scrub, exfoliate, AHA, BHA

AHAs & BHAs for Skin Exfoliation

Before we get into the breakdown of what a BHA or AHA is, and how they work, let’s look at the most important question. Why do we need to exfoliate? Helping you skin to exfoliate ensures the skin stays looking radiant, smooth and that the skin care products you apply are getting where they need to be.

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How are they similar?

Both AHAs and BHAs are chemical exfoliators which make great alternatives to traditional grains and scrubs. They smooth the skin to improve the look of dull, uneven skin tone but both have their own unique qualities making them preferable for certain skin types and conditions. Let’s take a look at each one in a bit more detail.

Alpha Hydroxy Acids

AHAs are water soluble which means they will only be effective on the top layer of the skin. This does make them perfect for someone who wants to exfoliate dry and sensitive skin. They are one of the most gentle effective exfoliants, so no more manual scrubbing which can cause extra damage and skin irritation. AHAs also have humectant properties, which means they hold moisture in the skin. AHAs can help with age spots, skin discoloration and the reduction of fine lines and wrinkles! The most commonly used AHAs you will see in your skincare items are glycolic acid, mandelic acid and lactic acid.

Some of our favourite AHA containing ZO® products include Glyocgent, Offects® TE-Pads and Invisapeel.

Beta Hydroxy Acids

A big difference between AHAs and BHAs is that BHAs are oil soluble. This means that they can penetrate through any oil clogged pores, so they are working into a deeper level of the skin. BHAs are often used if you have tried to exfoliate with AHAs but need something a bit stronger, or of the needs of your skin have changed. They are generally encouraged for use on oily and acne prone skin, this is also due to their anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. The most commonly used BHA is Salicylic acid.

Many of our products contain BHAs, some of which include Offects® Exfoliating Cleanser, Cebatrol™ and Vitascrub™.

Something To Note

An important factor to remember with both AHAs and BHAs is you must wear a daily SPF 15 or higher! This is because where they exfoliate the skin’s surface, you will be more vulnerable to sun damage. The best direction is to apply your AHA or BHA product at night before bed, so it has time to really work on the skin, then apply SPF as part of your morning routine to keep you protected.