AHA and BHA Exfoliants

AHA and BHA Exfoliants
Hydroxy Acids for exfoliation.

AHA and BHA Exfoliants

AHAs and BHAs are categories of hydroxy acids that are highly effective skin exfoliants. You can find hydroxy acids in a variety of skin care products such as: cleansers, moisturizers, serums, masks, peels, scrubs, and toners. The percentage and pH of AHA or BHA can range in a skin product. Depending on the concentration and pH of the product, the result can vary from removing dead skin cells to removing the outermost layer of the skin. Exfoliation is important and key to radiant skin. Below we will discuss the benefits and differences between AHA and BHA hydroxy acids.

Skin Benefits of Both

Alpha hydroxy acids and beta hydroxy acids share common properties. Both work as exfoliants to help unclog pores and remove the dead skin cells to promote smoother, radiant skin.

  • Improves skin tone
  • Decreases surface wrinkles and pores
  • Removes dead skin cells
  • Unclog pores
  • Provide hydration
  • Soften rough skin
  • Improves acne, hyperpigmentation, rosacea, or other skin conditions

AHA Versus BHA


AHAs stands for Alpha Hydroxy Acids. These are water-soluble. They work by removing the skin surface to activate new skin cells to generate and produce even and soft skin. These are excellent for aging skin. Can also be used for normal to dry skin.

Use For-

  • Mild hyperpigmentation
  • Reducing fine lines or surface wrinkles
  • Exfoliation for uneven skin tone

Types of AHAs-

  1. Glycolic Acid: derived from the sugar cane plant, provides deep exfoliation and helps with many skin conditions
  2. Tartaric Acid: derived from grape extracts and can reduce sun damage and acne
  3. Citric Acid: made from citrus fruit extracts, can neutralize the skin pH, and even out the skin tone
  4. Malic Acid: comes from apple acids and normally used in a combination with other acids to be more effective


BHAs stands for: Beta Hydroxy Acids. These are oil-soluble. They work by going deeper in your pores using your skins oil to remove dead skin cells and sebum. Good for combination, oily skin or enlarged pores.

Use For-

  • Acne
  • Reducing inflammation
  • Improving skin tone and texture

Types of BHAs-

  1. Salicylic Acid: the most common and usually used for acne
  2. Citric Acid (can also be an AHA): when the formula is made as a BHA, it can remove dead skin cells and remove serum deep in your skin pores
  3. Betaine Salicylic: made from sugar beets, gentle alternative to Salicylic Acid but found to be equally effective
  4. Salix Alba: also known as willow bark extract and a milder option

Formulate with Hydroxy Acids

AHA and BHA are excellent skin exfoliants, which are needed for radiant skin. Learn more by taking our Diploma Pro Natural Skin Care Course. Now you can learn how to make effective skin care products with the proper concentration amount of AHAs or BHAs. Joan will cover regulatory limits, correct pH, labeling, and how to solubilize them in our upcoming Pro Natural Skin Care Mentored Semester.


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