AHA or BHA Exfoliants, Which One is For Me?

The term “Exfoliating Acids” may sound a little scary at first; however, they are much gentler and safer on the skin compared to many harsh physical exfoliants.

While physical or mechanical exfoliants involve scrubbing the skin, these acids work on a cellular level to dissolve the alkaline bonds that hold the built-up layers of dead skin cells, excess oils and dirt. In turn, cleaning out pores with minimal effort to give you a brighter, smoother and renewed complexion.

Not All Exfoliating Acid Products Are Made Equal & Percentage Strength Isn’t Everything

While it is common for many skincare brands to advertise the percentage strength of an exfoliating acid product, we may think the higher the percentage, the stronger or more effective the product. However, that is not entirely true. In particular, the strength of an acid-based product is also highly affected by the pH level of the formulation. In short, adjusting the pH level of an acid product will affect the speed and degree at which the acid penetrates the stratum corneum. Typically, the lower the pH, the stronger the acid. This explains why professional chemical peels tend to have lower pH than at-home treatments.

How To Begin & How Do I Incorporate it In My Skincare Regime?

When it comes to exfoliating acids, we like to reiterate the golden rule of “slow and steady wins the race”. When a patient has sensitive and reactive skin, we advise to do a test patch behind the ear and wait 24 hours to see how the skin reacts and feels. 

It’s best to slowly and gradually incorporate any acid product into your skincare regime, starting with one-to-two times a week and then gradually build up to daily usage if the product is designed to be used as frequently as that.

It is crucial not to overuse acids or anything that resurfaces the skin as over-exfoliation may damage our skin’s barrier and cause skin sensitivity and irritation.

Please book a complimentary skin assessment to get expert advice on skincare based on your unique skin concerns!


Acid based skin care are now available in almost any product form, from cleansers to creams and treatment masks, here are 2 of our favorites at GMA!

Environ Tri BioBotanical Revival Masque
Environ Hydroxy Acid Sebu-Lac Lotion/ Vita-Botanical Sebu-ACE oil
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