Once cut loose, those cells can then fall off, or exfoliate.". But unlike AHAs, BHAs are oil-soluble, which means they can go deep inside your pores to target oil glands and decrease oil secretion. "Alpha-hydroxy acids are safe for most skin types, but I tend to caution those with darker skin tones to start low due to the risk of superficial chemical burns," says Dr. Dhaval G. Bhanusali, a dermatologist based in New York City. A full skin-care routine from The Ordinary could set you back less than the cost of drinks and apps, and last much longer. Please don't do this! When choosing between AHA and BHA, it comes down to the way in which you want the products to work along with your skin concerns. There’s never been a skin-care line quite like The Ordinary—obsessed with clinical results and pure ingredients, allergic to seductive branding and fake promises, the company is a rare case of All the Hype Is Deserved (truly, just read our extensive reviews of all the best The Ordinary products). Since BHAs remove the pore-cloggers that lead to acne, salicylic acid is best for preventing blackheads and whiteheads. AHAs are also best for people with dry skin. Jenny Singer is a staff writer at Glamour. However! Featuring a AHA/BHA combo, this serum promises to transform congested skin into a smoother, clearer complexion. If you use it incorrectly, your skin will be raw, red, and even damaged. And one absolute dire warning: If you use exfoliants but do not use SPF every single day, you are helping the sun damage your skin. It includes AHAs, or alpha hydroxy acids (glycolic, lactic, tartaric, and citric) and beta hydroxy acid (salicylic acid) at a very high concentration. For one, they target all areas of the skin. However, when you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission. "Retinol is strong as is, and combining it with chemical exfoliants may lead to red, irritated skin," says Dr. Bhanusali. It exerts this effect in a similar way to what AHAs do—by ungluing dead skin cells from each other—but salicylic acid penetrates deeply," he notes. True, our skin goes through a natural exfoliating process daily, but with lack of sun protection and age, that process of shedding tends to slow down—or end altogether. I didn't mind the tiny pinprick feeling of the mask because it gave me joy to imagine that the chemicals were munching up the dead cells and oil on my face. It looks like the terrifying “vampire facial” that’s popular with Kim Kardashian West and Gwyneth Paltrow, but it’s blissfully not made out of your own blood. This super lightweight, leave-on formula uses BHA to shed away any dead skin cells and tighten up enlarged pores. Makeup ideas, product reviews, and the latest celebrity trends—delivered straight to your inbox. But mechanical exfoliation may cause micro-tears in ultra-sensitive skin — in which case, chemical exfoliation is a gentler alternative that can help you achieve a glowing complexion. They do this by gently cleaving the retained bonds between dead skin cells. I used the mask twice a week, avoiding any other acid products throughout the week, and significantly lowered my normal retinol usage. "They are oil-soluble, so it’s most often preferred for normal to oily skin that's prone to bumps, clogs, blemishes, and enlarged pores." In short, yes — especially if you're looking to fight acne. Just don't forget to apply moisturizer afterwards. How to Choose AHA vs. BHA . As an Editorial Fellow for Good Housekeeping, Katie covers health, beauty, home, and pop culture. Products are sorted into categories like Molecules and Peptides and have names like EUK 134 0.1%. Among the depths of Reddit and TikTok, there is a new horror: people spilling scarlet liquid from a glass vial dropper across their face. sunscreen with an SPF level of at least 30. When I used the product the fourth time, I noticed that I had a small but noticeable red patch on my face that I had never seen before—not a scratch, not a breakout, just an angry, immovable red patch. That ever-popular acne-busting ingredient, salicylic acid? Fades sun spots, melasma, mild acne scars, and other forms of hyperpigmentation, Tackles signs of aging, such as wrinkles and fine lines, Calms down skin redness and fades inflammation. So, a little help from some exfoliating products is often needed for glowy skin. (I typically use this one from The Ordinary. The Ordinary Peeling Solution (aka The Ordinary AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution) is going viral for its impressive results. TimeWise Repair® Revealing Radiance® Facial Peel, RevitaLift® Bright Reveal Brightening Daily Peel Pads, the microdelivery triple-acid brightening peel pads, T.L.C. "In the highest concentrations, it is used to treat warts. You may be able to find the same content in another format, or you may be able to find more information, at their web site. Even if you are inside every single day, you need to wear sunscreen if you are as vain about your skin as I am. For this reason, they should be used when you want your skin to glow a few times a week as opposed to every day. Markowitz explains that AHAs and BHAs and their strengths are dependent on the mode and formula. Instagram has popularized the image of touching a glass vial of skin care directly to your skin. The HA soothes the skin, making the AHAs more tolerable, while vitamin C provides antioxidant activity," says Howe. ", Users of BHAs will reap the skin-calming properties of the acid (it gets bonus points for being gentle enough for sensitive skin types, including those prone to redness or rosacea). She has also worked with Allure, New York Magazine, InStyle magazine and Refinery29. Doing this moves the dirt from your skin into your bottle of product and contaminates it. "For example, an in-office peel could have a substantial impact on the skin with associated downtime, while an over-the-counter cream containing these ingredients will give a more limited effect that takes time to accomplish the desired result," she says. Which Is Better: the Treadmill or the Elliptical? Packaged in a clear bottle that needs to be stored out of direct light to protect some of its beneficial ingredients, this toner’s lightweight fluid texture is … Learn from my mistake. BHAs are very similar in chemical structure to AHAs. Should You Get a Glycolic, Salicylic, or TCA Peel? "These features explain why SA is used in a lot of OTC acne products.". AHAs and BHAs are the two main types of acids that exfoliate skin. If your issues are deeper, like cystic acne or just acne in general, you'll want to use either BHA or an AHA/BHA combination, as it'll be able to better penetrate the issue. The line gives luxury ingredients at fast food prices—if you’re willing to brush up on your high school science knowledge. Markowitz warns that AHAs and BHAs are strong humectants that have a peeling effect and can cause the skin to dry out if overused. Markowitz agrees, adding that AHAs been proven effective in reducing the visible signs of sun damage and wrinkles (FYI: AHAs don't replace sunscreen). In fact, there are two forms of exfoliating acids that can make sifting through the plethora of options feel like more like a daunting task than a fun trip to the skincare aisle. Salicylic acid: By far the most common type of BHA, salicylic acid is best known for its acne-fighting abilities. Both chemical and physical exfoliation removes dead skin cells, which improves skin texture, and can keep acne and signs of aging at bay. The Ordinary Peeling Solution is distinguished from the brand’s other exfoliators because it is a wash-off mask, unlike, for example, the Glycolic Acid 7% toning solution, which you swipe on with a cotton pad, or the Salicylic Acid 2% solution, which you use as a spot treatment.