AHA & BHA Skin Care
AHA and BHA are chemical exfoliators that work by gently peeling away dead skin cells, controlling excess sebum, clearing out pores and boosting skin cell regeneration to improve complexion. AHA stands for Alpha Hydroxy Acids, while BHA stands for Beta Hydroxy Acids. Although similar, AHAs and BHAs work differently to treat different skin concerns and can be incorporated into your Korean skincare routine depending on your skin type.
What are AHAs?
AHAs are a group of plant derived acids that are found with serums, toners, moisturisers, and chemical peels.
AHA skincare is alpha hydroxy acids that work by removing dead skin cells from the surface of the skin, allowing for better absorption of skincare products. In addition, this process of sloughing away dead, dull skin will help reveal smoother, evenly toned skin with a healthy-looking glow. As a result, your skin will feel softer and smoother to the touch, and your makeup application will be easier and more flawless than before.
Alpha Hydroxy Acid in your best Korean skincare products can be found in different fruit acids or from sugar cane. Commonly found types of AHA skincare in the best Korean beauty products include malic acid, citric acid, lactic acid, and glycolic acid.
Use AHAs if you are looking to improve skin texture, remove dead skin cells, reduce uneven skin tone, and want brighter skin.
What are BHAs?
BHA (Beta Hydroxy Acid) skincare is able to go deeper into the skin’s layers to clear out pores, remove excess sebum, and prevent the buildup of dead skin cells, which can trigger breakouts and acne. Oil soluble chemical exfoliants, BHAs penetrate the skin through sebaceous glands. Beta Hydroxy Acids work best for troubled skin as they gently remove acne-causing bacteria and sebum when applied to the skin. Because of its unparalleled pore unclogging action, BHA skincare works best for oily or combination skin types with skin concerns related to acne, pimples, blackheads, enlarged pores or oiliness.
Beta Hydroxy Acid in your skincare routine will often be Salicylic Acid, which is derived from willow bark extract, sweet birch and other plants. Salicylic acid is the main BHA and most commonly used, but there are other less common BHAs that provide similar effects.
BHAs and salicylic acid are best known for providing troubled and oily skin with a solution to acne breakouts. With additional anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties, BHA exfoliants are great for improving skin texture on blemish prone skin, and reducing acne breakouts.
How to use AHA and BHA?
You can incorporate both AHAs and BHAs together in your Korean skincare routine to clear up any irritation, improve overall skin texture, get smoother skin, and wake up with radiant skin. In fact, there are a number of different Korean skincare brands which carry products containing both these ingredients in the form of Korean toners, facial essences or best face moisturisers. Apart from that, AHA and BHA can be combined with other ingredients such as hyaluronic acid to help give your skin an additional boost of hydration without greasiness. If you have sensitive skin, you can combine your AHA skincare or BHA Korean skincare with Korean beauty products that contain amino acids to prevent any tingling or burning sensation with skincare acids.
It is important to note that AHA and BHA should never be mixed with strong vitamins such as Vitamin C in skincare or Vitamin A as they can become harsh on your skin. Instead, pair your Korean AHA skincare and BHA products with soothing and hydrating ingredients.
It's also important that you use adequate sun protection if you use AHA and BHAs in your skincare. These products are chemical exfoliants with active ingredients, leaving you at risk of sun damaged skin if you do not apply SPF.
When is a good time to use AHA and BHA?
As with all facial exfoliation, your skin becomes more sensitive to sunlight after using AHA skincare or Beta Hydroxy Acids in your Korean skincare routines. As such, it is recommended to use Alpha Hydroxy Acids and Beta Hydroxy Acids as part of your nighttime skincare routine. This is also beneficial to the skin because nighttime is the best time for your skin to regenerate itself.
If you are using AHA and BHA skincare during the day, it is highly recommended to apply adequate sun protection to protect your skin against harmful rays.
Who will benefit from AHA and BHA?
AHA skincare is water-soluble and can provide gentle, yet effective exfoliation. They work well for all skin types and are often the recommended type of Korean face exfoliator for those with normal or dry skin. Nonetheless, those with oily or combination skin can also use AHA to help brighten the appearance of tired, dull skin. AHAs like lactic acid, glycolic acid, and mandelic acid are great as an antiaging skin care system, will brighten dull skin and tired skin, soothe skin, and provide glowing skin when used regularly.
On the other hand, BHA skincare is oil-soluble, which makes it effective for those with oily or combination skin types as it is able to cut through sebum and impurities trapped within the pores. Small amounts of BHA can be used for other skin types as well, especially for blackhead treatment and pore care. If you have dry skin with skin concerns such as enlarged pores and blackheads, it is recommended to use BHA skincare together with other hydrating agents like hyaluronic acid, which will maintain the optimal moisture balance of your skin.
BHAs are great to penetrate deeper, remove dead skin cells, improve skin tone, reduce acne scarring, prevent excess oils, smooth bumpy skin, unclog pores, fade dark spots, help with post inflammatory hyperpigmentation, smooth complexion and fine lines and wrinkles, prevent future blemishes, reduce inflammation, and improve texture.
Both AHAs and BHAs provide a wealth of benefits and may be used in tandem. Whether you're using AHA or BHA products, it is vital that you use SPF too!