When it comes to putting acids on your skin, you might have a lot of questions looming. And as you’re diving into the wonderful world of AHAs and BHAs, things can get a little confusing. But that’s fine! We’re here to break it down and make sure you come out on the other side with smooth, glowing skin.
What Are AHAs and BHAs?
For starters, they stand for Alpha Hydroxy Acids and Beta Hydroxy Acids, respectively.
AHAs are naturally derived from milk and fruit extracts. If you’re looking for AHAs, keep an eye out for products that feature glycolic or lactic acid on their ingredients list. The molecules in AHAs act as a humectant attracting water, which means they’re more suited to drier or mature skin. They work to break down the top layer that holds dead skin cells together, smoothing and refining the outermost layer of skin, which means they work best for things like fine lines and light pigmentation issues.
One important thing to note about AHAs is that they can temporarily thin the top layer of skin, which means you need to be extra thorough with your daily SPF application to ensure skin is fully protected while using these products. Yep, even when it’s cloudy, or even if you don’t think you’ll be outside much—get that protection on!
For a smoothing AHA treatment, try Neogen’s Bio-Peel Gauze Peeling Wine. Formulated with lactic acid, this helps purify the surface of the skin and reduces dulling cell build-up and flakiness. The unique design of the pad allows for physical exfoliation while delivering the AHAs into the skin to work overtime. It also features resveratrol, a fabulous antioxidant that will help protect your skin in the long-run. Try this twice a week after cleansing in the evening and wake up to smoother, brighter skin.
BHAs typically come in the form of salicylic acid, and work at a deeper level on the skin, getting further into the pores and attracting oil. Those of you with blemished and oily skin: BHAs are for you! While BHAs can be slightly drying, they work wonders on acne and blackheads and also have anti-inflammatory properties. These acids work best applied after cleansing and giving them time (read: 20 minutes) to work their magic before applying anything else. Pat on your BHAs, pop on a short Netflix episode and chill out for a bit before taking any next steps.
Now that you know the basics about these acids, it’s time to match your skin’s needs to the perfect product.
For a BHA powerhouse, try COSRX BHA Blackhead Power Liquid, formulated with willow bark extract and niacinamide, this treatment has 4% natural BHA and dives deep into pores to clear sebum build-up and boost cell turnover, while including sodium hyaluronate to keep skin from over-drying—essential in these cold months! Start out by using this just once a week (trust us, this formula is potent) as a PM serum applied with a cotton pad to congested areas. Wait approximately 20-30 minutes before applying heavier products, and be sure to use SPF the morning after!
I hope this guide has clarified the basics of acids for you, and that you now feel more confident to go forth and glow. Happy exfoliating, everyone!