AHAs and BHAs – we see them being used a lot of use in skin care, and there is little to wonder about why. They each have potent yet skin friendly cleaning properties that help clear grime from your skin. Both see frequent use in any number of products and, despite the difference in name, many people wouldn’t even notice the difference. This leads some people to wonder if there is an important distinction between the two. Consequently, OROGOLD would like to explain the subtle yet important distinction between the two groups and how it is of importance when deciding what product to use in your skin care routine.
AHA (Alpha Hydroxy Acid)
The first thing to note is that when you see alpha hydroxy acid on a product that it can be any of a number of different acids that are all suitable for topical use. Glycolic, lactic, and tartaric acid are among the popular varieties for use in skin care, but are far from the only ones. Each of these compounds is capable of penetrating layers of skin and helping to remove dead layers as a part of a chemical exfoliating agent. Additionally, they provide subtle benefits to skin such as increasing collagen production even without other ingredients. There is one particular issue to note though. AHAs are water soluble. This means they dissolve easily in water. You skin produces oils constantly to maintain its state of health, and this is a problem for people with oily skin or conditions like acne as the oils may partly block the effectiveness of a product using AHAs.
BHA (Beta Hydroxy Acid)
You’ve probably noticed that this heading is a single acid instead of multiple, and that’s because only one BHA generally sees use in cosmetics: salicylic acid. This compound turns up in almost every acne fighting product for a reason. Similar to AHAs, it too has the ability to penetrate into the skin and provide the same kind of benefits. The difference is in the fact the salicylic acid and the rare other BHAs used in skin care are all oil soluble. They dissolve fully with oil. This makes them ideal for cutting through naturally oily skin or acne prone skin with pores clogged with oil and other things. That a BHA can penetrate your body’s natural protective method of releasing oil necessarily makes it the physically harsher agent on your skin, but you’ll seldom notice unless the concentration levels are higher. It does mean that your skin will likely be dry after using these products though.
What Does this Mean?
There really is no value to team loyalty to either AHAs or BHAs in skin care as they do almost the same thing. As with everything in skin care though, you need to consider your skin type when selecting which product is best for your own skin. BHAs will typically work best for people battling a breakout or whose skin is naturally more oily than average. However, this also means a BHA is going to be a bit harsher and isn’t suitable for sensitive skin. Anyone with sensitive skin should try sticking to using AHAs. The benefits are almost the same and the slightly less harsh compounds an AHA is in will be less likely to irritate sensitive skin.
Skin care is always about you as an individual. You’re the most familiar with your skin and have had a lifetime of learning about it. OROGOLD urges you to keep in mind the lessons its lessons and the lessons of your skin when selecting between AHA and BHA products. The difference is simple, but it can cause a difference over time in the quality of your skin.