From dermatologists to beauty bloggers, everyone is talking about chemical exfoliators, AHAs and BHAs. I’m going to explain what they are, what they do, how to use them in your skincare routine and which ones are best for which skin types.
What do Chemical Exfoliators Do?
AHAs and BHAs (standing for Alpha Hydroxy Acids and Beta Hydroxy Acids) can be used to help fight signs of aging, improve skin complexion and uneven skin tone and improve acne. Often when they are talked about, people mention a ‘glow‘ from the exfoliation revealing brighter, fresher skin.
Although often linked together, AHAs and BHAs have a slightly different mechanisms and work in different ways. AHAs are water soluble and work on the outer most layer of your skin while BHAs are oil soluble, which means they are able to penetrate much deeper in to your skin to unclog your pores
What are AHAs?
Glycolic Acid and Lactic acid are the most common forms of Alpha Hydroxy Acids, derived from fruit sugars and sour milk respectively (don’t worry, they don’t smell like either!).
AHAs work by breaking and loosening up the bonds formed between dead skin cells. This allows the skin’s rejuvenation process to be more effective; as this top layer of skin sheds, new healthy cells are able to emerge to give you a radiant, youthful look.
By removing these dead skin cells, your skin is also able to absorb other products like serums and moisturisers more effectively, so AHAs can make great toners. They are also great for helping to target pigmentation and brown spots and are a great ingredient in anti-ageing skincare.
Because AHAS have humectant properties, helping to lock in moisture, they are ideal for drier skin types and won’t dry out your skin.
You should also introduce AHAs slowly into your skin care routine, in order to work out the best concentration for your skin and avoid irritation. Start using them once or twice a week and then increase usage as required by your skin.
As you skin gets exfoliated, it is also really important that you use a great SPF with these products as your new skin is more prone to sun damage.