There are AHA vs BHA, and while neither acid is better than the other, they target different needs and skin types.

Plus, many exfoliants combine both ingredients, allowing you to tackle multiple skin concerns at once (more on that later).

What Are AHAs?

  • AHA stands for alpha-hydroxy acid. “AHAs result from sugar cane or other plant sources, which is why they are often mentioned as fruit acids,” says Howe.
  • According to Howe, among AHAs is glycolic acid, the minimum of the AHAs resulting from sugar cane, and is the most excellent widely used type in skincare products.
  • Markowitz minutes that AHAs are generally optional for normal to dry, sun-damaged skin, thanks to their ability to enhance natural creaming factors within the skin.

What Are BHAs?

  • BHA stands for beta-hydroxy acid. That ever-popular acne-busting ingredient, salicylic acid? Yep, that’s a BHA.
  • “BHAs are biological carboxylic acids that work on skin’s surface and deep inside the pore,” explains Markowitz.
  • “They are oil-soluble, so it’s most often favouring for normal to oily skin that’s prone to bumps, clogs, blemishes, and enlarged pores.
  • ” Howe records that while BHAs are structurally similar to AHAs, they differ “in their position of the one hydroxyl group.”

How to Choose AHA vs BHA?

  • Once choosing between AHA and BHA, it comes down to how you want the products to work, along with your skin concerns.
  • If your subjects are more profound, like cystic acne or just acne in general, you’ll need to use BHA or an AHA/BHA combination, as it will probably better penetrate the issue.
  • Aimed at an issue like dry skin, though, AHA is your best bet. An AHA/BHA combo might work liable on your skin type, but when your area is to exfoliate fair, the top layer of your skin.
  • The subject would be best if you were using an AHA. Markowitz clarifies that AHAs and BHAs and their strengths are dependent on the mode and formula.
  • “E.g., an in-office peel could have a substantial impact on the skin with associated downtime.
  • Though an over-the-counter cream containing these ingredients will give a more limited effect that takes time to accomplish the desired result,” she says.
  • “Nonetheless, assumed the potential drying properties of humectants, which attraction moisture from within, their use must be with intent and purpose, non as a daily regimen.”

How can we Combine AHAs and BHAs?

  • Numerous products make use of both AHAs and BHAs. However, they can cause skin irritation if doses are too high.
  • Markowitz recommends looking at a moisturizer that already has a combination of AHA and BHA for a balanced formula.
  • The outcome, if your skin needs a little more TLC (think stubborn pores, deep-set wrinkles, or uneven bumps), you could do fine with a combo.

Shop the Best AHA products

1.SkinCeuticals C + AHA:

  • Lactic acid is the alpha hydroxy acid that exfoliates the skin. Its molecule is slightly greater than glycolic acid.
  • Since it works a bit more gently and doesn’t penetrate the skin’s outermost layer as easily.
  • “This mixture of two AHAs (glycolic and lactic acids) through vitamin C and hyaluronic acid (HA). Here HA soothes the skin, making the AHAs more tolerable. Though vitamin C provides antioxidant activity,” says Howe.

2. Dr Dennis Gross Skincare Alpha Beta Universal Daily Peel:

  • Once it comes to AHA products, this peel from Dr Dennis Gross is the holy grail. It fixes everything from clearing pores to stimulating collagen production.
  • Likewise, it reduces the appearance of fine lines, all in an easy, two-step peel process.

3. Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Framboos Glycolic Resurfacing Night Serum:

  • Featuring an AHA/BHA combo, this serum promises to transform congested skin into a smoother, clearer complexion.

Shop the Best BHA products

1. Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant:

  • This excellent lightweight, leave-on formula customs BHA help shed any dead skin cells and tighten up enlarged pores.

2. Herbivore Blue Tansy Invisible Pores Resurfacing Clarity Mask:

  • The Fend off breakouts with this clarifying and cooling gel mask. It’s made with willow bark, a natural BHA high in salicylic acid,2 to treat any blemishes and prevent future breakouts.

3. CosRx BHA Blackhead Power Liquid:

  • We like this BHA-infused liquid post-toning for stubborn blackheads—it effectively eliminates excess sebum to reduce blackhead production and unclogs pores.