Why exfoliating is important
You’ve probably heard about exfoliating. It is the procedure of taking out dead skin cells that might’ve not shed by themselves properly. Dead skin cells should shed naturally every month, and if they do not shed properly, your skin can suffer in several ways like dryness, clogging pores, irregularities, etc. exfoliating using chemicals, exfoliating tools, or natural substances can help with all of these problems.
Exfoliating cannot only benefit your skin by removing dead skin, but it can also help other topical products be more effective. Dead skin acts as a barrier between any topical solution and its absorption, so the removal of the barrier will result in the topical solution such as vitamin C be more effective. Exfoliating also helps increase collagen production that can stop pores from clogging up. AHA and BHAs are known for their exfoliating properties.
AHA (Alpha-Hydroxy Acid)
AHAs are acids used in several skincare products that are taken from animal and plant products. These acids are used as primary ingredients in skincare products such as toners and creams and so on. The most common types of AHAs used are citric, glycolic, lactic, and tartaric, and malic acids.
There is loads of research done on AHAs showing that they are effective and safe for the most part, many AHAs available over the counter contain glycolic or lactic acid because they have been the most thoroughly researched compared to any other AHAs. Even though the main use of AHAs is to exfoliate, they also come with several other benefits that include promoting blood flow and collagen-building properties, fixing irregularities on the skin, preventing breakouts, brightening skin, and so on.
BHA (Beta-Hydroxy Acid)
Also known as salicylic acid, BHA helps with plump and smooth skin while simultaneously being an anti-inflammatory agent. It is also very gentle on your skin compared to other exfoliating tools. BHAs help loosens up our skin and gently remove any dead skin cells exposing our healthy layer of skin beneath. BHAs are a versatile product and they work well for any type of skin, but they work especially well for people with oily, acne-filled, and aging skin. The penetrative properties of BHAs are remarkable because they can pass any oils or fats on our skin relatively easily.
Difference and similarities
Now you might be asking, sure both of these acids are very effective and relatively safe but what’s the difference if they both do the same job of exfoliating? And you will be correct in thinking this because these acids have more or less the same benefits which include giving a glow to your skin, fixing any blemishes or irregularities, removal of dirt from pores, and removing dead skin cells. The crucial difference between the two would be that AHA is a water-soluble acid and BHA is an oil-soluble acid. This is why BHA is more effective for people who have oily skin.
How to use
Both products are relatively easy to use because you can simply incorporate them into your daily skincare routine. Application after showering once a day would result in a substantial difference over a couple of months. The only thing to look out for when using AHA products would be that they might make your skin sensitive to the sun, so it would be recommended to use sunscreen along with it.
Santos-Longhurst, A. (2018, October 22). Meaning of Exfoliating: What Is It, Why You Should, and How to Start. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/beauty-skin-care/meaning-of-exfoliating#how-to-choose-an-exfoliant.
Cherney, K. (2019, March 8). Everything You Need to Know About Using Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs). Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/beauty-skin-care/alpha-hydroxy-acid#plump-and-smooth.
Cherney, K. (2019, March 8). AHA vs. BHA: What’s the Difference? Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/aha-vs-bha#aha-use-and-otc-products.
How does a BHA exfoliant work?: Paula's Choice. eu.com. (n.d.). https://www.paulaschoice-eu.com/how-does-a-bha-exfoliant-work.
Mattia, D. (2019, July 14). BHA Exfoliants: Benefits and How to Pick One for Your Skin Type. Derm Collective. https://dermcollective.com/bha-exfoliants/.