The Difference Between AHA's, BHA's And PHA's In Skincare Explained

Have you ever heard the terms AHA's, BHA's & PHA's mentioned when talking about skincare and been utterly confused? If yes, then don't worry we're here to clear things up.


AHA's, BHA's & PHA's are all types of exfoliating acids or chemical exfoliants. They can be an amazing addition to any skincare routine if you're using the correct one for your skin type.



AHA's or Alpha-Hydroxy Acids are water-soluble acids made from sugary fruits.

The most well-known AHA's are lactic and glycolic acids with glycolic acid being the most powerful.

They work on the surface of the skin and can help get rid of dead skin cells, even skin tone and texture, and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.



BHA's or Beta-Hydroxy Acids are oil-soluble acids that are mainly used for acne and sun damage.

Salicylic acid is the most popular BHA used in skincare and it's great for acne as it can penetrate deep into the skin and unclog pores.


As BHA's dry out excess oils those with dry and sensitive skin should avoid them.

They also have anti-inflammatory properties so they are great for soothing redness.



PHA's or Poly-Hydroxy Acids are similar to AHA's, however, the molecules in PHA's are larger.

This means they penetrate the skin more slowly and not as deeply as AHA's so, therefore, they're perfect for those with sensitive or dry skin.

PHA's work on the skin's surface to increase cell renewal and lock in moisture.

If you're still not sure chemical exfoliants are for you then you should try the Solution Exfoliating Skin Perfecter from Glossier.

It's a mixture of all three acid groups and suitable for every skin type.

So it's the perfect introductory product to help you figure out if you want to use acids in your skincare routine or not.



Do you use any AHA's, BHA's or PHA's in your skincare routine? 

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