Hey it’s Cho, and I’m starting to feel bad about something I haven’t shared with you all yet… Everybody knows that Salicylic Acid reigns supreme as my most recommended active ingredient to include in your skincare routine. It helps with preventing acne, reducing pore size and revitalizing dull skin among other things. It’s quite the powerhouse ingredient. But for once, this isn’t about BHA! Did you know that BHA has a lovely sister who does wonders for the skin as well? Yes, her name is Alpha Hydroxy Acid as known as “AHA”. SAY HER NAME!

What Are AHA’s?

You may not think you’ve tried this chemical exfoliant before. However, you’d be shocked to know that most people are unintentionally very familiar with this ingredient. At least, your skin is! If you’ve ever gotten a professional facial then you’ve most likely used an AHA. If you’ve tried an at-home face mask, then you’ve most likely used an AHA. This chemical exfoliant is very prevalent in marketing these days. This is because AHA’s work to give dramatic results after only one use. Alpha Hydroxy Acids are a group of acids that help to smooth, hydrate and remove the top layers of dead skin to reveal brighter more even-toned skin! They’re usually derived from natural sources like fruits and sugars.

When shopping for AHAs, be sure to notice which acid is actually in the formulation. Glycolic and lactic acid are the most well-researched acids on the market, but there’s others as well. Citric, mandelic, tartaric and malic acids are just a few others. While there’s many differences between the acids, they all work similarly to resurface, brighten and even out your skin tone. The main differences boil down to likelihood to cause irritation, hydrating properties and how deep of a penetration it has. I’ve only gotten a facial once from my good friend “Bean”. Otherwise, I don’t do the masks or regularly get facials. I always go for the topical AHAs that are gentle enough to use on a regular basis throughout the week. I find this to be more simple for my routine.

The Difference Between BHA & AHA

So what’s the difference between BHA and AHA? In a nutshell, AHAs work on the surface of your skin while BHAs work on deeper levels. Obviously, this leads to typically bigger differences in appearance after just one use of an AHA versus using a BHA. Another difference I’ve experienced personally is that AHAs tend to give a tingling sensation to your skin. This is especially the case if you haven’t used an AHA on a regular basis before. If your skin burns for longer than 5 seconds, wash it off quickly to spare yourself from a damaging reaction! Lastly, AHAs are also more hydrating than BHA, especially lactic acid. As I noted in my last post, I’ve been using my AHA more often these days. Our skin is specifically at higher risk for dryness and dehydration during the winter months.

Which AHA Do I Use?

Currently, my favorite AHA is the Paula’s Choice Advanced Smoothing Treatment 10% AHA ($37). The addition of 4 different AHAs: glycolic, lactic, malic and tartaric acids helps to reveal more radiant skin. I recently had a big acne flair up due to stress and was left with a bit of hyperpigmentation. Well I’m happy to say that my AHA has been very helpful with re-evening out my skin tone. I also love that despite it looking really milky and dewy that the actual formula is lightweight and fast-absorbing. I’ve been interested in other brands to try such as Herbivore Prism Glow Serum 12% AHA + 3% BHA ($54) or the Naturium 12% Mandelic Topical Acid ($20). However, the PC AHA has worked so well for my skin that I’m a bit afraid of trying other brands. What’s your favorite AHA on the market? Maybe you all will convince me to give something else a try!

I want to end this blog post by sincerely thanking everyone that has read, shared or recommended my blog. I’m thankful to those that have been supportive of my new journey as a blogger over the past 8 months. It’s truly because of the constructive feedback and support given to me that I continue doing what I love. Let me know over on Instagram or Twitter how you feel about AHAs! And if you want a deeper guide on AHAs beyond this simple introduction, let me know on social media! As a reminder, using my affiliate links above to make your purchases is a FREE way for you to support me monetarily, and I appreciate you for doing so!

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