothing
  • rejuvenation
  • pigmentation spots removal
  • antioxidation
  • regulation of sebaceous gland activity
  • no acne

As it’s clear to see, face acids can help you cope with various skin problems at home.

AHA & BHA exfoliants: How to use them correctly

Both face acids are equally popular, therefore the number of cosmetics formulated with either one is comparable. Reaching for those types of products, start from the lowest concentration of the face acids. Observe your skin and help it get used to a new substance. When your skin starts tolerating the face acid well, you may go for a slightly higher concentration.

Here are some quick tips for face acid beginners:

TIP 1: Apply face acids at bedtime only. In the morning, put on a face cream with SPF.

TIP 2: Avoid eye and lip skin while applying cosmetics with AHA and BHA acids.

TIP 3: Cut down on smoking.

TIP 4: Don’t use face acids when you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, when you suffer from psoriasis or atopic dermatitis.

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