Are AHAs or BHAs best for your skin?

There is no doubt that it's very important to regularly exfoliate the skin on your face. This is how you will remove dead skin cells that give your skin an uneven appearance to reveal the freshest, brightest skin underneath. In the old days of skincare, this meant lots of facial scrubs. Nowadays, people are wary of such scrubs because they can cause fine tears in the skin, and acid treatments have taken over as the exfoliants of choice.

It's true that acid exfoliants can work wonders at eating away at dead skin cells, but with so many different acids out there, how can you know which one is right for you? Well, although there are many different acid types (such as lactic, glycolic, salicylic and alpha lipoic acid), they all fit into two broad types: AHAs and BHAs. So what's the difference between the two, and which will be the best skin treatment for your skin type? 

Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs). The main difference between AHAs and BHAs is that AHAs are water soluble whereas BHAs are soluble in oil. But what does actually mean for your skin? An AHA really works to eat away the top layer of the skin, and these acids can be suitable for most skin types, but you should take care if you have dry skin (some AHAs will have more of a drying effect than BHAs) or very sensitive skin. Because AHAs are mostly about taking off that surface layer, they are great for general brightening and giving your skin a glow. Use AHAs over a longer period of time, and they can even work on discolouration and hyperpigmentation. Popular AHAs are lactic acid and glycolic acid.

Beta Hydroxy Acids (BHAs). BHAs are soluble in oil and are particularly good at getting deep in your skin to clear it out. For this reason, BHAs are particularly useful for people who are prone to acne. If you want to calm down inflammation and redness while also having a beautiful glow, BHAs are also a fantastic option. Some of the most common BHAs on the market are salicylic acid and citric acid.

If you are completely new to acids, whether AHAs or BHAs, you should start with something low strength applied a couple of times a week, and gradually work your way up to something stronger. Too much too soon could leave your skin feeling exposed, and could cause redness. Use these acids in the right way, and you will soon see fantastic results.