Ever since I was a child, I loved to make people feel and look beautiful.

What Are Alpha & Beta Hydroxy Acids?

You’ve most likely heard me or another skincare product/website use the terms ‘AHAs’ or ‘BHAs’… is that ringing a bell for you? If you’re like, ‘Colleen, you’re crazy, I’ve never heard of those before’, then it’s probably time we go more in-depth with them because they help a variety of skincare conditions & could benefit you in ways you hadn’t realized before.

Hydroxy Acids are very common active ingredients in skin care products to help reduce dark spots, improve acne & scarring, minimize the appearance of fine lines, and give the skin a healthy, dewey glow. There are two basic types: Alpha and Beta Hydroxy Acids.

AHA’s Basics – Dry, pigmented, acne (bumps), maturing skin

There are actually several different kinds of Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs). Glycolic acid being one of my most favorites (I’ve probably mentioned it 40 times by now)! Glycolic acid is derived from sugar cane or made synthetically in a lab and is actually the most common type of AHA.

AHA’s & specifically glycolic acid works by simply exfoliating. Yup, that’s it! Once applied, glycolic acid penetrates the top layer of the skin, weakening the goodies that hold the layers of skin down, allowing them to slough off smoothly and easily. And you know what that results in right!? Yup, smoother more evenly pigmented skin. In addition to removing dead skin cells, glycolic acid helps to bind water to the skin to increase skin hydration leading to a healthy glow.

BHA’s Basics – Acne, oily, large pores

Beta Hydroxy Acids (BHAs) are another class of goodies commonly used in skin care products. The best-known BHA, but not as popular as glycolic acid, is salicylic acid. More often than not, BHAs are used for people with acne-prone or oily skin types because of how well BHAs get deep into the pores to help remove blackheads, acne gunk & oil on the surface. So basically if you suffer from acne, BHAs should be your go-to!

Important things to note…..

  • Too much of a BHA or AHA can be bad for your skin… it can cause drying and irritation
  • Work into the product slowly
  • If you are using a product with BHA or AHA, please wear sunscreen at all times
  • You may notice unnecessary flaking but that’s a-okay
  • Follow the instructions on the packaging

Check out some of our favorite products below with these amazing ingredients!

#CheekyConfidential Consider putting BHA products on your hands to help with maturing skin!

Alpha Hydroxy Acids

Drunk Elephant Glycolic Acid Night Serum $90 #CheekysChoice

SkinMedica GlyPro $125

Glytone Rejuvenating Clay Mask $50 (can be drying, so recommend using on oily skin)

Beta Hydroxy Acids

SkinCeuticals Priming Toner $40

Avene Exfoliating Cream $32 #CheekysChoice (psoriasis sufferers loved this!)

PCA Skin Acne Gel $45

images compliments of their respective brands

I hope this has helped you better understand the difference between AHAs and BHAs! If you’ve got questions, just let us know in the comments section below!

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