Home Health AHA vs BHA: Which acid type is best for your skin?

AHA vs BHA: Which acid type is best for your skin?

Beauty portrait of attractive middle age blonde woman with perfect skin.

AHA and BHA are hydroxy acids that are used to treat skin conditions like acne. They are found in cleansers, scrubs, masks, peels, moisturizers, serums, and toners. These acids help to improve the texture of the skin and its appearance leaving the skin wrinkle and pigmentation-free. They exfoliate the skin by removing dirt from the pores. Both types of acids are best for the skin. The main difference lies in their uses. Each acid has a different purpose. 


AHA is alpha hydroxy acid. It is a water-soluble acid that is extracted from sugary and citrus fruits. When applied to the skin, this acid peels off the uppermost layer of the skin so that the layer beneath it can appear with new evenly pigmented cells. The second layer comes up with new cells leaving a smooth finish on the skin. There are basically five alpha hydroxy acids that you can easily find in cosmetic products. 

They are:

  • Glycolic acid
  • Lactic acid
  • Citric acid
  • Malic acid
  • Tartaric acid

Skin conditions like acne, hyperpigmentation, melasma, rosacea, dryness, roughness, age spots and, seborrhea can be treated with these acids. These acids are sold on online pharmacy service as safe but one must always take precautions if the skin is extremely dry or sensitive. 


BHA stands for beta hydroxy acid. They are oil-soluble acids that are used in skin care products to control excess sebum. These acids are also safe to use but since they go deeper into the skin pores so their effect is much more lasting than the AHAs. these acids are excellent in treating acne and sun damage. When applied to the skin, these acids unclog the blocked pores and dry the excess oils in the hair follicles. Mostly suitable for oily and combination skin, these acids are used to calm down the effects of sensitive skin. BHAs includes acids such as:

  • Tropic acid
  • Salicylic acid
  • Beta-hydroxybutanoic acid
  • Trethocanic acid

BHAs are most suitable for treating wrinkles and fine lines. 

Benefits of both AHAs and BHAs:

The most important benefit of both AHAs and BHAs is their ability to treat sun damage. Skin exposed to UV rays can be easily treated by applying a mixture of both acids. Glycolic acid, lactic acid, and salicylic acids are the most commonly found acids in skincare products. Both acids act as skin peeling agents but BHAs have additional anti-bacterial properties so it all depends on your skin condition.