The Best Skincare Products That Contain AHAs or BHAs, According to Our Editors
Exfoliation is a critical part of any skincare routine. To do it, you can use a physical exfoliant to manually slough away dead skin cells or take the chemical exfoliant approach, which typically involves the use of alpha-hydroxy-acids (AHAs) or beta-hydroxy-acids (BHAs). These ingredients can target concerns like uneven skin tone, texture issues, acne and fine lines and wrinkles. Common AHAs found in skincare products like toners, moisturizers and cleansers are glycolic acid and lactic acid and the most common BHA is salicylic acid. To help you narrow down which chemical exfoliant is best for you, we’re explaining the differences between them and sharing some of our favorites below.
The Differences Between AHAs and BHAs and the Benefits of Each
While both AHAs and BHAs are used to exfoliate the skin, they do have some key differences. AHAs are water-soluble and are typically derived from sources like fruit, plants and milk. AHAs also have more hydrating properties than BHAs, making them a great candidate for drier skin types. They are also great for diminishing fine lines, wrinkles and improving overall skin tone. BHAs are oil-soluble, so they are best for exfoliating pores and targeting acne. Find our favorite exfoliating products for the face and body, ahead.
This brightening vitamin C serum does more than just protect the skin against free radical havoc. It also contains salicylic acid to visibly improve skin clarity and reduce oiliness. After use, skin looks more even-toned and radiant, too.
Glycolic acid can help address skin dullness and is a star ingredient in this cleanser.. It also contains micro-pearls to further slough off dead skin cells for a radiant finish and a thorough cleanse.
This milky product contains lipo-hydroxy acid (a derivative of salicylic acid) to gently exfoliate, and a blend of emollients and almond milk to soothe. After application, your skin will look more radiant, silky and smooth.
Clarifique contains both glycolic acid and salicylic acid to smooth skin and minimize pores. It also contains grapeseed and sunflower seed oils to nourish the skin.
This toner works to exfoliate dull skin to give you your most glowing complexion yet. It contains a blend of six acids, plus niacinamide, bilberry extract and sugarcane.
This 15-minute gentle resurfacing mask contains a combination of 6% AHAs and 0.5% BHAs to slough off dead skin cells and unclog the skin without damaging the skin barrier.
We love this AHA-infused brightening cream that works to soften and revitalize the skin. It helps promote cell turnover, brightens dark spots and will make you feel velvety smooth. Plus, it smells heavenly.
Photo: Chaunte Vaughn