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Why BHA isn't the only treatment solution for acne

We love BHA's for our clients who struggle with acne breakouts. But is there ever an alternative treatment?

Why yes there is!

When we get in the zone we tend to have our go to favorites but over time we accidentally "box" ourselves into specific products for specific conditions. While there is definitely a reason for certain ingredients being a treatment solution for certain skin concerns we don't want to limit ourselves to world up ingredients that serve multiple purposes.

What is a BHA?

Beta Hydroxy Acid

What is BHA's job?

It is an oil loving chemical exfoliant that helps to chemically exfoliate the skin. BHAs can get deeper into the pores to remove dead skin cells and excess sebum

BHA Ingredients:

Salicylic Acid

Citric Acid

More on BHA's

These exfoliants are primarily used for acne and sun damage. These products go deep into your hair follicles to dry out excess oils and dead skin cells to unclog your pores. Because of these effects, BHAs are most suitable for combination to oily skin. Lower concentrations may also be used to help calm sensitive skin.

So what other treatments can be used for acne?

Alpha Hydroxy Acids or "AHA"

What does an AHA do for the skin?

AHA's are water loving chemical exfoliants that help slough away the surface cells to regenerate new cells to take their place. AHA's work in the skin to encourage hydration as well as exfoliation.

AHA Ingredients:

Glycolic Acid

Lactic Acid

Malic Acid

Tartaric Acid

Mandelic Acid

While they are working different jobs they have some common similarities:

  • decrease inflammation, a key marker of acne, rosacea, and other skin concerns

  • decrease the appearance of large pores and surface wrinkles

  • even out your skin tone

  • improve overall skin texture

  • remove dead skin cells

  • unclog pores to prevent acne

You can see how they can be beneficial to treating acne in fact a 2009 study found they result in better treatment when used together, increasing collagen production visibly plumping the dermis and epidermis.

Too much of a good thing can be a bad thing. Because these are exfoliators you won't want to layer AHAs and BHAs on top of one another. And coach your client's in homecare to use an alternating method of application since using both can cause dryness and irritation.

PRO TIP: Don't be afraid to try zone therapy. Use them according to your client's skin. For example, you can apply an AHA to dry areas and a BHA to oily areas.

(Check out the video below for more comparing and contrasting of AHA & BHA ingredients.)

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