Both alpha and beta hydroxy acids remove dead skin cells from the skin’s surface and are in many over-the-counter and pharmaceutical-grade products such as moisturizers, toners, masks, and professional peels. The main difference between AHA’s and BHA’s is how they penetrate the skin. 

In Part 1 of my series on skincare acids, we covered Alpha-hydroxy acids in depth.

What does beta hydroxy do?

 In Part 2, we cover beta-hydroxy acids, which differ in that they are oil soluable and work well with oily skin, as opposed to alpha-hyroxy acids, which are water soluable and suitable for dry and sensitive skin. 

Beta hydroxy acids go deeper into the skin allowing the cells to slough off the skin to unclog pores, regulate oil production in the skin, contain antimicrobial properties, and are chemical exfoliants. Many skin types can benefit from BHA’s, including oily, combo, and sun damage. Higher concentrations of BHA acid stimulate collagen production, which helps improve the skin’s elasticity and improve wrinkles in the skin. Bha’s are an excellent choice for combating blackheads. 

Beta hydroxy acids consist of:

Salicylic acid

Tropic acid

Beta hydroxybutanoic acid

Trethocanic acid

The most common type of Beta-Hydroxy acid used is Salicylic acid. 

Salicylic acid comes from extracted willow bark and is the most commonly used beta-hydroxy acid. Salicylic acid softens the skin and helps dissolve dead skin cells, making it a good choice for removing black and whiteheads. Another feature is it reduces inflammation in the skin, which helps to heal pimples and pustules fasters. Using salicylic acid continuously can work as a preventative against acne formation. Too much salicylic can make your skin sensitive, so use it sparingly until you see how your skin tolerates it. It’s beneficial to start using it initially a few times a week and then increase frequency depending on how your skin reacts. 

Ingredients that work well together

BHAs work well with skin-repairing ingredients like hyaluronic acid and ceramides. Using BHA’s too much can irritate and dry skin, so using healing and repairing ingredients can counteract these effects and help keep your skin hydrated, healthy, and nourished while preventing blackheads from forming. 

Ingredients to avoid combining with BHA’s 

Retinols are typically not used with AHA’s and BHA’s on the same day as irritation can occur. 

Precautions to take

* Use SPF daily when using BHA acids in your skincare routine. 

* Start with a lower BHA acid concentration in your products when incorporating it into your routine. 

*Do a patch test on your inner arm and wait two days to see how your skin reacts.

*Be patient. It takes time for products to work and to be able to see results. 

Glymed Plus offers many products that contain this powerful ingredient. One favorite of mine is:

Glymed Plus Anti-Aging Exfoliant Masque

This masque improves the firmness, tone, and texture of the skin and helps to rejuvenate the skin. This masque is a perfect product if you are experiencing dull skin and want to address dryness and bring a glow back to your skin. 

Have questions? I’m here to help! 


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