After that, we have beta hydroxy acidsor beta hydroxy acids. These chemicals are lipophilic, that is, lipophilic and lipophilic. Thanks to this property, BHA is especially useful for those with oily or acne-prone skin. It is also anti-inflammatory and may help control sebum production. The most common BHA is salicylic acidKnown for its ability to reduce the spread of pimples.
Finally, we have the PHAs, which are formally called polyhydroxy acids. These gentle acids help remove dead skin cells resulting in smoother, brighter skin. A few common PHAs, according to Beau, include lactobionic acid and gluconolactone.
So how do you use these chemical exfoliators to maximize their benefits? “In my opinion, you really want a combination of all three if you want the most comprehensive and effective form of exfoliation,” Bowe explains.
See, alpha hydroxy acids like glycolic acid have smaller molecules, which means they penetrate deeply into the skin; Beta hydroxy acids such as salicylic acid sink into the pores; PHAs finish the process by gently exfoliating the skin’s surface and adding a boost of hydration.
This doesn’t mean you should apply a strong serum after serum (that’s a recipe for irritation). Instead, look for a product that contains a prepackaged blend of the three. This way, you won’t leave the experience like a chemist in your bathroom. Here’s our top pick:
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