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  • Kacie Krecolowich R.Ac

AHA's vs BHA's - Which is better for your skin?

AHA's vs BHA's

Acids are commonly used skincare products that exfoliate and resurface the skin. There are many different kinds of acids and I’m going to go through the most common ones + their benefits in this blog post!



Alpha Hydroxy Acids are water soluble ingredients that help to break down the bonds between your skin which allows you to shed the dead skin cells. This makes them beneficial for anyone with a normal to dry skin type. The two most popular AHA’s are Glycolic Acid + Lactic Acid.

Glycolic Acid is the stronger of the two, and is derived from sugar cane. Glycolic acid is a smaller molecular which allows it to penetrate deeper into the skin but with that it can potentially cause some irritation. It’s best to start with a smaller percentage to get your skin used to it.

Lactic Acid is much gentler on the skin, and is derived from milk products. It’s molecularly larger then Glycolic Acid which means it doesn’t penetrate as deep or as fast, which is what makes it more gentle.

Both of these AHA’s are great for reducing fine lines + wrinkles, brightening hyperpigmentation, improving dull, uneven skin tones, and increasing smoothness + texture issues. When starting with any type of acid in your skincare routine I recommend starting small and building up a tolerance. There are other AHA's out there, including Citric, Malic + Mandelic Acids, but these are usually mixed with other acids in a formula to make them more effective then when used on their own.



Beta Hydroxy Acids are oil soluble ingredients that penetrate deeper into the skin which unclogs the pores, making them especially beneficial for anyone with an oily, acne prone skin. There is only one BHA that you will ever hear about and that is Salicylic Acid.

Salicylic Acid is derived from the bark of the willow tree. Besides the resurfacing benefit, it also has a calming and anti inflammatory effect on the skin.

BHA’s are great for reducing oily skin, calming redness, reducing blackheads + whiteheads, cleaning out pores, and stopping bacterial growth.


Products shown are from the brand The Ordinary sold under the brand Deciem.

Left to right: Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution, Lactic Acid 10% + HA, Salicylic Acid 2%


When using any acid on the skin, make sure you are using a sunscreen as they make you more sensitive to the sun. Also don't use two acids at the same time unless recommended by a professional or an already formulated mixture of acids. I think acids can be highly beneficial to add into your skincare routine, if needed, for a short amount of time to help you...


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