1246 Yonge Street, #204, Toronto, ON (At Summer Hill Subway)



What You Need to Know About AHA and BHA

With the overwhelming number of skincare products and ingredients on the market today, it can be easy to get lost. Two ingredients in skincare items (and some makeup) that have recently gained attention are Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA) and Beta Hydroxy Acid (BHA).

Both AHA and BHA are marketed as exfoliants with the potential to help skin look and feel younger, promote facial blood flow and circulation, and facilitate the production of collagen.


AHA is acid extracted mainly from natural substances and is formulated from several other acids:

  • Glycolic Acid – taken from sugar cane
  • Lactic Acid – from milk
  • Mandelic Acid – derived from bitter almonds
  • Tartaric Acid – derived from grapes
  • Malic Acid – extracted from apples and pears
  • Citric Acid – extracted from citrus fruits

AHA works by “melting the intercellular glue” that holds skin cells intact. It is water-soluble, with a smaller molecular structure than BHA. It is suitable for treating dry and sun-damaged skin because it exfoliates the surface layer of the skin and has the added benefit of improving skin moisture content and barrier.


BHA, with its anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties, is more suitable for oily and acne-prone skin. Its acid makeup comes from:

  • Salicylic Acid – extracted primarily from willow bark tree
  • Citric Acid – extracted from citrus fruits, but will depend on its formulation to be considered an AHA or a BHA

It is essential to first determine what skin problem you’re experiencing before deciding which acid exfoliant to use. It is not necessary to use them both at the same time or more than once a day. Dermatologists recommend using a moisturizer immediately after applying either BHA or AHA to the face, to prevent irritation and moisture loss.

At Clarity Med Spa, we understand the significant results skin exfoliation can provide, creating younger-looking skin. Give us a call today at (416) 960-2222 to learn about our products and procedures that your skin will love.