What Are AHAs and BHAs?

Two are acronyms that no doubt you would have heard of are, AHAs and BHAs, but do you know what they really are? AHA represents Alpha hydroxy acid, while BHA is the acronym of Beta hydroxy acid. Both of them are used to exfoliate dead skin cells from the skin’s surface. They help peel away the surface of your skin so that new, more evenly pigmented skin cells may generate and take their place. Depending on the concentration, some can even remove the whole of the outermost layer of the skin.

Skin Products Containing AHAs and BHAs include:

  • Masks
  • Moisturizers
  • Cleansers
  • Toners
  • Scrubs
  • Peels


Alpha hydroxy acids work on the skin’s surface and are water-soluble. AHAs are a group of natural acids often found in foods such as; sugar cane (glycolic acid), tartaric (grape extracts) and fruits (malic acid and citric acid) to name a few. They work by breaking down the 'glue' that hold the surface cells together. AHAs are preferable to use for dry skin as they hold moisture to the skin making it appear more succulent. Ensure to wash your skin before application because oil, for instance, may inhibit their effectiveness. Whenever you use AHAs, remember to go out with your sunscreen because it has been discovered to increase photosensitivity.


Beta hydroxy acid works on the skin’s surface, they are oil-soluble molecules that penetrate into the pores. The most common BHA is salicylic acid found in Willow Bark which is well-known as an acne treatment, it can also help calm down general redness and inflammation. As well as citric acid, which primarily used to dry out excess sebum and clean out dead skin cells deep in your pores. BHAs do not increase photosensitivity, but you may want to wear sunscreen for utmost protection.

The Shared Benefits:

  • Make skin look and feel firmer
  • Hydrate
  • Reduce the look of mild hyperpigmentation like age spots, melasma, and scars
  • Reduce the look of enlarged pores
  • Diminish the look of lines and wrinkles
  • Hydrate the skin
  • Smooth out rough texture
  • Improve the look of uneven skin tone

Combining AHAs and BHAs into your regime:

Most people will find using AHAs and BHAs at the same time too much for their skin. For best results use at alternating times: for example, using one in the morning and the other at night, after cleansing, or on alternate days.