AHA’s versus BHA’s

Our skin naturally exfoliates dead cells every day, but over time – primarily as a result of age and unprotected sun exposure – this shedding process slows and may stop altogether. This results in dull, dry, or flaky skin; clogged, enlarged pores; bumps, wrinkles, loss of firmness, and uneven skin tone.

Helping skin gently exfoliate its build-up of dead skin – the way it did naturally when we were younger – reveals the beautiful, soft, hydrated skin hiding underneath. Without question, a leave-on AHA (alpha hydroxy acid) or BHA (beta hydroxy acid) chemical exfoliant can make a world of difference to your skin’s appearance. We're often asked which one is best, and the answer is less complicated than you might think.

How AHAs and BHA are Similar

AHA exfoliants (alpha hydroxy acids, i.e. glycolic and lactic acids) and BHA exfoliants (beta hydroxy/salicylic acid) both work to 'unglue' the bonds holding dull, dead skin on the surface. Once those bonds are broken – gently and evenly – skin naturally sheds its used-up cells. So, although you won't actually see your skin exfoliating, you'll soon see (and feel) the smoother, younger-looking skin.

To work effectively, AHA and BHA exfoliants must be formulated within a narrow pH range, between 3 and 4. Our Luminosity Face Wash is formulated to be as effective, and as gentle, as possible.

Additionally, AHA and BHA both:

  • diminish the look of lines and wrinkles
  • make skin look and feel firmer
  • hydrate skin
  • improve the look of dull, uneven skin tone
  • smooth rough, bumpy texture

But each also has unique properties that make them suited for different skin types and concerns.

AHA vs BHA: How they differ

AHA exfoliants are water soluble so only work on the skin’s surface. They are generally preferred for normal to dry, sun damaged skin due to their ability to enhance natural moisturising factors within skin (as mentioned above, BHA is also hydrating, but it hydrates skin in a different way to AHAs). AHAs have also been proven to be effective in reducing the visible signs of sun damage, including crepey skin and wrinkles.

A BHA exfoliant works on both the skin’s surface and deep inside the pores. It’s oil soluble, so is best suited to normal and oily skin prone to bumps, clogs, blemishes and enlarged pores. BHA also has natural skin-calming properties, so it’s gentle enough for skin that's sensitive or prone to redness or rosacea. This well-rounded, gentle ingredient is even suitable for bumpy skin prone to milia.

Can you use AHA and BHA together?

With so many combined yet unique benefits, we're often asked, “Should I use both an AHA and BHA product to get the best results?”

Absolutely yes, and we create unique facial peels for clients combining AHA’s and BHA’s. This allows us to treat a range of concerns all in one treatment, and there is minimal downtime afterwards.
We recommend having a consultation with us to discuss your skin initially. 

 

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