AHA vs. BHA - What’s the Difference?

AHA vs. BHA - What’s the Difference?

Exfoliation is no more just scrubbing microbeads. Instead, chemical exfoliants like hydroxy acids (AHA & BHA) are now used to slough off dead skin cells and unclog pores while improving skin texture. Both the exfoliants have stellar benefits. However, depending on your skin type, you may want to use the one. Keep scrolling to learn a little more about Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA) & Beta Hydroxy Acid (BHA) and the difference between the two.

What are AHAs?

AHAs (Alpha Hydroxy Acids) are water-soluble acids derived from sugars and fruits that help exfoliate the skin. They do not go deep inside the pore and only exfoliate your skin on the surface, revealing the fresh new cells underneath. AHAs do this by removing the calcium ions from the bonds that hold skin cells together, weakening the bond and allowing exfoliation.

Benefits of AHA

  • Improves skin texture
  • Hydrates skin
  • Gets rid of dead skin cells
  • Fights sun damage, and dullness
  • Regenerates collagen
  • Plumps the skin

What are BHAs?

BHAs (Beta Hydroxy Acids) are oil-soluble acids derived from Willow tree bark, Sweet Birch bark, or wintergreen leaves. Just like AHAs, BHAs exfoliate your skin on the surface. However, they also work deep inside your pores, removing the buildup of dead skin and sebum that leads to clogging and stretched-out pores.

Benefits of BHA

  • Removes excess buildup from the pores
  • Helps control breakouts
  • Reduces blackheads & whiteheads
  • Encourages an even complexion
  • Reduces inflammation
  • Promotes youthfulness
  • Gentle on your skin

Pretty awesome stuff, right? Let’s now focus on the differences between AHAs and BHAs.

AHA vs. BHA: What are the key differences?

Water-soluble Oil-soluble
Works on the surface Penetrates deep inside the pores
For dry & dehydrated skin For oily and acne-prone skin
Fights dead skin, sun damage, dullness, and dehydration Fights blackheads, acne breakouts, and uneven skin tone
Stimulates collagen production Reduces inflammation
No effect on sebum Slows down sebum secretion
Don’t affect pores Helps them look smaller
Examples - Glycolic Acid, Lactic Acid, Citric Acid Examples - Salicylic Acid, Lipohydroxy Acid


AHAs and BHAs offer many shared benefits to your skin. Both help slough off dead skin cells, reduce pores, minimize fine lines, improve skin texture, and prevent breakouts. However, there are a few features that make them different. We hope you enjoyed reading about them. Hope you like our blogs, for getting more interesting skincare to connect with us.

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