If you do some research about chemical exfoliations, you’ll quickly notice that AHA and BHA are mentioned often. You may know that they help to relieve oily or dry skin, but which one does what?  We use treatment masks with AHA’s and BHA’s as part of our advanced medical grade facial procedures. Let’s take a closer look and attempt to demystify what these mean and understand the benefits of both.

AHA’s (Alpha Hydroxy Acid)

AHA’s are skin care products that help your skin shed its outer layers. Perfect for drier skin types, they remove the dryness. The one thing to bear in mind with AHAs is that they can increase your skin’s sensitivity to the sun, so you need to make sure you take care of your skin with appropriate sun protection each and every day. Talk to your medical aesthetician for recommendations on sun care products, including the EltaMD™ sun care product line.

To help understand the process of what happens with AHA treatment, imagine your skin as a web of cells held together by glue. AHA’s help to dissolve the glue, allowing dead and damaged cells to fall away. The process reveals your healthy, radiant skin underneath. AHA’s have humectant properties, meaning they help your skin retain moisture, and they are beneficial to anyone with dry skin.

Typically an AHA will come in three forms – lactic, glycolic, and mandelic acids. Glycolic AHA’s are generally the most abrasive (containing smaller particles) and at the other end of the scale are the mandelic AHA’s, which are greater for sensitive and acne-prone skins. Our medical aestheticians will customize your medical-grade facial treatment based on your individual skin type and condition.

BHA’s (Beta Hydroxy Acid)

BHA’s are skin care products more suited to oily/combination skin. These products penetrate your skin’s pores to force out the oil, grease and dirt that has been resident in there, causing spots and other skin issues.

BHA’s penetrate the pores to target oil and dirt, making them the ideal choice for acne sufferers. One such BHA is called salicylic acid (which is derived from salicin).

BHA’s do not cause sensitivity to sunlight and can be applied in both the morning and evening (whereas AHA’s are best only applied in the afternoon/evening followed by a suitable sunscreen the next morning). Nevertheless, sunscreen protection should be used daily, no matter what the conditions are outside.

For additional help understanding both AHA and BHA treatments or to schedule an advanced medical grade facial treatment, contact the Ottawa Skin Care Clinic today.