Hydroxy acids come in two forms that are topically applied to the skin: alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) and beta hydroxy acids (BHAs). Although each of these acids addresses different concerns, they can both be used to improve the skin.
Hydroxy acids are liquid exfoliants. The difference between a liquid and a physical exfoliant is pretty simple:
- A liquid exfoliant is a molecule that helps to turn over old skin cells to help uncover new skin.
- A physical exfoliant is something such as a buffing sponge, silicone scrubber, or skin-cleansing device (such as a rotating brush or ultrasound).
One huge advantage to using liquid exfoliants is their ability to reach deeper into the skin to positively affect everything from rough skin texture and uneven skin tone to acne and clogged pores.
Here’s the scoop on each type of exfoliant and what they do.
Benefits of AHA Alpha Hydroxy Acid
To exfoliate the top layer of dead skin cells, an AHA product (fruit acid molecule) is the best choice. This type of exfoliant works great for anti-aging because it helps combat common signs of aging including:
- Dull appearance
- Rough skin texture
- Brown spots from sun damage
- Reduce fine lines and wrinkles
- Promote faster skin cell turnover
Another interesting fact is that AHA is water soluble, meaning that it dissolves easily in water. This allows it to effectively exfoliate the surface of the skin.
Be aware; AHAs in higher concentrations are much more effective, but they are also more irritating.
To start, try a 5% glycolic acid solution every other day. Then, work up to using it every day. After your skin is used to that, you can increase to a higher concentration (such as a 10% or 15% solution).
The only drawback with water soluble AHA is that it cannot penetrate deep into pores, which are filled with skin oils. That’s where BHAs come in!
Benefits of BHA Beta Hydroxy Acid
BHA exfoliants are oil soluble, meaning that they dissolve in oil. This is ideal for penetrating oily pores to dissolve dead skin cells, dirt, and oil that are trapped inside of pores.
BHAs can help with:
- Clearing out clogged pores
- Reducing the incidence of blackheads and whiteheads
- Reducing acne breakouts
- Helping pores to look smaller
- Reducing redness
BHAs can cause redness and irritation when used in higher concentrations, so if you have sensitive skin, start off with a lower strength such as a 1% salicylic acid lotion. Once you’re used to it, you can increase to a 2% product for maximum benefits.
Medical Grade Skin Care | Anti-aging & Acne | Dr. Aeria Chang, San Diego
Dr. Aeria Chang has been providing effective skin care solutions for acne and anti-aging in Mission Valley since 2008.
Her practice, Beatitude Aesthetic Medicine, is San Diego’s top choice for solving akin concerns like acne, wrinkles, uneven skin tone, rough texture, and sagging, loose skin.
Dr. Chang offers advanced laser procedures, feminine health services, RF microneedling, hair restoration for women, platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections, BOTOX® & dermal fillers, PDO threads, ultrasound, professional skin care lines, and so much more.
Call her today at (619) 280-1609 for your consultation to find out what she will recommend to help you get glowing again with beautiful looking skin.