When you buy skin care products, it’s important to pay attention to some of the ingredients in them. Your skin may not react well to some of these ingredients, thereby potentially causing more problems than helping it.
You may have seen the letters AHA or BHA on your creams or cleansers and wonder whether it’s good, bad, or right for you. Got oily skin? Well, then products with BHA are probably going to be more effective on your skin than those with AHA.
What is AHA?
AHA is the abbreviation for Alpha Hydroxy Acid. It’s typically used for cosmetic purposes, and is a compound often found in glycolic, lactic, or mandelic form. It is known to be water-soluble, which means if the cream you are using has AHA and you’ve got oily skin, you may be disappointed at the slow or complete lack of effect the cream might have on your skin.
AHA has been used in cosmetic mixtures for a long time. In fact, there’s even a brand name called Alpha Hydrox, which supplies most of their products with AHA in them. The following reasons might help you understand why this acid is so great for skincare:
Benefits of AHA
- Can stimulate collagen and elastin
- Can reduce age spots
- Can aide in anti-aging and reduce wrinkles
- Can repair sun damaged skin
- Can treat dry skin
Of course most products that sound too good to be true, don’t come without the possibility of side effects.
Possible side effects of AHA
- Increased photosensitivity
- Can cause scarring
- Can cause inflammation
- Can cause redness, even burning
The most important thing to consider when using products with AHA is that an increased amount of sunscreen may be necessary, due to its photosensitivity.
What is BHA?
Beta Hydroxy Acid or BHA is also known to many people as salicylic acid and used mainly for acne fighting products. We mentioned AHA being water-soluble above. BHA is different in that it’s oil-soluble, which means it can get right through the oil. This might sound as if clogged pores can be possible, but it’s in fact the opposite. Those with deep acne may gain a better response with BHA products due to its ability to penetrate deep through pores.
Benefits of BHA
- Makes an effective exfoliant
- Penetrates deeper into the pores than AHA can
- Moisture retaining
- Effective at treating breakouts
- Effective at removing blackheads
Possible side effects of BHA
- May cause itching and other skin irritations
- May cause scarring
- Increased sensitivity to sun
Just like AHA, BHA can provide many benefits for your skin. However, when using products containing this acidic compound, it’s best to use a minimum of SPF 30+ sunscreen. Sun protection is key to any anti-aging regimen.