How to Exfoliate with AHAs and BHAs


Exfoliating your skin takes off the layer of dead cells which covers the top layer of skin.  Usually, the layer of dead cells naturally sheds over time.  The skin can look rough and dull when the layer of dead cells gets too thick.


You can exfoliate the skin either using chemical or physical exfoliators.  A physical exfoliate is something you scrub your skin with.  It can create micro tears in the epidermis, and so it is important to be gentle when using them.


AHAs and BHAs are types of chemical exfoliators.  They can be found in exfoliators, serums, toners – almost all skincare products.  They help unstick and dissolve the cellular glue which holds the dead skin cells together so that they can be easily removed, revealing the new softer and smoother surface underneath.  Using AHAs and BHAs also help cell regeneration.



AHA stands for alpha hydroxyl acids and derived from natural substances such as sugar cane, milk and grapes.  The most common ones are glycolic and lactic acids.  They are water soluble and work on the skin’s surface; they cannot penetrate as far into the skin as BHA


They are good if you have normal to dry, sun damaged skin. 


AHAs are great for improving the moisture content in the skin and rejuvenating aging skin.




BHA stands for beta hydroxyl acids.  The most commonly known one is salicylic acid. They are smaller than AHAs and are oil soluble, and so can work inside the pore as well on the skin’s surface. BHAs can get through the oil that clogs up pores and helps normalise the lining of the pore that contributes to acne.


They are good if you have normal to oily prone skin that is prone to bumps, clogs, blemishes and enlarged pores.


BHAs have anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties, and as well as being great for treating acne prone skin, can help eliminate blackheads and whiteheads.



How to use

To use a chemical exfoliator, soak a cotton pad in the solution and sweep over clean skin, avoiding the eye area.


Apply your AHA or BHA product after you have cleansed and toned, but before other serums and moisturisers.


It is good to build up your use of AHAs and BHAs if you’re new to chemical exfoliators. We suggest only using once a day and perhaps starting off with using a couple of times a week. 


Always use SPF (all year round) when using acids on your skin as using AHAs and BHAs can increase sensitivity to the sun.