In this day and age of skincare, who hasn’t heard of AHAs and BHAs? AHAs and BHAs are chemical exfoliants which work by removing dead skin cells from the surface of the skin and getting rid of sebum, dead skin cells and bacteria which could clog the pores. The use of AHAs and BHAs has significantly increased in recent times. So what’s the best way to use AHAs and BHAs if you’re a beginner? The market is flooded with many beginner friendly products such as toners, moisturisers and of course serums with a low concentration of AHAs and BHAs which can safely be used if you’ve never used a chemical exfoliant before. Serums are an easy and safe way to add AHAs and BHAs in your routine. So let’s get into the benefits and ways to add AHA BHA serums in your skincare routine.
Benefits of AHA BHA serums
Serums are meant to allow specific actives work best and provide optimal results for the skin. AHA BHA serums come with a long list of benefits such as-
- They help exfoliate the skin competently. Dead skin cells can accumulate on top of the skin making the skin appear dull and cause problems such as clogged pores, uneven skin texture etc. AHA BHA serums exfoliate the skin and help get rid of dead skin cells from the surface of the skin.
- They are considered to be safer and gentler on the skin as compared to physical exfoliants such as scrubs and brushes. Physical exfoliants are said to create microabrasions on the skin if used roughly or in a harsh manner. Using a physical exfoliant too frequently can also lead to the formation of microabrasions. This results in a damaged epidermal barrier which could cause skin problems, create a risk of infection and lead to dry skin. Constant formation of microabrasions is also said to be associated with accelerated signs of aging. AHA BHA serums on the other hand, if used correctly can gently exfoliate the skin without harming it.
- They help get rid of dead skin cells to bring forth a brighter complexion.
- They can go deep into the skin and help remove any dead skin cells, bacteria or sebum which could be clogging the pores. BHAs are oil soluble exfoliants which have the potential to penetrate deep into the pores and clean the skin deeply.
- They can be effective as a treatment for acne due to their capability to remove pore-clogging elements. One of the primary causes of acne is clogged pores or plugs that get infected by bacteria or fungus. AHA BHA serums exfoliate the skin and help prevent clogged pores, thus preventing acne.
- They can help get rid of hyperpigmentation and dark spots. AHA BHA serums help get rid of older cells which may be pigmented and allow the newer skin cells to come up to the surface of the skin by removing layers of dead skin cells.
- They can even help reduce the sign of aging like wrinkles and fine lines.
So how exactly do AHA BHA serums work?
AHAs are water soluble and they help remove the dead skin cells from the surface of the skin by removing the bonds between skin cells. BHAs, however, are oil-soluble and can go deeper into the pores to remove oil, dead skin cells and bacteria which could clog the pores. Together both these ingredients help exfoliate the skin effectively in an AHA BHA serum.
How to choose AHA BHA serums for your skincare routine?
If you’re a beginner you should start using AHA BHA serums at a lower concentration. A concentration below 8% for an AHA and a concentration of about 2% for a BHA is considered safe to be used by beginners. Using higher concentrations immediately could cause your skin to become irritated as it may not be tolerated well. Look for serums with AHAs and BHAs with these concentrations to reduce the risk of experiencing side effects. If you have used AHAs and BHAs without irritation before, you can safely use serums with higher concentrations of AHAs and BHAs.
Another thing that matters is the choice of the AHA and BHA. You should choose AHAs and BHAs based on your skin type and skin concerns. AHAs like Lactic Acid and Mandelic Acid are safe for dry or sensitive skin as these have a larger molecular size which prevents them from penetrating deep in the skin. You can even consider using salicylates or willow extract as gentler alternatives to stronger BHAs like Salicylic Acid.
How to include AHA BHA serums in your routine?
AHA BHA serums can make your skin sensitive to the sun, this means that they can increase your risk of sun damage. So, make sure to use your AHA BHA serum exclusively at night to reduce the risk of irritation. Also remember to avoid ingredients like Retinol, Vitamin C or Benzoyl Peroxide while using an AHA BHA serum to avoid irritation. Instead, use hydrating ingredients such as Hyaluronic acid or Niacinamide to prevent dryness and keep your skin healthy.If you’re a beginner, you can use an AHA BHA serum with a low concentration and apply it on a clean, dry face at night. It’s best to use it first and after applying the serum, wait for a minimum of 30 minutes for the serum to work properly. Alternatively you can use a gentle soothing or hydrating toner first and then apply the serum. Once the serum has been left alone for some time, you can either follow up with a hydrating serum or you can just finish with a moisturiser. In case you have sensitive skin, you can even use your AHA BHA serum as a peel and wash it off after leaving it undisturbed for a minimum of 20 minutes. Start by using the serum once a week until you build your skin’s tolerance towards AHAs and BHAs. If you’ve used products with AHAs and BHAs before, you can use AHA BHA serums with higher concentration and follow the same procedure. You can opt for the Deconstruct Exfoliating Serum with 18% AHA + 2% BHA which is free from nasty chemicals and is formulated at a safe concentration to exfoliate the skin properly. Ensure that you wear sunscreen religiously while using your AHA BHA serums to avoid suffering from sun damage.