aha vs bha

AHAs and BHAs: What’s the Difference? How Do They Work?

You've heard about AHA’s and BHA’s. You know - at least vaguely - that these products are great for exfoliation. But how do they work? What’s the best form of each? And how much do you need for it to be effective? Here’s everything you need to know about AHA vs BHA so that you can enjoy your best skin possible everyday.

What Is AHA and BHA: The Basics

AHA and BHA are the most common ingredients used for skin care products. Skincare products with AHA (alpha hydroxy acids) and BHA (beta hydroxy acids) contain chemical exfoliants to remove dead skin cells from your skin layer. AHAs and BHAs have anti-aging properties - like smoothing fine wrinkles and enhancing skin texture. With AHA and BHA, when applied excessively for skincare, can make your skin more sensitive to the sun.

What Do AHAS and BHAS Have in Common?

If you have dry skin, you should use an AHA product as it feels more gentle on the skin. Do you have acne-prone and oily skin, BHA is your best option due to its effective penetrating elements on the skin’s pores and clearing up blemishes faster. Both AHA and BHA are effective at exfoliating the skin and promoting cell turnover, potentially improving your skin's appearance.

aha vs bha

Difference between AHA and BHA

  • Sensitivity
  • Skin Types
  • Chemical Structure
  • Acne-prone skin
  • Sun Protection

BHA vs AHA can be beneficial for the skin, but they have different properties and are better suited for different skin types. AHA's are water-soluble, so they only work on the surface of the skin. This makes them great for resolving issues on normal, dry, or sun-damaged skin such as fine lines, texture imperfections, and dull tone. BHA's, on the other hand, are lipid-soluble.

They work both on the skin’s surface and deep within the pores. This makes them stronger and typically better for normal to oily skin or skin that’s prone to bumps, enlarged pores, and blemishes.

They’re particularly effective at balancing oil levels and treating deep issues like blackheads and whiteheads. BHA acids also have skin-calming properties, making them great for those with sensitive or redness-prone skin.

Can You Use AHA and BHA Together?

Using products with both AHAs and BHAs for your skin is safe. If you have acne-prone skin, you should follow a few steps below.

  • Cleansing
  • Serum Application
  • AHA and BHA Toner
  • Moisturizer
  • Spot treatment
AHA’s should appear between 2nd and 5th on the ingredient list in order to be effective in your skincare products. Conversely, BHA’s are typically more beneficial when present in lower concentrations. That means you should see salicylic acid listed toward the middle or end of the ingredients list.

Apply Cleanser with Glycolic Acid

Glycolic Acid Cleanser for your skin can be found in the Bright Side Cream Cleanser. This is one of the products with AHA and BHA present in them. It helps exfoliate and renew the face skin. Our gentle cream cleanser is perfect for sensitive skin to quickly remove all traces of buildup and dead skin cells without irritating the skin.

Tighten Pores With a Toner

Toners like Coast Is Clear Face Toner can greatly add to your skincare routine. Our product works to absorb every bit of dirt and oil from your skin and, as a result, nourishes and refreshes your skin.

Finish With the Night Cream

Up The Anti Anti Aging Cream is a product you want to use. Our product contains AHA lactic acid for your evening skincare routine to help nourish and repair your skin as you sleep.

What Is AHA?

Alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) are group acids produced from fruits and plants that are water soluble and included in a wide range of skincare products. It is a chemical anti-aging product used daily, such as serums, toners, creams, and focused treatments - like chemical peels. AHA is mostly added to skin care products due to its numerous benefits and can be derived naturally or chemically.

List Of Alpha Hydroxy Acids

Here are the different types of AHA:

  • Malic acid, which may be found in apples.
  • Lactic acid is found in dairy and fermented foods.
  • Glycolic acid is derived from sugarcane.
  • Tartaric acid, which may be found in grapes.
  • Citric fruits contain citric acid.
  • Mandelic acid is not commonly used.
Some of the most well-known AHAs include lactic and glycolic acid. However, they function in the same way.

Malic acid

Malic acid is more concentrated, with 1% or 2%, than glycolic and lactic acids. However, it still exfoliates and provides antioxidant benefits. Malic acid can be found in fruits and wine - like apples; it is a preferred AHA skincare product for the same reasons as glycolic and lactic acids.

Lactic acid

When your body cells break down carbs for energy, your body creates lactic acid. Lactic acid can also be found in dairy and fermented foods. Unlike other AHAs, lactic acid can be found in dairy; others are fruit extracts for skin. Lactic acid hydrates the skin when used with other AHAs or alone.

Glycolic acid

Glycolic Acid is one of the most common AHA for skin as it is often added to skincare due to its availability from sugarcane. It is known for treating and preventing acne and skin breakouts. Luckily, Glycolic acid is one of the most used Eight Saints Ingredients for skin care.

Tartaric acid

While Tartaric acid is not widely known as the other AHA in skincare. Tartaric acid is a grape extracts AHA that aids in treating sunburns and acne on the skin. It is a fine white crystalline organic acid salt of tartaric acid. Although it is not the most common type of AHA, it is used in skin care products due to its exfoliating and moisturizing properties.

Citric acid

AHA can be derived from citrus acid fruits - like oranges. It functions majorly to balance the skin’s pH level and keep the texture smooth. AHA in skincare, mostly from citrus fruits, keeps the skin moisturized and enhances the effectiveness of sunscreen.

aha vs bha

Mandelic Acid

Mandelic acid is not commonly used in skin care products but is extracted from almond fruit. However, adding to your skincare routine increases exfoliation and could improve your skin texture and pore sizes.

Benefits of AHA

Exfoliation, or shedding of the surface skin, is caused by AHAs containing skincare products. The amount of exfoliation depends on the kind and quantity of AHA, the pH of the product, and other chemicals. Let's look at some AHA skin benefits.

  • It aids in the prevention of blemishes.
  • It enhances radiance.
  • It removes dead skin cells.
  • It improves fine lines and wrinkles visibly.
  • It improves the appearance of youth.
  • It reduces the appearance of visible sun damage.
  • Dryness is reduced.
  • Texture of the skin is smoothed.

Gently exfoliates

For a more gentle approach to exfoliation, you need AHA skincare products, including lactic, malic, glycolic, tartaric, mandelic, and citric. Exfoliation does it, for the skin, from smoothing out texture to anti-aging to removing dead skin cells and more.

Soulmate Brightening Treatment

The AHA skincare product is multidimensional that combines hyaluronic and glycolic for exceptional hydration to give the skin the rapid moisturizer it needs to keep the skin cells healthy. Soulmate Brightening Treatment gives the skin a quick hydration process by revealing new, healthy, luminous skin.

Bright Side Cream Cleanser

Our Bright Side Cleanser product works by breaking out dead skin cells on the surface of your skin and allowing them to be removed easily. It works to exfoliate gently and brighten the skin. It is one of the types of AHA products with 3 AHAs, including glycolic, tartaric, and malic.

Smooths Skin Texture

You need to keep your skin smooth, but you probably have no idea how to keep up with the best AHA skincare product. Our product helps your skin stay by preventing future skin irritation that might occur. Try out the Up the Anti Anti Aging Cream!

Up The Anti Anti Aging Cream

Our wrinkle cream contains lactic acid for AHA skin benefits. Our Up the Anti Anti Aging Cream tightens and smooths the skin while avoiding wrinkles.

Reduces Dryness

Oily skin has no more power to stay with the AHA for skin products to increase skin hydration and moisturizer. Eight Saints products are great for dry skin.

Hometown Honey Bar Soap

The bubbling joy of our handmade Oatmeal honey soap bar! This exceptionally gentle recipe is the ideal bar soap for sensitive skin and one of the many benefits of AHA. Hometown Honey Bar Soap is rich in deep hydration and lactic acid.



Reduces Fine Lines and Wrinkles

With a consistent skincare routine, you can reduce fine lines and wrinkles by using natural ingredients from AHA skincare products. This product will help refresh your skin for good

All In Eye Cream

The All In Eye cream is the holy grail of all eye creams that contains AHA skin benefits - like glycolic and lactic acids. This silky smooth, weightless product with soothing cucumber and hyaluronic acid is gentle for the sensitive eye region.

Fights Visible Sun Damage

To prevent sun damage, sunscreen your skin with our next product below to nourish and moisturize your skin and give you the AHA skincare hydration you need.

Chase The Sun SPF 30 Face Moisturizer

Chase The Sun SPF 30 Face Moisturizer contains citric acid extracts from citrus fruits to add to the many benefits of AHA this product can provide. It includes a blend of mineral and clean chemical sunscreen actives, providing invisible, complete protection from harmful UVA/UVB rays.

AHA For Acne

As extracted from natural ingredients, it helps with exfoliation and reduces skin inflammation related to acne. AHA regulates and controls the oil production in the body by keeping it in check. AHA for acne skin is one of the products we mention above.

What is BHA?

BHA, also known as beta-hydroxy acids, is an oil-soluble organic carboxylic acid that acts on the skin's surface as well as deep within the pores. Salicylic acid is part of BHA benefits and can be found in many skincare products today. The question is, what does BHA do for your skin? BHA can be likened to a magic potion that targets aging, acne, and blemish on the skin. It helps exfoliate effectively in combating these skin irritations.

Types of BHA

Below are the types of BHA acids. However, not all of them can be found in skin care products as they may harm the skin.

  • Salicylic acid
  • Beta Hydroxybutanoic Acid
  • Tropic Acid
  • Trethocanic Acid


Salicylic Acid

Salicylic acid alone can be found in skin care products. Salicylic acid targets skin blemishes, acne, and aging on the skin. It is a fast-acting solution to target skin irritation. It is the most known type of BHA for skin care. Some popular salicylic acids for skin care are Sodium Salicylate, Tridecyl Salicylate, Willow Bark Extract, Betaine Salicylate, Salicylic acid Ester, and more. Salicylic acid is derived from willow bark, wintergreen leaves, and more that are synthesized and purified to be added to skin care products.

Benefits of BHA

Despite its similarities with AHA, it has a lot of skincare benefits. BHA skincare benefits are fast-acting and even with just 2% added to help in the replacement of old skin cells. It also exfoliates the top layer of skin, and dissolves excess oil and sebum, an oily wax present in clogged pores.

Improved Look and Feel of the Skin

BHA for skin work to improve your skin and prevent acne, and reduce fine lines and wrinkles. It can also reduce skin oiliness and penetrate the skin to ensure the skin feels

Smoother Texture and Fewer Imperfections

BHA products protect your skin from sunburns and include hyperpigmentation and premature aging. At the same time, keeping it hydrated reduces fine lines.

Increased Hydration

It is known for its exfoliating properties. However, it can help increase skin hydration by unclogging pores. BHA for skin is a moisture retention booster to always keep the skin hydrated.

Diminished Fine Lines and Wrinkles

BHA increases collagen formation, which can aid in the reduction of fine lines and wrinkles over time.

BHA For Acne

BHA's specialize in unclogging pores to maintain oil balance, prevent ingrown hairs, and fight underlying congestion. When using BHA products for acne, start with a low dosage and gradually increase as much as possible. Too much BHA can cause dryness, irritation, and peeling. While using BHA products, sunscreen is important to protect your skin from the sun.

Quality Control Acne Spot Treatment

Our Quality Control Acne Spot Treatment has huge benefits of BHA embedded in it. For example, this product tightens pores, controls stubborn acne, reduces oil production, and lowers redness and inflammation. It contains only 2% salicylic acid, a powerful BHA for clearing blemishes.

Safety Precautions

Since AHAs and BHAs are acids, you should pay attention to decide how often to use BHA or AHA skincare products, as well as when to use AHA and BHA. High concentrations or too frequent used can cause the following side effects.

  • AHA can worsen sensitive skin conditions by causing skin irritation and removing the top layer of the skin.
  • Pregnant or breastfeeding women should avoid excessive usage of skincare, especially in areas that would have direct contact with their baby's mouth.
  • Overusing skin care products with AHA and BHA could further damage your skin, so it needs to be used moderately and at the right time.


Sun Damage

Products with AHA and BHA can increase your skin’s sensitivity to the sun, so remember to use sunscreen daily to prevent UV damage.

Skin Irritation

If your skin has a rash, swelling, itches, and other signs of irritation. Do not rush to apply AHAs and BHAs products. You need to determine the source of skin rashes, apply with low concentration, and use BHAs with no more than 2% salicylic acid.

Chemical Burn

If you have chemical burns due to your skincare routine.

  • Stop using the AHA and BHA products immediately.
  • Wash off the product immediately and apply a cooling agent.
  • Apply a fragrance free solution.
If symptoms persist, reach out to your doctor for further instructions.


Check the Source

In 99% of cosmetics, the AHAs and BHAs are synthetically derived. These makeup most of the highly concentrated peels and products on the market. They do work, and they’re not likely to irritate or over-dry the skin. Synthetic products are harsher on your skin because of their higher concentrations and other (possibly unwanted) ingredients.

Synthetic glycolic acid, in particular, has a by-product called formic acid that can cause a stinging sensation. Plus, synthetic AHAs may not offer any advantages. One study compared a natural fruit acid mix (of sugar cane, orange, sugar maple, and lemon) to synthetic lactic acid and synthetic glycolic acid. It found that the fruit mix had better therapeutic results.

Finally, keep in mind that AHA’s and BHA’s are great at promoting the absorption of other active ingredients in your beauty regimen. If you’re using botanical extracts and fruit-derived sources, those active ingredients are likely natural and easy to pronounce (aka better for your body).

Bottom Line

AHA vs BHA products are amazing skincare ingredients and have massive benefits to the skin. However, it is important to adjust your skin routine application as the treatment works wonders. Also, check if it is good for the skincare routine.