Your AHA vs. BHA Questions Answered and Explained

Unless skin care is a new topic to you, you have probably heard of AHA and BHA. Yes, they are acids and may sound harsh on the skin, but they actually serve an important purpose of chemically exfoliating your skin to remove dead skin cells and give you brighter, clearer complexion. Okay, so what exactly are AHAs and BHAs? How do they benefit my skin? When should I look for these ingredients? Which one should I use? What is the best way for me to incorporate them into my skin care routine? Read on to get an explanation about these acids once and for all so you can achieve the best skin complexion you will ever have!


What are AHAs?

Alpha Hydroxy Acid or AHAs are water-soluble acids derived from sugar cane, sugary fruits and other plant sources, hence sometimes referred to as 'fruit acids'. Because AHAs are water-soluble, they only exfoliate your skin at the surface and does not penetrate deeply into the skin. Their main purpose is to remove old and dead skin cells, stimulate collagen production and help with skin regeneration to visibly reduce the appearance of dark spots, large pores, fine lines and wrinkles.

But don't you worry, AHAs are gentle enough that they won't leave your skin feeling dry or over-exfoliated and they are generally safe for all skin types.




What are BHAs?

Alright, on to AHA's loyal friend, BHAs or Beta Hydroxy Acid. BHAs are oil-soluble acids, meaning they can penetrate deeper into your skin layers and cut through sebum. Primarily, BHAs are used to treat acne and sun damage as they are able to go deep into your pores to remove impurities, thus making them more suitable for those with combination or oily skin types. A common BHA is Salicylic Acid which we can find in acne care products, they are known for their anti bacterial and anti inflammatory properties.

Apart from acne treatment, BHAs can also be used to clear the skin from impurities and control excess sebum production.


Willow Bark

How do I use them?

You have come to the right place! Below is a step by step skin care routine to incorporate AHAs and BHAs.


Cleansing is a crucial part of every skin care routine.

BY WISHTREND Acid Duo 2% Mild Gel Cleanser | Cleanser | BONIIK


To feel the benefits of AHA and BHA, we recommend that you start with a low pH cleanser. BY WISHTREND Acid Duo 2% Mild Gel Cleanser is a gentle cleanser containing BHA to remove impurities within deeper layers of the skin. It also has anti-bacterial and anti inflammatory properties to prevent acne and remove blemishes. The Acid Duo 2% is a perfect first step to achieving smooth, bright, radiant skin.

To use, simply pump an adequate amount on to your hands and apply all over your face while massaging it gently. Then rinse if off and pat your skin dry with a clean towel.


Give me radiant, glowing and smooth skin! 

MAKE PREM Radiance Me. Mild Essential Peeling | Exfoliator | BONIIK

Exfoliators often have bad reputation because even though they remove dead skin and other impurities, they strip away a lot of the skin's moisture during that process. MAKE P:REM Radiance Me. Mild Essential Peeling is a soft and gentle exfoliator that buffs away dead skin cells and impurities to reveal the most radiant skin you will ever have. Enriched with Wintergreen Leaf extract, a natural source of BHA which not only helps decongest your pores, but also leaves a soothing and refreshing feeling. Other main ingredients include Moringa Oil and Sea Buckthorn Oil which deeply moisturises and revitalizes your skin.

After cleansing your face, squeeze a small amount of this exfoliator and apply evenly on dry skin. Wait for 15 seconds before massaging to see all the dead skin cells melt away from your skin like butter. Finally, wash off with lukewarm water and pat your skin dry with a clean towel before continuing with the next steps of your skin care routine.

See, exfoliators are not as bad as they seem after all! You just have to find one that is enriched with moisturising ingredients and your skin will thank you.


Get your skin ready for hydration by toning it!

BENTON Aloe BHA Skin Toner | Toner | BONIIK

BENTON Aloe BHA Skin Toner soothes and hydrates your skin with both anti-aging and gentle exfoliating effects. Apart from that, it is enriched with Aloe leaf water, Hyaluronic Acid and Snail Filtrate for added calming, hydrating and refreshing feeling. Look at all the great benefits offered by this humble bottle of toner!


It comes in a convenient pump so you can easily dispense it onto a cotton pad or your hands. Then massage directly on to your skin and tap lightly for better absorption.


Give your skin the pearl-like glow it deserves!


KLAVUU White Pearlsation Revitalizing Pearl Treatment Toner | Toner | BONIIK


With high grade Korean pearls, KLAVUU White Pearlsation Revitalizing Pearl Treatment Toner helps brighten, gently exfoliate and provide moisture to the skin. This multi functional toner also has anti aging benefits by providing nutrients and moisture that your skin needs for revitalized, supple and youthful-looking skin. Apart from pearl extract, this toner also contains apple fruit water which is a natural AHA to remove dead skin cells, improve collagen production and stimulate skin cell renewal. Your skin will be left feeling moisturised, silky-soft and radiant.

Apply this toner after cleansing your face. Dispense an adequate amount on a cotton pad or on your hands and apply all over your face, patting it lightly for better absorption.


Looking for a lightweight yet hydrating moisturiser?


COSRX BHA Skin Returning Emulsion | Moisturiser | BONIIK


Look no further because COSRX Natural BHA Skin Returning Emulsion is here for you. This moisturiser has a serum-like consistency which easily penetrates deep into your skin layers to ensure that there is no place for excess sebum and dead skin cells! With Centella Asiatica extract and Hyaluronic Acid, this pore-clearing emulsion can help calm redness, skin irritation and blemishes while restoring your skin's hydration. Suitable for acne-prone, combination and oily skin.

Lock in all the AHA and BHA goodness by applying a moderate amount of the BHA Emulsion all over your face and gently massage until absorbed into the skin. Your skin will feel clearer and healthier in an instant!


Maximise the radiance with this maximising cream


BY WISHTREND Vitamin 75 Maximising Cream | Moisturiser | BONIIK


Don't let all the benefits of the rest of your skin care products slip away! Seal in all the moisture to wrap up your skin care routine with BY WISHTREND Vitamin 75 Maximising Cream. With 75% Vitamin Tree Water, this moisturiser helps brighten, clarify and deeply moisturise your skin. The soft, silky formula glides easily and is easily absorbed to quickly replenish your skin's moisture levels without any greasy or sticky feeling.


What's that toc toc sound?


DR JART Dermask Peeling Solution | Mask | BONIIK

DR JART Dermask Peeling Solution | Mask | BONIIK


Yep, you heard it! That's the popping sound from DR JART Dermask Ultra Jet Peeling Solution face mask reacting to dead skin cells (well hello radiance). This bubbling facial mask contains carbonic acid and AHA from a blend of sugar scrub and fruit acids to even out skin tone and rejuvenate the skin. It also contains Olive Oil for added moisture, leaving your skin soft and supple after use. Oh, we also have a brag-worthy feature here- this mask changes color from violet to blue to indicate a change in your skin's pH balance.

Don't get intimidated by the 2-step process, it's actually very simple. First, apply the peeling essence on your face after cleansing, avoiding the eye area. Massage the grains gently before applying the mask. Now here's the most exciting part! (drumrolls please) Watch the mask turn from a light violet hue to a bluish hue while it makes the bubbling sound as your dead skin cells are being removed. If you feel a slight tingling sensation, do not panic, this is just the carbonic acid doing its job. Leave the mask on for about 3 to 5 minutes before rinsing it off and continuing with the rest of your skin care routine.


Quench your skin with some juice


KLAIRS Freshly Juiced Vitamin E Mask | Mask Pack | BONIIK

Your skin will love KLAIRS Freshly Juiced Vitamin E Mask! This antioxidant and Vitamin E rich mask helps brighten your skin, diminish fine lines and fight aging signs for visibly revitalized skin. Enriched with Niacinamide to balance the skin's moisture levels and even out skin tone for glowing complexion, as well as fruit extracts and oils containing AHA to help remove dull, dead skin cells to reveal glowing and supple skin. The pudding-like texture of the mask pack adheres on to your skin to seal in moisture.

This mask can either be used as a daily moisturiser or as mask. Scoop an adequate amount using a spatula, gently rub the product on your skin ensuring that it is applied evenly on your face. Then, wash it off the next morning with lukewarm water and your skin will feel supple and smooth. 


To sum up, AHA is suitable for you if you are looking for a gentle chemical exfoliator or wanting to reduce the appearance of dull, aging, dry skin or uneven skin tones. On the other hand, BHA is suitable for you if you have combination or oily skin and looking for anti acne treatment.

We hope this blog clarified and answered your questions about AHAs and BHAs. Let us know in the comments which of these AHA and BHA products you are most eager try!