TLDR; Both AHAs and BHAs are effective at combatting acne, but they work in different ways.

Exfoliation is essential to every good body care routine. It buffs away dead skin, encourages new cell turnover, keeps your pores clear, and stimulates blood flow to get you glowing. 

You already know I’m a big fan of scrubbing, but what about chemical exfoliants?

Why AHAs are good for acne.

Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs for short) come from sugarcane and other sugary fruits. They’re water soluble, which means they work on the skin’s surface by gobbling up your top layer of dead skin. 

Famous for tackling:

  • Hyperpigmentation
  • The redness that comes with acne or after a pimple
  • Dry skin
  • Keratosis Pilaris

Although AHAs can’t go deep into the pore, their small molecule size and water-loving properties make them superstars at getting between layers of dead skin cells on the surface of your skin.

Especially when paired with a physical exfoliant like in my Glycolic Body Scrub. I’ll do wonders to whisk any spot-causing stuff down the drain. 

Double down on the AHAs and follow with my Smoothing AHA Body Lotion for skin so soft your clothes might slip off.

Why BHAs are good for acne.

You guessed it; these are Beta Hydroxy Acids. The most common BHA? Salicylic acid, AKA acne’s worst nightmare.

Famous for:

  • Oily & combination skin
  • Targeting blackheads and whiteheads
  • Anti-inflammatory properties
  • Antibacterial properties

Although salicylic acid has a larger molecule size, it travels deeper into the pore because it’s oil soluble, and oil attracts oil. It’s kind of cute. 

Salicylic acid is obsessed with removing excess sebum and gunk deep down in the pore, ending the cycle of future breakouts. 

Use A Clearing Body Wash in the shower to benefit from saucy little salicylic.

Can’t decide? Use both AHAs and BHAs.

The great news is that these are both quite gentle chemical exfoliants. You can alternate using them morning or night, or on different days. 

Just remember to always follow with SPF for A+ adulting. 

Read more on the chemistry of AHAs and BHAs here. You clever cookie.