Skin care

What are AHAs and BHAs? How are they different from each other for treatment?

If you are into using skin products then you must have heard the terms AHA and BHA. These are hydroxy acids that are beneficial to address skin conditions like acne. Most of the common acids are:
• Glycolic acid
• Lactic acid
• Salicylic acid
Along with skin condition, it is also used for cosmetic purposes to improve the skin.
• AHA stands for alpha-hydroxy acid
• BHA stands for beta-hydroxy acid



It has 5 natural organic acids like:

    • Malic acid
    • Tartaric acid
    • Lactic acid
    • Glycolic acid
    • Citric acid

Different types of BHAs include the following:

    • Salicylic acid
    • Beta-hydroxybutyric acid
    • Tropic acid
    • Trethocanic acid

AHAs can be found in the form of skin peels. Basically they are used to treat:

    • Scars
    • Roughness
    • Age spots
    • Melasma (brown or gray patches of skin)
    • Seborrhea (rash with red/itchy spots and white scales)
    • Hyperpigmentation (patches of darker skin)

BHAs are preferred to reduce the following:

    • Wrinkle appearance
    • Fine lines
    • Provides overall smooth skin & texture.

What are the benefits of AHAs and BHAs?

• One of the primary benefits is to improve the sun-damaged skin, because of hydroxy acid. This is the reason, you will see many cosmetic products out there which have AHAs in them.
• Both of them work in the form of exfoliants, although they work differently.
• In the case of AHAs, the concentration of calcium ions is reduced in the skin. In the case of BHAs, it works in the form of a skin peeling agent.
As there are different products in the market, the methods to use them are different which makes a huge competition in itself.

What makes them different from others?



No doubt, both of them are used in the form of exfoliants. But, the hydroxy acids have different properties for each of them to address the skin issue. There might be slight irritation.

When we compare it with the AHA glycolic acid, salicylic acid, the irritation is less.

Not suggested to treat the skin against sun-damage.

It is beneficial to address the issue of skin against sun damage.

AHAs are more aggressive and this is the reason they are best ro reduce the effect of aging.

BHAs have antibacterial effects which are best suited for acne treatment.

Which one should i choose?
Well! It is important for the person to make the choice between the 2 depending on their skin type and condition.



Not that effective in terms of treating acne.

More effective to treat acne because of their antibacterial properties

AHAs are better option to address the skin color changes like:

    • Melasma
    • Solar lentigines
    • Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation

BHAs are not an effective option for addressing the skin color changes.

It’s mechanism is more aggressive as compared to BHAs and can be used as an exfoliator.

These are not that aggressive

How to use AHAs?
AHAs products provide the given benefits:
• Unblocking and cleansing pores
• Improving skin appearance
• Smoothing fine lines and surface wrinkles
• Improving skin texture and tone

How to use BHAs?
These are beneficial in the given ways:
• Avoid skin irritation
• Increased sun sensitivity

Is it possible to combine both of them?
If both of these are combined, then it will lead to irritation. In case the patient wants to use them for different skin issues, then make sure to tell them what is best for them. Also tell the, to not experiment on their own as it can make the problem worse instead of protecting the skin.

*Keep in mind, no matter which product is selected, always tell your patients or clients to use them as per the recommendation. You should always enlighten them that excess or wrong usage will do more harm than benefit.

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