AHA vs BHA: Which Chemical Exfoliator is For You? | Paula’s Choice Singapore & Malaysia


Hi Everyone, this is Nathan with the Paula’s Choice Research Team and in this week’s beauty talk I thought we would answer some of your AHA and BHA Exfoliant FAQs as well as helping to get you some information that will help you better understand you know which one is going to be right for your particular concerns. So BHA and AHA, if you’re not familiar with those two types of exfoliants, BHA is salicylic acid, AHA is oftentimes glycolic acid sometimes lactic acid, it can kind of vary by the formula but most often times you’ll see those two either alone or sometimes in combination. So BHA, salicylic acid, a good example is our Skin Perfecting 2%. BHA Liquid. BHA is a great option if you have any types of issues with clogged pores. If you deal with blackheads or whiteheads or blemishes, whether they’re occasional or whether it’s you know fairly frequent, BHA are excellent for that type of concern primarily because they exfoliate within the pore. They help to penetrate and get inside the pore and break down dead cells and bacteria which can lead to those clogged pore issues. Also, BHA does work on the surface of skin so it does help to breakdown uneven skin tone, sun damage related discolorations like brown spots. It also helps to fade red marks that are left over after a breakout too. So, again the easy difference between the two in terms of which, is right for you, BHA if you have any types of issues with clogged pore. In terms of your skin type, if you have dry, skin blackheads or if you have oily skin and blackheads really choosing from that point on is going to be looking at you know the level of moisture in a formula. If you have dry skin and and clogged pores then you would want to look for a more moisturizing, like a lotion based BHA. If you have oily skin, you’re probably going to want to stick with a lighter liquid formula or gel based. Something that’s going to be less emollient and just feels lighter on the skin. So AHA, glycolic acid, lactic acid AHA is a great option if you’re really only concerned with issues that affect the outside of your skin. Dry skin, uneven skin tones, sun damage discolorations. Primarily because AHA, like one of our fan favorites the Resist Daily Smoothing Treatment 5% AHA, is a great option because it only works on the outside, the surface layer of skin so it helps to break down dead skin and substances and discolorations on the outside of skin and so that’s a great option if really, you’re only concerned with that outside layer. AHAs really can’t do much for breakouts because they don’t have that ability to penetrate and get inside the pore. Now, this actually leads us to our first common question aside from what’s the difference between the two. Can AHAs do anything at all for breakouts? So, technically some exfoliation is certainly better than none. If you don’t use any type of chemical exfoliant, BHA or AHA, you’re going to have some layers of dead cells that are just collecting on that surface. You can get some benefit in terms of treating breakouts with AHA It’s just not as optimal as using a BHA formula for all those reasons I mentioned a moment ago. Those who do have very sensitive skin like rosacea or eczema can certainly go with a milder BHA. BHA is a great anti-inflammatory, it does have a lot of anti-redness properties so using a 1% BHA versus a 2%, is a great option for those who do have kind of a lot of skin sensitivities. Another quick one is can you overuse BHAs Or
AHAs? Really more from the perspective of, you know will you eventually run out of skin cells in terms of exfoliating. This is also called the Hayflick Limit. Sometimes if you’re on a discussion board and you see someone say, oh it’s the Hayflick Limit, your BHA, it is just killing you. In terms of what the reality behind that Is the Hayflick Limit is the the fear that you’re going to use up all your skin cells by exfoliating. You only have a certain amount that your body is going to produce. Well, BHAs and AHAs are only concerned with dead cells on the surface layer, they can’t affect at the base you know the base lower levels of skin where skin cells are produced. They have no impact on that. They’re only concerned with doing the maintenance work of the dead cells that are collecting on that surface layer so don’t worry about the Hayflick Limit, that’s just an Internet rumor kind of blown out of control. Last one is whether or not BHAs Or
AHAs are something you can use if you’re going to be outside during daylight hours, will it Increase your sensitivity to the sun. Oftentimes, especially on glycolic acid products you’ll see a little kind of warning on some things that say warning AHA can increase your sensitivity to the sun, make sure that you wear a sunscreen rated SPF 15 or higher when using these types of products. So that gets blown out of proportion quite a bit and what really that has to do with Is that whenever you exfoliate and break down those dead layers of skin, what you’re really doing is returning your skin to a bit of a younger state. When your body was younger, it did a much better job of exfoliating and clearing off dead layers of skin on its own. As we begin to age and the sun damage sets in and all sorts of other things happen, your body’s ability or your skin’s ability to exfoliate slows down so that’s why you know things like these are so helpful. Now, so when your skin is younger and it has you know, less issues with built up layers of dead skin, it’s also more sensitive to the sun. It’s not unusually sensitive to the sun, it’s not like you’re going have a sun allergy walking outside and bursting into flames. Really what that means is you just need to wear a sunscreen every day. Which if you’re concerned with anti-aging and just kind of keeping your skin in the best possible state is something you’re going to be doing anyway. So you can absolutely use a BHA or AHA during the daytime, just make sure you’re wearing your sunscreen SPF 15 or greater. Now if you’re going to be going on a tropical vacation where you’re in some super hot you know some intense climate and you’re going to be on the beach a lot then Yeah you might want to give your AHA Or BHA a break if that’s not a climate that you’re really used to. So I hope all that was helpful, if you would like to leave your feedback or if you have more questions, you can leave them in the comments section and next week another member of the Paula’s Choice Research Team will be here to answer them. This is Nathan, I hope that was Helpful.

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