‘A’ bought the info on AHAs, and B is all about BHAs – or Beta Hydroxy Acids.
BHAs penetrate much more deeply than AHAs, and because they’re oil soluble they work right into the pores. This means they’re better at removing excess sebum (or oil) and remove dead skin cells, which can cause blackheads. They also contain antibacterial properties, adding to their acne fighting effects.
They are the weaker of the hydroxy acids, meaning you’re more likely to be able to skip the sensitivity and breakouts which AHAs can cause when your skin is adjusting.
BHAs also help skin cells to renew, which means they can help with anti-aging and reducing fine lines.
Which BHA should I use?
The most well known BHA is salicylic acid, which comes from the white willow tree. You can find it in so many skin products – from cleansers to masks to serums. If you suffer from acne and use an acne specific cleanser, if you check the ingredients it most likely lists salicylic acid.
For acne, hydrocolloid patches are really useful for giving spots an ideal environment to heal in, and the addition of salicylic acid like the NIP+FAB patches gives an extra helping hand. These also have the extra help of not irritating none acne areas as the acid is concentrated on a single area.
How to include BHAs in your skincare routine
Although these acids are slightly weaker than AHAs, they both have exfoliating properties so it’s best to stay away from layering them on top of each other. Instead, try using an AHA in the evening when you won’t be going out in sunlight straight afterwards, and salicylic acid in the morning.
Thanks to BHAs being gentler on skin in comparison to some AHAs, it’s generally safe to use them daily from the beginning without them causing redness and increased sensitivity. If your skin tends to be relatively sensitive it’s best to go for a formula with 2% or less as any higher than this might cause too much dryness. It can also be helpful to go for a cleanser if you are more sensitive, as the product is washed off so doesn’t stay on your skin as long as other formulations like a toner or moisturiser.