Beta-Hydroxy Acids (BHAs) are cosmeceutical skincare acids that exfoliate, brighten, and re-texturise the skin.
They offer the advantage of providing an effective exfoliation to the skin but can also provide additional antimicrobial or anti-inflammatory benefits. In general, the molecular structure of BHAs allows them to penetrate the skin well, and BHAs can release dead skin cells that clog pores and contribute to acne.
Beta-Hydroxy Acids (BHAs) are a class of skincare acids that exfoliate the skin. They are usually derived from fruits sources.
Exfoliation is an extremely useful step in skincare regimes. This is because the outer layer of the skin, the skin barrier (the stratum corneum), is composed of dead skin cells called corneocytes. The skin naturally sheds its outer layer; however, it is common for dead skin cells to build on the surface of the skin leading to dullness, flaking, bumpy texture, and acne. Exfoliation will release dead skin cells, promoting a smooth and clear complexion.
BHAs exfoliate the skin as they loosen the bonds holding corneocytes together (desmosomes) and release the dead cells from the surface of the skin.¹ This process is called chemical exfoliation. Chemical exfoliation has benefits over physical exfoliation (scrubbing) as it is common for harsh physical exfoliators to cause micro scratches and inflammation in the skin.
BHAs are oil-soluble molecules with good penetration into the skin. They are commonly used on those with oily skin and acne. This is because BHAs release skin cells that contribute to acne and blocked pores.
1. Green B, Yu R, Van Scott E. Clinical and Cosmeceutical Uses of Hydroxyacids. Clinics in Dermatology. 2009;27(5):495-501.
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