Skin Care

What is BHA and Its Function in Skin Care Products?



by Lydia


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In your search for effective exfoliating products, you've probably come across BHA compounds. However, most people don't think too much about what's inside the cosmetics, which could be dangerous. You need to understand the ingredients of the products you use to avoid placing your skin in harm's way. So, if you are wondering 'what is BHA?" you'll find your answer shortly.

This post discusses what BHA is and its benefits on the skin.


What is BHA?

The acronym BHA stands for beta hydroxy acid, a compound that can penetrate the skin and deliver deep cleansing actions. While it might sound scary to apply an acid to your face, you shouldn't worry because cosmetics feature beta hydroxy acids in small amounts that can't cause harm.

If you don't think you've heard of BHAs before, you have probably seen them in the form of Salicylic acid, the most popular form of BHAs. Now that we've covered what they are let's look at the properties of BHAs.

Properties of BHAs

BHAs have various properties that make them an effective skincare component. Let's look at these qualities below.

1. Oil-Soluble

The most arguably significant property of BHA is its oil solubility. In other words, it can dissolve fats and oils to permeate the epidermis and dermis. This makes it a great product for people with oily and acne-prone skin since it can clean out clogged pores from the inside of the skin.

2. Keratolytic

A keratolytic substance can dissolve dead skin cells. This is an important property because one of the common causes of acne, blackheads, and whiteheads is the accumulation of dead skin cells inside the pores.

As such, BHA is an effective exfoliant because it can dissolve these impurities so that your pores remain free from blockages. That's why BHAs are common in cosmetics meant to get rid of blemishes like acne and blackheads.

3. Comedolytic

The last property we'll discuss is the ability of BHA to prevent the clogging of pores, which is known as comedolytic ability. BHAs are not only great at resolving skin problems but can also prevent them from being an issue in the future. That's why there are various face wash products that contain significant amounts of salicylic acid to ensure they dissolve the excess oil and dead cells on your skin to prevent buildup.

Now that we've covered the properties of BHAs, here are some of the best BHA exfoliation products you can try out.

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The first BHA product you can use to resolve your skin concerns is the Vichy Salicylic Acid Face Cleanser. It's an optimal solution for people with oil and acne-prone skin and can be used daily as a face wash. You can use this product for unclogging pores, eliminating acne and blackheads, and managing production of excess oil.

The ingredients in this formula are meant to exfoliate skin from the buildup of dead skin cells without causing excessive dryness. This makes it an excellent choice even for sensitive skin because it's gentle and doesn't cause skin irritation. It can improve the texture and tone of your skin with regular use to give you clear and blemish-free skin.

It's hypoallergenic and features a light fragrance that will leave your skin smelling fresh and revitalized. You don't have to worry about any dangerous ingredients since this BHA face cleanser is free from parabens, soap, oils, alcohol, and sulfates.


  • Lightweight formula
  • Doesn't dry skin
  • Gentle
  • Mild scent


  • Not ideal for daily use on delicate skin

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The second option you can consider when looking to eliminate pimples, blackheads, and whiteheads on your face is the La Roche-Posay Effaclar Facial Cleanser. This dermatologist-developed product is formulated using a combination of salicylic acid and lipo-hydroxy acid. As a result, it can clear out excess sebum and dead skin cells from the skin's surface to leave you with pure and blemish-free skin.

It's also an effective option against acne breakouts and thanks to its exfoliating properties. Say goodbye to any fears of interacting with toxic ingredients because the formula is free from oil, fragrances, parabens, and hypoallergenic compounds. This minimizes the risk of experiencing negative side effects after using this product.

With this product, you can say goodbye to any issues related to the accumulation of dirt, oil, and sweat since this medication is designed to leave you with clear skin. It'll help you get rid of uneven skin tone caused by frequent acne breakouts to give you a smooth and uniform appearance.


  • Great for oily skin
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Free from toxic ingredients
  • Eliminates impurities


  • Pricey

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Another BHA product you can use for exfoliating your skin is the First Aid Beauty Vegan Body Scrub which contains physical and chemical exfoliators. You can use it to overwhelm any bumps and patches of dry skin to get smooth, soft skin. It features a combination of AHAs and BHAs since it contains willow bark extract and mixes it with lactic and glycolic acid.

This mixture is an excellent option for getting rid of acne, bumpy skin, roughness, and excess oil. This body scrub works as a microdermabrasion treatment while providing the advantages of a chemical peel. As the exfoliating acids loosen the surface of the skin, the Pumice Buffing Beads will remove the impurities causing clogs in your pores.

The First Aid Beauty Vegan Body Scrub doesn't contain alcohol, oil, lanolin, artificial colors, additional fragrances, sulfates, parabens, or other potentially toxic ingredients. All the components of this product are cruelty-free and also hypoallergenic since it's dermatologist-tested. If you have allergies to gluten, nuts, soy, or oil, you can enjoy the benefits of this body scrub without any risks.


  • Clears bumps and skin roughness
  • Has BHA and AHA ingredients
  • Improves skin texture


  • Expensive

What's the Difference Between AHA & BHA?

What are Alpha Hydroxy Acids?

We can classify the hydroxy acids we find in cosmetic products as either AHA or BHA. While you already know what BHA means, AHA stands for alpha-hydroxy acids. They are naturally occurring compounds that can also be used to enhance the appearance of the skin. Some examples of AHAs include glycolic acid, citric acid, lactic acid, tartaric acid, and malic acid.

Differences of AHAs and BHAs

  1. One of the primary differences between AHAs and BHAs is that the former tend to cause more irritation on the skin,, which is why they aren't the first option for people with delicate skin. Also, BHAs are better for increasing the skin's resistance to sun damage, while AHAs are better used as a remedy for repairing sun-damaged skin.
  2. BHAs contain anti-bacterial properties that make them great for resolving acne and similar skin conditions. On the other hand, AHAs are suitable for reducing aging signs, hyperpigmentation, since it increases collagen production. This means they are a great option if you want to improve the general condition of your skin.
  3. Something else that draws the line between AHAs and BHAs is the drying effect. BHAs can pull moisture, oil, and impurities from the skin, causing dryness which is why they are ideal for oily skin. An alpha hydroxy acid like lactic acid can function as a moisturizer and don't strip the skin of its oil. As a result, they are a great option for people with dry skin since they won't cause further dryness.

What are the Benefits of BHA in Exfoliating Skin?

BHA has various properties that make it a suitable remedy for several skin conditions. Here are some of the benefits of using BHA products to exfoliate your skin.

1. Better Skin Tone

The accumulation of dirt, oil, and other impurities in the pores can cause your skin to get darker in certain areas. This is called hyperpigmentation, and it can wreak havoc on your appearance. With the help of BHAs, you can get rid of the substances that block your pores and cause the development of blackheads.

Once your pores are clear, the color of your skin will look even across your entire face, which can help you maintain a positive body image.

2. Reduced Visibility of Fine Lines and Wrinkles

The UV rays of the sun can cause your skin to become less elastic, resulting in the development of fine lines and wrinkles. These effects can be challenging to reverse without the right products. Luckily, there are BHAs that have the capacity to increase collagen production and restore your skin's elasticity.

This, in combination with the exfoliating properties of BHAs, will ensure that any fine lines or wrinkles you develop become less visible with time. So, if you are looking for a convenient anti-aging solution, BHA skincare products are a good option.

3. Less Acne Breakouts

Something else you can reap from using BHAs is the reduced occurrences of acne formation. When sebum and dead skin cells accumulate on a skin pore, they cause the development of issues like acne, whiteheads, and blackheads.

Since BHAs can dissolve fats, they can enter the pores and clean them out from within to leave you with clean open pores. Additionally, the antibacterial properties of BHA ensure that bacteria won't cause additional problems on your skin. 


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