However, before incorporating glycolic acid and salicylic acid into your skin care regimen, it would be beneficial to gain a deeper understanding of these ingredients. We got in touch with Dr. Aseem Sharma, Mumbai-based dermatologist and consultant, Re’equil India, who shares his insights on the fundamental difference between AHAs and BHAs.
If you are not sure which one is better for your skin, salicylic acid or glycolic acid, this will help clear your confusion.
Belongs to the superfamily of glycolic acid Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs), widely loved for their mild exfoliating properties. These water soluble acids are obtained from natural sources like sugarcane, sugar beet, milk etc. Topical application of alpha-hydroxy acids has a remarkable effect in improving the texture and natural glow of the skin. Several scientific research studies have demonstrated that AHA-based chemical peels are highly effective for aging skin and facial discoloration.
Benefits of AHA
Consistent use of alpha hydroxy acids will help to effectively get rid of hyperpigmentation, sun spots and uneven skin tone. A global research study published in 2018 concluded that Topical use of AHAs has also been shown to lighten dark spots left behind by sun damage.
The alpha hydroxy acid also inhibits the activity of the tyrosinase enzyme which plays an essential role in the synthesis of the melanin pigment.
AHA not only removes dead skin cells but also helps in keeping the skin hydrated. The humectant properties of AHAs help to lock in moisture which improves the appearance of dry skin and makes it soft, supple and responsive to other treatments.
Reduces Fine Lines & Wrinkles:
Topical AHAs have been shown to improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. AHAs help with cell renewal and also promote collagen production which helps reduce fine lines and improve skin texture.
Enhances the natural glow of the skin:
it is one of best hydroxy acids for your skin, In terms of tonal correction. AHAs are great chemical exfoliators, which help in getting brighter, smoother and brighter skin. They penetrate the layers of the skin and loosen the bonds between dead skin cells to remove all the impurities. Hence, its use helps in brightening the overall skin complexion.
Salicylic acid is a beta-hydroxy acid (BHA), derived mostly from willow tree bark, hazel, and wintergreen leaves. This oil-soluble ingredient penetrates into the deeper layers of the skin and Helps to clean clogged pores.
Hence, it prevents clogging of pores, which in turn makes it an ideal ingredient for acne-prone skin. In addition, salicylic acid has Anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties, which reduce the risk of acne flare-ups.
Benefits of BHA
Prevents future breakouts:
Beta hydroxy acid (BHA) being a comedolytic agent prevents the formation of blackheads and whiteheads, which can further turn into pimples. Using a serum containing 1 percent BHA and peptide complex helps Combats acne and reduces skin irritation and controls sebum production.
Deeply cleanses excess oil from pores:
People with oily skin tend to be more prone to breakouts due to excess sebum production. When your skin produces excess sebum, your pores get clogged with oil, dirt and dead cells, which eventually manifest into pus-filled pimples. Salicylic acid is an oil soluble ingredient and can go deep into your pores Remove excess oiliness and other impurities.
Soothes Swelling and Redness:
BHA has natural anti-inflammatory properties that help relieve inflammation and irritation associated with acne.
Kills acne-causing bacteria:
Cutibacterium acnes (formerly Propionibacterium acnes or P. acnes) is a bacteria known to be the most common cause of acne infections. beta hydroxy acids are Antimicrobial properties that help keep these acne-causing bacteria at bay.
Can You Use Glycolic Acid and Salicylic Acid Together?
You can take advantage of the benefits of glycolic acid and salicylic acid by choosing skin care products that contain both ingredients that are effective and show results. Over-the-counter products that contain both AHAs and BHAs provide the best results. Treating active acne and preventing the risk of future outbreaks.
Face washes containing glycolic acid and salicylic acid are considered good for oily and acne-prone skin. If you are struggling with hyperpigmentation and dark spots, a fruit-based AHA face wash is a great one to use.
Glycolic acid may increase your skin’s sensitivity to the sun. Which in turn can cause sunburn. When you incorporate AHAs into your skincare routine, it’s important to always wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 50 and PA+++ or higher.
Note: When incorporating AHAs and BHAs into your skincare routine, special mention here is to start with lower concentrations and work your way up, layering it with moisturizer along the way.