AHAs and BHAs in our Routines
Wed, Jul 25, 18

AHAs and BHAs in our Routines

What are AHA’s & BHA’s?

AHA’s (Alpha hydroxy acids) and BHA’s (beta hydroxy acids) both smooth the outer surface and speed up the cell turnover of your skin, which slows down with age. AHAs (also called glycolic or lactic acids) are water-soluble and come from fruit and milk sugars; BHAs, such as salicylic acid, are oil-soluble, so they help to clean out clogged pores. 

Why do we need AHA’s and BHA’s in our skin care routine?

The bonds that hold onto the layer of dead skin on your face are essentially dissolved with the use of AHAs, therefore bringing new skin cells to the surface. AHAs are a chemical exfoliant which is great for people with dry and sensitive skin since they can help remove dead skin without manually buffing it off.

AHAs have humectant properties too which means that they hold moisture within the skin. AHA use also helps to thicken the epidermis and increase collagen production. This is great for repairing a photo-damaged skin as well as protecting it from any UV damage in the future. More collagen in your skin means it is firmer and plumper! 

BHAs are more suitable to an acne-prone skin as they are oil soluble which makes them the perfect ingredient for treating blackheads, whiteheads, and acne. They will penetrate your pores to loosen and remove any blockage. Salicylic acid is a derivative of aspirin which is a well-known anti-inflammatory. This makes it amazing for relieving your skin of any inflammation 

BHAs will also help to increase the thickness of your skin, as well as collagen production, and improving fine line, rough texture and hyperpigmentation. They don’t possess humectant qualities however and can be slightly drying on the skin with over use.

There’s no better feeling to our skin than after a good exfoliation.

A good deep cleansing facial feels nearly just as good as a deep clearout in your wardrobe. Finally everything feels fresh and new. 

Not everyone can avail of skin treatments but there’s no excuses for not giving yourself one WEEKLY.

We all know that physical exfoliants, such as scrubs, don’t work. So it’s time to get yourself something that is going to give you that real deep clean effect at home. Exfoliator ingredients have funny names and can be quite confusing for an outsider, but I’m going to make it really simple for you today so that you can choose the right advanced exfoliator for your skin’s needs:

AHAs (Alpha Hydroxy Acids)


lactic acid: made from sour milk, suitable for dry, ultra dry and sensitive, smoothes fine lines, wrinkles and rough skin texture, lightly hydrates and plumps skin

mandelic acid: suitable for sensitive, oily and acne prone skins, softens fine lines, wrinkles and pigment left from acne, treats acne and blackheads, regulates oil production

malic acid: suitable for all except sensitive, helps retain hydration, dissolves dead skin and milia, treats acne, softens fine lines and wrinkles, smoothes texture

tartaric acid: suitable for dry skin, contains antioxidant properties, softens fine lines and wrinkles, dissolves dead flaky skin

glycolic acid: made from cane sugar, suitable for all skins except for sensitive, lightens hyperpigmentation/sun damage, softens fine lines and wrinkles, dissolves dead skin, smoothes texture, stimulates collagen production and brightens

Action: Work from the bottom of the follicle - up

Stimulate the skin’s exfoliation process by dissolving the “glue” from in between the cells, by which process upper layers are more easliy shifted, revealing fresh glowing skin. Resurface the skin. Help lighten pigmentation. Lactic acid is particularly great for helping to retain moisture in the skin.

Watch out for.. photosensitivity! Your skin gets more prone to photodamage, so make sure your SPF is on and reapplied every 2 hours while using it as part of your home regimen or if used in professional treatment. Your therapist will advise.

BHAs (Beta Hydroxy Acids)

Names: Salicylic acid

Action: Work from the top of the follicle and go down. Attracted to oil in our skin, they digest the sebum by seeping deeply into the pores and cleaning them. Anti-inflammatory. Antibacterial. Clear sebum within the pore. Treat acne, blackheads, etc. Stimulate collagen production

Who is it for? Oily, acne / congested.

Watch out for.. Can be too drying for other skin types. Good occasionally on smaller areas to decongest e.g. a blackheady nose :D Does not cause photosensitivity, can be used day and/or night.

How to incorporate them into your regime?

So when introducing your new friends into your list, add them in between of a cleanser and serum as follows:


  1. Cleanse
  2. BHA
  3. Serum
  4. SPF


  1. Cleanse
  2. AHA/BHA
  3. Serum
  4. Night Cream