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What

Both AHAs and BHAs chemical exfoliators work by combining with the structural lipids in the stratum corneum (aka skin) and dissolving them so that the dead skin cells break away. This is just a fancy was of explaining their very efficient exfoliation method and why they’re an encouraged addition to any healthy skincare regimen.

Who

Alpha Hydroxy Acid or AHA (which are Lactic acid, Glycolic acid and the Fruit acids) is used as a facial exfoliator and is an excellent choice for people with sun damaged skin, aging skin and normal to dry skin types. AHA does not cause sun sensitivity and comes in many forms. AHA’s come in the form of lactic acid which is derived from milk, glycolic acid which is derived from sugarcane and fruit acids which are derived from fruits (citrus and apples/malic acid). AHA can also aid in thickening the lower layers of the skin thus delivering firmness.

Beta Hydroxy Acid or BHA (also called salicylic acid) comes from acetylsalicylic acid which is the same source as aspirin. In general, beta hydroxy acid is a more effective treatment for acne prone skin. BHA also can cause sun sensitivity and must always be used in conjunction with a sunscreen.

Why

  • They’re both powerhouse ingredients!
  • Both get rid of the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles
  • Both make skin appear smoother and tighter
  • Both make skin look more even in texture
  • Improve scarring
  • Improve appearance of photo-aged skin
  • Both hydrate and exfoliate the skin


Well said from Paula’s Choice: “AHAs and BHA are different, and their different properties make one or the other preferred for different skin types”:

  • AHAs are water soluble and are preferred for normal to dry, sun-damaged skin due to their ability to enhance natural moisturizing factors within skin.
  • BHA is oil soluble and preferred for normal to oily, clog-prone and bump-prone skin, and enlarged pores, and can clear pores deeply, even those with hard, tiny, white bumps on the cheeks and face. BHA is even suitable for those prone to milia.
  • AHAs and BHA work on skin’s surface; but BHA also works inside the pore lining, where clogs begin.
  • BHA has natural skin-calming properties, which make it preferred for sensitive, redness-prone skin. It’s great for sensitive skin, even for those with rosacea.”

When

  1. AM/PM: try one in the morning and one at night. If you’re targeting a skin issue then doubling down can be effective. Make sure to always hydrate your skin properly and pay attention to warning signs such as redness or red or dryness.
  2. Alternate days: Try AHA on day and then BHA a few days later. Listen to your skin and you’ll never go wrong!
  3. Spot treat: If you have combo skin, try using BHA only in t-zone or oily areas while using AHA everywhere else.
  4. Know your limits-not everyone needs both and if you’re particularly sensitive and NOT acne prone then stick to AHAs.

Dr. G recommends: (BHA’s) Fresh A Peel + Detox Hydrating Gel, (hybrid of AHA and BHA) Skin Balancing Mask, (AHA) Detox Clarifying Facial Wash.

The skin is the largest organ of the human body. Your skin does far more than serves as a fancy covering to make you look good. In fact, the list of job responsibilities it handles is actually quite impressive. Dr. Goldfaden breaks down what your skin in actually doing all the time!

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A bodyguard:

Your skin shields your insides from ultraviolet radiation and other forms of physical damage, it also carries a powerful defense system that seeks out and destroys any foreign invaders that manage to get through.

As a communicator:

Your skin is constantly sending you the latest news from the outside world. About 45 miles of nerves connected to heat and touch sensors located in your skin are always busy relaying vital information about your physical environment.

As a maintenance worker:

When the outside temperature gets too hot, your skin is in charge of regulating your interior thermostat. It automatically turns on the sprinkler system by activating close to 200 sweat glands per square inch. This helps cools you down because the perspiration evaporating on the skin surface lowers your body temperature. When the mercury dips too low, a tiny muscle at the base of every hair on your skin contracts and makes the hair stand up. This helps trap a layer of air on the surface that insulates you from the cold.

As a water conservationist:

On average, about 55% of a woman’s total body weight is water. This means that a 130 pound woman is made up of almost 36 quarts of water. What keeps all this moisture from evaporating and escaping into the air around you is your skin. The outer layer of your skin, although it’s thinner than a single coat of paint, is as water-tight as a plastic sheet of equal thickness. In fact, your skin is 1000 times more impermeable than the membrane of any other living organism.

As a waste management specialist:

Sweating does more than help regulate your body temperature. It actually takes out your garbage as well. Every day your body loses about two and a half quarts of water. A lot of this comes from your sweat glands that work overtime to rid your body of unwanted byproducts like urea and ammonia that are dissolved in your perspiration.

As a vitamin manufacturer:

Your skin houses all the necessary equipment to produce vitamin D from sunlight. Just 20-30 minutes of summer sun

can help generate 10,000 IU of vitamin D that your body needs to activate over 2000 genes responsible for controlling everything from bone growth to immune function.

Interesting qualities that make your skin truly unique:

  • 12% to 15% of your total body weight is made up of skin
  • By comparison, the second largest organ is the liver, weighing in at a little over 3 pounds
  • Your skin sheds somewhere in the neighborhood of 40,000 cells every minute and replaces them with other cells that rise to the surface

How to keep your skin fully functioning:

Your cell turnover slows down every single day. Ever wonder why a baby’s skin is so soft? It’s because babies naturally replace their skin cells every few days. As you grow older, however, the rate of skin cell turnover slows down dramatically. Dead cells on your skin’s surface hang around much longer, a fact that tends to accentuate those fine lines and make your complexion look dull, gray and lifeless. By removing these dead skin cells, exfoliation helps make up for the gradual slowing down of your natural skin renewal process, improving the tone, texture and brightness of your skin.

The process of exfoliation is a lot like peeling away the dry, crinkly skin of an onion to reveal the living supple layers beneath. Whether the exfoliation is done using mechanical abrasion (Scrub) or a controlled chemical reaction (acid peels), removing dead and damaged skin cells on the surface allows the fresh new skin underneath to become visible. This newly exposed layer of skin feels much softer and smoother. Its surface reflects light better, making fine lines and other small imperfections harder to see. Age spots and other areas of unwanted pigmentation are less noticeable because the dead skin cells containing the pigment have been removed. Exfoliation unplugs clogged pores and allows for the release of natural skin oils. Regular exfoliation also helps to maintain open pores, decreases pore size, and minimizes many types of superficial scarring. In addition, removing the top layer of dead and damaged cells allows other health-promoting agents such as moisturizers, antioxidants, and collagen-boosting ingredients to better penetrate the skin and work more effectively!