Chemical exfoliation became a popular trend in the last few years: we can find multiple products with alpha and beta hydroxy acids in korean inspired skincare’s routine. What are the benefits of beta hydroxy acids in our skincare routine? Let’s find it together.

What are beta hydroxy acids?

Beta hydroxy acids or BHA are a group of chemical acidi that are able to penetrate in the deepest skin layers. The most used in the cosmetics industries is salicylic acid that comes from white willow. It’s a fat soluble compound and this trait makes it perfect for oily and combination skin for its affinity with sebum.

What are the benefits in using BHA?

Thanks to his chemical composition, BHA can work deeper, dissolving sebum and revealing itself to be an effective treatment for blackheads and blemishes. Some of them are origins from plants, like salicylic acid from white willow, and have antiinflammatory properties, making them perfect to treat irritation and post acne spots.

They help refine the skin texture and reduce the size of pores. In addition they smooth and exfoliate the skin, helping in reducing the appearance of wnrixles, small lines and even sun spots. They can benefit from not just combination and oily skin but also mature skin.

Beta hydroxy acids are not only active which can benefit combination skin, oily skin or acne-prone skin, but are also excellent allies for mature skin.

Where you can find and how can you use BHA in your routine

Salicylic acid is a non-photosensitizing acid: it can be used in the morning as in the night, in every season without contraindications.Even so, applying sunscreen in the morning is advisable.

We can find BHA in different skincare products:

  • Cleanser, to smooth the skin texture and deep cleansing of the pore even in this first step;
  • toner or exfoliating pads , in which we can find the active in a highest concentration;
  • serum or moisturizer, where is balanced with soothing and hydrating ingredients;
  • Body cream, in which we find particularly smoothing and antibacterial goals.

We can’t find it in eye creams, because the under area is too sensitive and delicate to benefit from this exfoliant acid for the reduction of small lines and wrinkles.
For seeing the best result with BHA, they advise to use an exfoliating toner in your skincare routine and apply it on the skin maximum twice a week, before toner and after cleansing.

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    Exfoliating Liquid Salicylic Acid, Vitamin B3 and Aloe


BHA and AHA: all the differences

In the hydroxy acid family we can also find alpha hydroxy acid, or AHA. There are two main different feature from BHA:

  • AHA are hydroxyl compounds, linked to an atom of carbon, while BHA links to two atoms of carbon. That’s why AHA is a water-soluble molecule and BHA fat-soluble molecule one, that penetrate in the deepest layers of the skin while AHA just in the corneal layer.
  • Most types of AHAs have animal or fruit origins and they are mostly photosensitizing. They can be used only in the evening and with the right amount of sunscreen in the morning, even if we don’t go sunbathing at the beach.

What ingredients do not use with Beta hydroxy acids

There are some active that can’t be used for their formulation or ph with BHA, like:

  • BHA and Benzoyl Peroxide: they are two strong exfoliants that have simil antibacterial properties and cannot be used in the same routine. Benzoyl Peroxide is an extremely aggressive ingredient even used alone, recommended by dermatologists only in case of severe skin condition. Using it with BHAs can cause severe irritation to the skin.
  • BHA and Vitamina C: even these two active can’t be used together, for their ph and formulation. They cancel each other’s action and it’s likely that the skin will be sentivitized and irritated. They can be used in two different moments of our skincare, using one product in the morning and the other at night.
  • BHA and Retinolo: although they both have exfoliating, purifying, anti aging properties, Retinol cannot be used along with Bha’s. They have a different formulation and their match can only irritate the skin.