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The Difference Between Exfoliating face Acids in Skincare: AHA, BHA, and PHA

Exfoliating the skin may be done with a variety of solutions available on the market. This is beneficial because the skin's natural capacity to do so decreases as we age. Chemical exfoliants like AHA (alpha hydroxy acid) and BHA (beta hydroxy acid) are well-known, but PHA (polyhydroxy acid) is relatively recent. They aid in the removal of old, dead skin cells, resulting in a more luminous complexion. Each of these acids, on the other hand, is designed for persons with specific skin types. This guide should assist you in determining which of these components will be most beneficial in addressing your skin troubles.


The term AHA refers to a group of acids that includes glycolic acid, lactic acid, tartaric acid, citric acid, malic acid, and mandelic acid. It is beneficial to persons who have dry, rough skin, like those who have keratosis pilaris. AHA is a water-soluble acid that works on the top layer of the skin. It works as an exfoliant and helps the skin retain moisture. Probably one of the best AHAs in skincare is glycolic acid. 

By levelling out the skin and smoothing fine lines and wrinkles, glycolic acid exfoliation can help repair UV damage. Apply sunscreen after exfoliating with glycolic acid since it makes the skin hypersensitive to the sun.

Benefits of AHA Skincare

These can help with wrinkles, uneven complexion, and hyperpigmentation by simply removing away at dead skin cells on the surface of the skin. You may notice a tiny tingling sensation while using it, but don't be alarmed; they're just doing their work.


Polyhydroxy acids, also known as gluconolactone, lactobionic acid, and maltobionic acid, are a group of acids in skincare that include gluconolactone, lactobionic acid, and maltobionic acid. Because PHAs have bigger molecular structures than AHAs, they are beneficial for those with sensitive skin, such as rosacea or eczema. 

As a result, they penetrate the skin more slowly and penetrate the skin less deeply. They also assist to retain moisture and gently exfoliate the skin. As a result, PHA, like AHA, can enhance the appearance of sun-damaged skin. Unlike AHA, PHA does not increase photosensitivity in the skin.

The Advantages of PHA Skincare

They're especially useful for people who find other acids to be too harsh.' PHAs can be used to resurface even the most sensitive skin types. Gluconolactone, Galactose, and Lactobionic are the most prevalent PHA acids - a lot to pronounce, but definitely worth looking out for next time you're searching for a new chemical cleanser.


Beta hydroxy acids, or BHAs, are a class of acids for skin that includes salicylic acid and various types of citric acid. It is beneficial to persons who have oily skin. BHA is fat-soluble, which means it enters deeper into the skin than AHA to unclog pores and reduce the production of oil. The appearance of larger pores can be reduced by clearing up the pores. 

Salicylic acid, specifically, is well-known for its ability to cure acne and reduce the appearance of blackheads. It exfoliates by breaking down the connections that hold dead skin cells together. Salicylic acid, similar to glycolic acid, has been found to have sun-protective properties.

People with dry, rough skin will benefit from AHA, while those with oily skin would benefit from BHA. For people with combination skin types, AHA, BHA, and PHA can be combined. Acid exfoliation should be done no more than 2 - 3 times each week. Irritation, redness, flaking, and/or intolerance to other beauty products are all signs of over-exfoliation. Acids must be used carefully around the eyes and neck, as the skin in these areas may be overly sensitive. Retinoids and acids also are exfoliants, hence these should never be used together.

Benefits of BHA Skincare

BHAs are oil-soluble, while AHAs are just water-soluble, thus they're good for persons with oily T-zones. They have antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, as well as the ability to penetrate underneath the oil that clogs the pores. As a consequence, they help in the decrease of redness and the removal of spots. The most common BHA is salicylic acid. It's available in a variety of compositions designed for spot remedies.

Always use an SPF when coping with acids

Remember to wear your SPF in the morning after using chemical exfoliation, since your skin will be more vulnerable to UVA rays. Exfoliate, SPF, and repeat it. SPF is necessary when exfoliating treatments, such as AHAs and BHAs, are used on the skin. Following these sorts of treatments, the skin is more prone to damage and pigmentation changes, and pigmentation might potentially worsen if SPF is not used.

Take Away

Each one has a different exfoliating level. On the other hand, each component may be employed to achieve a range of skincare goals. The AHA may be the greatest option if you're looking for a total anti-ageing solution. BHA may be the way to go if you want to minimise inflammation and get rid of acne. Whereas PHA helps to maintain the moisture in the skin.

If you're not sure which choice to choose, talk to your dermatologist.