Hello, my lovies! It is again weekend and what better time to pamper ourselves. Recently I focus on skin care, therefore, I have been researching the topic more. For me, it is important to find a way to improve my skin appearance in general. If you are a makeup lover just like me, let me remind you how a good skin care routine is also important for smooth makeup application. A tiny part of achieving it is through regular removal of dead skin cells and since chemical exfoliation is a hot topic right now, I thought it would be important to share with you my knowledge. Today we will talk about exfoliating acids, what exactly are they and how to use them. And without further to do, let’s jump to the post. 🙂

What is the difference between physical and chemical exfoliation?

Let’s start with the most common and known type of exfoliation: physical. These can be tools or skin care products, which will exfoliate the surface of your skin (the epidermis). They can be dry or electrical brushes, used for cleansing the skin, or peeling gels and scrubs.
On the other hand, chemical exfoliators contain inexpedience that would help with removal of dead cells without having to scrub the skin. In a way, the chemical ones are more gentle. They also fasten the skin regeneration. They are mainly differentiated as Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHA) & Beta Hydroxy Acids (BHA). Both can be found in different products like toners, serums, face masks and even moisturizers.

AHA vs. BHA – how do they differ and when to use which?

The Alpha Hydroxy Acids work on surface level aka on the epidermis. Derived from natural substances, this type of exfoliating acid is suitable for all skin types. The AHA is great for dissolving the dead skin layer. Therefore, it evens out the skin and brightens it up. It also has an effect on acne scars. Some of the most known AHAs are glycolic, lactic, malic and mandelic acids.

On the other hand, the Beta Hydroxy Acids are oil soluble (dissolves in oil) and helps with the cleanse of sebum in pores. Therefore, the BHA work on deeper skin level (dermis). Most famous BHA is salicylic acid, which a lot of may know from the acne-treatment products. BHA is anti-inflammatory acids and it is perfect for acne-prone or oily skin types.

AHA & BHA in combination

In conclusion, AHA and BHA work differently, but they can be used combined. An example product is The Ordinary AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution. For a long time, I was scared of such products. But after actually trying it out, I only regretted the fact that I haven’t got it sooner. What is important to mention for this specific product is that it is best to be used in the evenings.

The skin should be clean and dry before application. After applying to the skin, you should spread it around the face with clean and dry hands. You would most probably notice a bit of tingling on the skin, but as long as it doesn’t continue for more than a minute, it is normal. Please follow the instructions of the product and do not leave it for more than 10 minutes. Clean well with warm water and continue with your usual skincare routine. On the day after usage, don’t forget to apply your sunscreen.

How often should I use exfoliating acids?

If you are new to the exfoliating acids and you haven’t tried any so far, best would be to hit it off with a product, that contains a lower percentage of AHA or BHA concentration. Start with once a week usage, but don’t increase it rapidly over three times a week. Also, a good tip would be to use products which you can leave for a longer period on your skin (serums, lotions, masks). Another very important point is to always read the label and follow the exact instructions for usage. Tip number three would be to avoid application on broken skin or burns, apply the product around it to avoid any inflammation.

To shortly summarize

Exfoliating acids are chemical exoliators, used to remove dead skin cells. We differentiate two types: Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA) and Beta Hydroxy Acid (BHA). AHA works on epidermis level, BHA on dermis level. Remember, start with products with lower concentration of acids inside and see your skin reacts before increasing it. Always follow the instructions of the specific product.

That was it for today, I hope you did get to learn more about the exfoliating acids and this post was helpful to you. In case you have any question, write me a comment below.

Forever yours,


I am not a dermatologist, for any problems please consult with one.

This blog post does not include any affiliate links and the author has not received any payments to promote products. The author shares only her opinion.

Due to the recent changes in German law, this post has to be marked as an unpaid advertisement (unbezahlte Werbung / Anzeige), because of the products mentioned and linked.

Products mentioned in the post:
1. The Ordinary AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution – Price: 7,20 € – Link