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What are Acids

AHA and BHA Acids: All you need to know.

11.15.2020

Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA) and Beta Hydroxy Acid (BHA) may sound scary. Who wants an acid on their face, right? But they are actually ingredients you don’t need to be afraid of and it’s likely you’ve been using one of these acids at some point in your skincare journey. For instance, salicylic acid is a form of BHA that can help fight breakouts, which is why it’s the key ingredient in many of our Tomato Acne-Fighting skincare products. If you on a quest for clearer, glowing skin, here’s what you need to know.

What are Acids?

Acids are a group of ingredients that perform a ‘chemical exfoliation’ to resurface the outermost layers of skin. The chemical exfoliation sloughs away dead skin and encourages new cell turnover for fresh, clean skin. The two most common types of acids–as you may have guessed–are AHAs and BHAs.

AHAs loosen and lift the build-up of dead skin cells on the skin’s surface, while BHAs penetrate deeply into the pores to address skin build-up and help prevent breakouts, making them ideal for oily/acne-prone skin. There is another type of acid called Polyhydroxy Acid that has a larger molecular structure and focuses on sloughing off the dead skin cells from the surface of the skin. It’s a more gentle option for those with sensitive skin. All three types of acids help skin appear retexturized, smoother and brighter.

You might think these sound like a chemical peel, but what sets our Exfoliating Grapefruit Acid products apart from a traditional peel is that they incorporate moisturizing ingredients to work with the acids to keep your skin from drying out (and literally peeling!). Below is a mix of acids we use in some of our products.

  • Lactic Acid (AHA) is a gentler, exfoliating AHA to help keep skin soft all day.
  • Glycolic Acid (AHA) is a chemical exfoliant that penetrates skin deeply, helping skin feel firmer while minimizing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
  • Willow Bark Extract (BHA) has been used in many skin treatments to help clear pores and brighten skin.
  • Gluconolactone (PHA) attacks free radicals, helps protect skin from UV damage, helps reduce the appearance of redness and helps skin maintain elasticity.
  • Salicylic Acid (BHA) is a blemish-clearing exfoliator that helps calm angry skin and diminish the appearance of enlarged pores.

When Using Acids…

While acids can help us achieve brighter looking skin, they’re also potent ingredients that need to be taken seriously. Be mindful to not mix other active ingredients with acids such as retinols, as this could result in irritation from an imbalance in the skin. If you are new to exfoliating with acids, you can expect a brief period of redness after application, so it’s important to allow skin time to “acclimate” to the treatment by using acids 1-3 times per week and increasing usage gradually to once per day per product directions. It’s important to note that acids may cause photosensitivity as the constant exfoliation exposes new, fresh skin to sunlight. Therefore, following an acid regimen with moisturizer and SPF is absolutely essential.

If you’re new to acid treatments, we suggest starting with our Grapefruit Glow-Boosting Exfoliating Acid Pads. You use them only once a week and the finger pocket in the pad makes for a fool proof way to apply. If you’re a pro, then the treatment that’s right for you is our Grapefruit Glow-Boosting Daily Exfoliating Tonic.

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