The Secret to Beautiful Skin : AHAs and BHAs decoded

We are looking for that miracle ingredient that can simplify our skincare woes and help us keep beautiful, fresh and young skin all the time. We’re too lazy to go and get expensive treatments or they’re just so out of our budget that the skin we want remains a distant dream. But there is a skincare ingredient that can help you solve all these problems. AHAs and BHAs are touted to be those miracle ingredients that magically give you clear and fresh skin that maintains its youthful glow.


AHA is an acronym for alpha hydroxy acids.These are chemical exfoliants and that are used in  chemical peels. These are water soluble acids that are known to dissolve the bond that holds the dead skin cells together. This leads to falling apart of the uppermost layer of skin, revealing brighter healthy skin underneath. Hence, evening out fine lines, improving skin tone and reducing pore size.

Since these are water soluble they are mainly used for normal to dry skin.They are known to enhance the water holding capacity of the skin.Studies show that regular use of AHAs increases dermal thickness(think plump skin!) and improve collagen density(no wrinkles,yay!).

Common AHAs are

  • Glycolic acid
  • Lactic acid
  • Mandelic acid
  • Tartaric acid
  • Malic acid
  • Citric acid


BHAs are oil soluble acids known as beta hydroxy acids. These are known to unclog your pores and deeply clean them. BHAs help get rid of acne and are antibacterial and anti-inflammatory. These are used on oily skin and are very effective at breaking up sebum and degunking the skin by getting rid of whiteheads, blackheads and tiny bumps on the skin. Hence giving you a smooth flawless look.

Common BHAs

  • Salicylic acid
  • Citric acid(crossover acid)


  • They should be used according to skin type. AHAs for dry to normal and BHAs for Oily skin
  • When starting out, use in small quantities to test tolerance.
  • Use in a regular skincare routine after cleansing and toning.
  • For combination skin use AHAs on dry areas and BHAs on oily areas.
  • If you want to use both, use one in the morning and the other at night.
  • It is very important to wear sunscreen while using these treatments(and otherwise as well) since AHAs make skin photosensitive(sensitive to UV exposure).
  • There can be mild stinging and redness, skin may become dry and flaky. This should clear up in a few weeks.


  1. Paula s Choice 2% BHA Liquid – 4 oz Skin Perfecting
  2. Alpha Hydrox Oil Free Treatment 10 Percent Aha 1.7 Fl Oz.

Post Author: KhushiaKalia

6 thoughts on “The Secret to Beautiful Skin : AHAs and BHAs decoded

  • Anshu

    (June 20, 2017 - 9:55 am)


  • amisha

    (July 6, 2017 - 12:52 pm)

    very nice post

  • R. Alexandria

    (July 6, 2017 - 3:47 pm)

    This post might be a little too clinical for me. But I guess it’s good to pay attention to what ingredients you’re putting on your face. Thanks for sharing.

  • Dhanusha

    (July 6, 2017 - 4:14 pm)

    I had no idea about this. Very informative

  • Tricia

    (July 6, 2017 - 7:00 pm)

    Wow! This was so helpful. My skin has been very troublesome lately and I never exactly knew what AHA and BHA was until now. Definitely going to check out what’s in my skin care products to see if they have these ingredients!

  • Trupti Bhatt

    (July 6, 2017 - 11:00 pm)

    Didn’t knew about AHA’s & BHA’s. Very good information.

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