Skin Care Pairs: The 5 Best Products Formulated with AHA and BHA
With so many skin care ingredients out there, it can be hard to keep track of what’s what. To help, we do our best to break things down in an easy and digestible way. We’ve already tackled the difference between alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) and beta hydroxy acids (BHAs), but what happens when you combine the two in skin care products? Turns out, you can get the best of both worlds. Keep scrolling for a refreshing on AHAs and BHAs, plus a roundup of the best products—from the L’Oreal portfolio of brands—that combine both types of ingredients.
What’s an AHA?
An AHA is a chemical exfoliator that can help improve the appearance of skin texture and tone with continued use over time. Ethnic skin expert, and Skincare.com consultant, Dr. William Kwan recommends an AHA for those looking to reduce the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and sun damage. AHAs are water soluble with a small particle size, and the most popular include glycolic, lactic and citric acids.
What’s a BHA?
A BHA is a chemical exfoliator that can be found in a wide range of different products, including cleansers, toners, and moisturizers. BHAs are oil soluble with a large particle size that “can rest on pores and can help with acne,” according to Dr. Kwan. If you have oily or acne-prone skin, you’ve probably used this uber-popular BHA without even knowing it—salicylic acid.
While there are products that feature AHAs and BHAs separate of one another, there are others that combine the two. Scroll through for some of our favorite products—from the L’Oreal portfolio of brands—formulated with both AHAs and BHAs!
SkinCeuticals LHA Cleansing Gel
This exfoliating gel cleanser—formulated with lipo-hydroxy acid, glycolic acid, and salicylic acid —can help slough away the skin’s surface layer and improve skin clarity. For the best results, use twice daily morning and at night. Follow up with a moisturizer, plus a broad-spectrum sunscreen during daytime hours.
SkinCeuticals LHA Cleansing Gel, $40 MSRP
Vichy Normaderm Gel Cleanser
Don’t settle for clogged pores. This deep cleansing gel face wash boasts a unique combination of salicylic acid, glycolic acid, and lipo-hydroxy acid with a soothing agent, and can help purify the skin and remove pore-clogging impurities without over-drying the skin.
Vichy Normaderm Gel Cleanser, $18 MSRP
La Roche-Posay Effaclar Astringent
This micro-exfoliating lotion helps to unblock and reduce the appearance of pore size. It’s formulated with a combination of salicylic acid, citric acid, and lipo-hydroxy acid (LHA). After cleansing, sweep a cotton pad soaked in the formula over your entire face. Follow up with the rest of your skin care regimen.
La Roche-Posay Effaclar Astringent, $23.99 MSRP
Lancôme Visionnaire Crescendo
Signs of aging and dullness don’t stand a chance against Lancôme’s Visionnaire Crescendo. This dual-phase liquid facial peel works over a period of 28 nights to help you achieve a brighter-looking, more even-toned and even-textured complexion. Sounds like a dream right? Phase One contains AHA from fruit acids, including quinoa husk extract, and can help gently exfoliate the skin. Phase Two contains a combination of salicylic acid and glycolic acid and can help smooth the skin’s surface.
Lancôme Visionnaire Crescendo, $75 MSRP
Kiehl’s Clearly Corrective Dark Spot Solution
Dealing with unwanted dark spots and discoloration? Reach for this dark spot solution formulated with a potent complex of activated C, white birch, and peony extract, along with citric acid and salicylic acid. It’s clinically demonstrated to help correct dark spots and discoloration for visible correction and improved skin clarity.
Editor’s note: AHAs and BHAs can cause unwanted skin dryness or irritation especially on sensitive skin types, who should avoid the combination. As a general rule of thumb, be careful not to over-exfoliate your skin by carefully following the instructions for use listed on your product of choice. Also, AHAs and BHAs can increase your skin’s sun sensitivity. When outdoors, apply broad-spectrum sunscreen and reapply at least every two hours. Take additional sun protection measures such as seeking shade, wearing protective clothing, and avoiding peak sun hours.
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