Follow on Bloglovin Many Skin Care products today contain AHA's (alpha hydroxy acids) and BHA's (beta hydroxy acids), so I thought it was time to simply explain the differences and benefits of fruit acids. I will also answer the question commonly asked in my treatment room "will AHA unclog my pores?' AHA's: 
  • Can either be natural or synthetic
  • Glycolic, malic, mandelic, citric, tartaric and lactic are all common AHA's used in today's cosmetic industry
  • In most cosmetic preparations these acids are usually naturally derived glycolic (sugar cane), lactic (sour milk), malic (apples), tartaric (grape wine), citric (citrus fruits), mandelic (almonds)
  • The most common AHA used is Glycolic Acid because it has the smallest molecular size and can penetrate deep within in the skin. I find though that this acid can be quite drying on the skin and I prefer only my oily skin client to use this type of acid.
  • The way AHA's work in the skin is like this. Imagine your skin is a brick wall, when an AHA is placed onto the top of the brick wall (surface of your skin), the AHA will slowly breakdown the mortar that holds the bricks together. Resulting in a smooth and fresh appearance to the skin.
  • Lactic on the other hand I prefer to use for my normal to dry skin types as it is gentler and actually hydrating on the skin. It increase the moisture in the skin unlike the drying effects of glycolic.
  • Glycolic, lactic and citric in clinic treatments have shown to have an effect on the dermis (2nd layer of skin), by increasing collagen without any irritation to the skin.
  • AHA's are water soluble
BHA's:
  • refers to Salicylic Acid
  • BHA's are oil (lipid) soluble, meaning this is the type of acid you want if you want to unclog your pores. BHA can work its way into your pore and breakdown the oil plug that leads to breakouts.
  • Derived from Aspirin
Recommendations:
  • Normal to Dry Skin Type: Lactic Acid
  • Oily Skin Type: Glycolic Acid
  • Dehydated Oily Skin Type: Lactic and Glycolic
  • Breakout Skins: Salicylic Acid (BHA)
  • For best results, let your aesthetician guide you as to which product is best for you, AHA or BHA
  • Your aesthetician will also guide you as to how often you should use these products as this largely depends on the strength and your skin type and condition.
  • Always use a spf when using acids in your skin care regime as they can make you burn a lot more easily.
Have a question about this topic? Or have a totally different question that you would like me to answer? Please email me here: sarah@skinmatrix.com.au Want advice with your Skin Care? Not sure which products are best for you? Complete our Matrix Program, an online skin care consultation for professional advice. Happy Skin Days, Sarah Wilkinson