Chemical exfoliants (AHA, BHA) benefits for skin

Aneela Shabbir

Chemical exfoliants benefits for skin

It has grown to be accepted recently as a method of getting a slimmer, clearer, youthful skin appearance. While physical scrubs are effective because they physically shift the dead skin cells away from the skin’s surface through friction.

Chemicals are used in chemical exfoliants to dissolve the dead cells to create a fresh layer. Of the wide category of chemical exfoliants, there are Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs) and Beta Hydroxy Acids (BHAs). They both have advantages in their specific characteristic, however, they also consist of certain dis underline points. Let’s unhide the benefits of chemical exfoliants for skin along with possible side effects.

Chemical exfoliants benefits for skin

What are AHAs and their benefits?

AHAs are water-soluble acids that are naturally sourced from fruits and some plants or trees found out there. Examples of AHAs are glycolic acid from sugar cane, lactic acid from milk, citric acid from citrus, and mandelic acid from almonds. AHAs are mainly used on the outer layers of the skin. The major role is to shed the outer layer of the skin, thus creating a new layer. Such a mechanism of exfoliation can be particularly useful for clients who want to achieve smoother and even-toned skin. Because it promotes the removal of the outer layer of dead and dull skin cells.

AHAs work to shed the outer layer of the skin and therefore produce an effective new layer, which can then enhance the skin’s texture. The skin can become renewed if used regularly and this is because fine lines, wrinkles and skin’s surface roughness can be minimized.

As also stimulates the skin to function better, while also helping to slough off the top layer of skin, making the skin appear brighter. It can further result in the skin glowing with increased beauty and flexibility that comes with a young age.

Glycolic acid, among the AHAs, helps in collagen synthesis. Collagen is required to help keep skin young, firm and elastic thus preventing the ageing of the skin. The epidermis that has been shed is most likely to accept other topical treatments.

The usage of AHAs can enhance the skin’s ability to absorb moisturizers, serums, and most other types of treatment products. AHAs can aid in lightening dark places on the skin as a result of sun exposure or acne. This eventually helps so that skin tone becomes smooth and never differs in colour at any part of the body.

Side effects of AHAs

However, AHAs can lead to skin sensitization, skin irritation, redness and generally skin inflammation, especially among those people with sensitive skin and also ones who are new to the use of chemical peels. It is also recommended to use a low concentration first before gradually raising the concentration that can be applied to the skin. AHAs can irritate the skin increasing its sensitivity to the sun, thus heightening the chances of getting sunburn and UV damage.

To minimize the side effects of AHAs on the skin, one should use sunscreen daily. When AHA concentrations are used at a frequency such that an impairment of the skin barrier potential is caused, the result is over-exfoliation. This can lead to dryness, flaking, irritation, and even rashes on the skin based on the position of the skin affected.

What are BHAs and their benefits?

Beta Hydroxy Acids (BHAs) are oil-soluble acids and the most frequently used BHA is the salicylic acid. As BHAs go deeper into the pore, they are exceptionally beneficial, especially for people with oily skin and acne. Salicylic acid used in the preparation is obtained from willow bark. Salicylic acid is an anti-inflammatory and antibacterial agent. BMHs are not restricted to working on the outer layer of skin like AHAs, they can penetrate the pore. It dissolves the oil boasting of acne, making it an effective weapon in the fight against acne.

BHAs are oil soluble, so these penetrate deep into the pores to dissolve the residues of sebum and other particles. It is due to this reason that they are highly recommended for use in clearing blackheads as well as acne. Salicylic acid is most often used in BHA, which has anti-inflammatory effects and can alleviate the condition of irritated skin. This is very advantageous for those who have sensitive skin or skin conditions such as acne.

Arguably, the inherent anti-inflammatory properties of the lot BHAs make them effective in acne prevention and management because they control bacteria and lessen inflammation in the pores. The skin may change for the better, having fewer imperfections and therefore looking clearer if the oil is applied frequently.

Similar to AHAs, BHAs are also beneficial in the improvement of skin texture since they will exfoliate the dead skin cell accumulation and encourage cell regeneration. This can lead to a less ‘bumpy’, high concentration of the components and hence give it a polished look.

Practical cones: Oily-skinned individuals will benefit from BHAs as they have sebum control plus no pore-clogging advantages.

Side Effects of BHAs

Intolerance to BHAs leads to dryness and skin peeling mainly due to the harshness of the compound. Thus, it should be remembered that to minimize the side effects of BHA, it is used together with hydration and moisturizing.

Subscribers of BHAs may encounter a first purge or breakout because the skin is purging toxins when used. This is normally a temporary problem but could be rather demoralising. Compared to AHAs, BHAs are considered to be less harsh on the skin, but they can also irritate the skin if applied at high concentrations. However, there is a possibility of the development of an allergy to salicylic acid though this is rarely experienced by users. Before using a new BHA product one must apply a patch test to avoid side effects.

Precautions for chemical exfoliants

When incorporating AHAs or BHAs into your skin care regimen, it is recommended to use a lower concentration. Furthermore, use them two to three times a week. Its usage should be gradually increased and the focus intensified as the skin develops immunity to it. It is always advised to do a patch test when using a new chemical exfoliant to avoid a reaction.

Use a good moisturizer afterwards to help maintain the integrity of the skin barrier and avoid scurf and skin inflammation. Applying sunscreen daily when using AHAs or BHAs to counter increased sun vulnerability and UV harm is advisable. Know your skin when you are using chemical exfoliants. For persistent skin irritation or skin rashes, it is recommended that you decrease its usage or stop using the product altogether and seek medical advice from a dermatologist.

AHAs and BHAs give many advantages to skin texture, tone, and clarity enhancement. AHAs are more suitable for immediate surface renewal, improving skin luminosity, and decreasing the first signs of ageing. However, BHAs should be used for deep cleansing, acne treatment, and inflammation reduction. Nonetheless, both are not free from side effects such as skin sensitization, skin dryness, and instances of over-exfoliation. Understanding the advantages and drawbacks of AHAs and BHAs, the types of procedures that can be done using them and their precautions will help to get better and stunning skin without negatively affecting your body.


Therefore, AHAs and BHAs are effective weapons that may be used for the face and body with several advantages. These are effective especially when it comes to the treatment of skin texture, colour and general condition. By knowing the type of chemical acids, characteristics, hazards and precautions, one can know the way to apply them to the skin.

Regardless of being utilized singularly or conjointly, both AHAs and BHAs are enormously powerful. These help transform the skin’s aspect, bringing out the younger and healthier skin on the exterior. Nonetheless, as with any strong active substance included in cosmetics, it is necessary to be cautious. Monitor the reaction of your skin, and consult a specialist if problems appear. This will aid in receiving the best outcomes with minimal side effects.

Which chemical exfoliant is best for the skin?

If someone has slightly hyperpigmented skin then you can use AHAs. Which can greatly improve skin texture and reduce pigmentation. If someone has acne-prone skin or oily skin then BHAs are best to use.

Is chemical exfoliation good for the skin?

Yes, it has multiple skin benefits.

Which is the best chemical exfoliator to use at home?

AHA 30% and BHA 2% solution are best to use at home.

here's Aneela Shabbir a style enthusiast and media critic who love to write about latest fashion trends, skincare tips, and showbiz industry insights. on this website you will get all about current fashion updates, showbiz gossips and beauty tips.

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