It looks like alphabet soup, but trust us: They're good for your skin! Finding the right AHA, BHA, or PHA exfoliants to use can be tricky. But, once you know what these ingredients are best at, it becomes simple and easy! Each one has its own perks, and the best ways to use them. Keep your skincare goals in mind, and keep reading. We'll help you find the right solution!
What is the difference between AHA, BHA, and PHA Exfoliators?
AHA is short for “alpha hydroxy acid”. This ingredient is made from sugary fruits, and is water-soluble. Common examples of AHA are glycolic acid, made from sugar cane, and lactic acid, another natural ingredient. It's better for surface-level exfoliation. BHA is the abbreviation for “beta hydroxy acid”, and include the well-known ingredient salicylic acid. These exfoliants are oil-soluble, and can get deeper into the skin. PHA, or “poly hydroxic acid”, is another chemical exfoliant. One of the more commonly used examples is gluconolactone, known by its easier-to-remember abbreviation GDL. This one has a gentler touch than the others, making it better for sensitive skin.
What to Use and How Often
If you're looking for something to help with discolouration, then this is the exfoliant for you! AHA targets the surface of the skin, making it the best way to deal with surface-level problems including discolouration and uneven patches of skin. At the same time, it can also help with deep issues, reaching into the skin to repair damage. How often you use AHA depends on your skin. Some products, such as our Clarifying Toner, can be used every day. It's a gentle solution, with the glycolic acid and lactic acid working on two levels to repair damage. For others, you should aim for no more than three times per week. Let your skin be the guide!
Dealing with acne? How about sun damage? Both of these problems have one thing in common: They affect skin at a level that is deeper than the surface. Luckily, that's exactly where BHAs go to work! Exfoliating on a deeper level means that you can begin undoing damage done that you can't reach with a sugar scrub. The only BHA you'll find in skincare, salicylic acid is a great solution to deep-skin problems like acne. It helps to reduce and clear out oil in your pores, diminishing your acne and helping your skin. A good example is our Clarifying Jelly Cleanser. Depending on how sensitive your skin is, you can use BHA as frequently as twice a day. You can also use it as little as every two days.
This is the best solution for someone whose skin just doesn't handle exfoliants well. PHAs are a gentler option for undoing skin damage. While also gently exfoliating your skin, it also hydrates it. It can cleanse your pores, remove dead skin, and get rid of the last traces of your makeup. Use it up to three days consecutively, or whatever fits your skin right. For a more gentle touch, combine it with a soothing ingredient.