The Difference Between AHA and BHA

For the longest time, I had no idea what the difference was between AHA treatments and BHA ones. Hell, I didn’t even know what they were to begin with! But that’s okay, because life is all about learning as we go, right? The more research I’ve done into skincare, the more I’ve learned, and I’m here to break it down for you in a way that’s easy to understand and not how it can often be marketed and pushed in ways that can be confusing.

For truly radiant and healthy skin, exfoliating is something that is absolutely essential in your skincare routine, regardless of your skin tone, type or age. Luckily, there are two forms of exfoliation available to us, which means you can definitely find something that works for you. However, it is important to find one that's safe to use and not necessarily what is most popular (ahem to the St. Ives Apricot Scrub that we all grew up using and really shouldn’t have been!).

Now, whether you choose an AHA exfoliant or a BHA one (or one that combines both!), one important thing to remember is that neither is “better” than the other. They are both mutually beneficial to the skin, but finding the right type of formula to address your individual needs for the results that you’re looking for is key, and that takes testing out what works for you through trying out products. While there are a plethora of options at our disposal nowadays when it comes to skincare, there may be some brands or products that you haven’t heard of that will change your life!


What AHA stands for is Alpha Hydroxy Acid. Often referred to as fruit acids because they are derived from sugar cane and other plant sources. Not only do AHAs exfoliate and increase the shedding of dead surface skin cells, but they also help stimulate collagen, target all areas of the skin, and benefit both the epidermis (the outer layer of skin) and the dermis (the deep layer of skin). While every skin type can benefit from AHAs, it should be noted that they are especially good for normal to dry skin, as well as sun damaged and mature skin types...thanks to their ability to enhance natural moisturizing factors within the skin. My new favorite AHA is the Pumpkin Latte Masque $50 by Wondergloss, which you can find at


What BHA stands for is Beta Hydroxy Acid. BHAs are organic carboxylic acids that work both on the skin’s surface as well as deep inside your pores. While AHAs love water, BHAs love oil. They are able to bypass the oils that can clog pores and dissolve the mix of sebum and dead skin that can lead to acne, inflammation, and texture. BHAs help clear up blackheads, whiteheads, and have antibacterial properties. BHAs are best for those with texture issues, acne prone skin, and oily skin types, but can also be combined with AHAs as a combo if your skin needs a little more TLC. I know that’s what works for moi! My favorite BHA? Farmacy Deep Sweep 2% BHA Pore Cleaning Toner with Moringa + Papaya $28 which can be found at