Beta Hydroxy Acids
A salicylic acid product in the form of a topical cream or acid peel which can improve skin conditions such as acne, photoaging and mottled pigmentation.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Beta Hydroxy Acids v Alpha Hydroxy Acids
- Are Beta Hydroxy Acids Good For Oily Skin?
- Do Beta Hydroxy Acids Cause Sun Damage?
- Can Beta Hydroxy Acids Be Used on Other Parts of the Body?
- Where Should I Get a Beta Hydroxy Acid Peel?
- What Happens After Using Beta Hydroxy Acids?
Beta Hydroxy Acids v Alpha Hydroxy Acids
BHAs and AHAs are both hydroxyl acids. The main difference between them is their oil (lipid) solubility. Alpha Hydroxy Acids are water soluble whilst Beta Hydroxy Acids are oil soluble. AHAs do not contain salicylates, whereas the only BHA is salicylic acid, a salicylate. AHAs are able to penetrate into pores of the skin whilst AHAs work the skin’s surface.
Are Beta Hydroxy Acids Good For Oily Skin?
Since BHAs are oil soluble, they are great for oily skin which is prone to acne break outs. Pimples occur due to an accumulation of dead skin cells inside the pores. Unlike AHAs, Beta Hydroxy Acids are able to penetrate deep inside the pores to exfoliate these dead skin cells and other gunk which builds up. Applying BHAs can greatly assist in controlling breakout-prone skin.
Do Beta Hydroxy Acids Cause Sun Damage?
BHAs are often used by beauticians and doctors to not only fight the sings of ageing but also to reverse some effect sun damage has on the skin (called photo aging). Unfortunately, the use of beta hydroxy acids also makes the skin up to 50% more sensitive to the sun. So whilst the product is used to fight photoaging damage, it also makes the skin more susceptible to the problem. After using BHAs, patients must apply a good sunscreen which provides UVA and UVB protection on a daily basis. It’s best to stay out of the sun after using Beta Hydroxy Acids.
Can Beta Hydroxy Acids Be Used on Other Parts of the Body?
BHAs are predominately used on the facial region to treat acne by way of creams and lotions and in stronger concentrations as Beta Hydroxy Chemical Peels. Whilst the primary use is for the face, cosmetic surgeons and dermatologists can apply a peel on other acne prone regions such as the back and chest. If you have oily skin which is prone to break outs on areas other than the face, consult your dermatologist. You may simply need a BHA lotion to apply each day.
Where Should I Get a Beta Hydroxy Acid Peel?
You can purchase BHA peels over the counter at most drug stores. These often come in lower concentrations than anything you can find online or through a doctor’s prescription. Self-diagnosing which product works best for your skin is difficult and risky. It’s best to approach a doctor or a dermatologist who can assess your skin type and recommend the most appropriate peel. They may even mix the peel with other ingredients such as AHAs. A personalized approach is likely to be the most effective way of treating your skin.
What Happens After Using Beta Hydroxy Acids?
Using creams and lotions of lower concentrations should not cause the redness, irritation and peeling as usually occurs with a peel. Following a BHA acid peel, your skin will most likely be red and should commence peeling within 3-5 days. However, the time required for peeling to start varies among individuals and also depends on the depth of the peel. Your doctor should provide you with a recovery plan and instructions for keeping your skin safe after the treatment. Don’t use BHA acid products after having a peel. You are required to wait at least two weeks before having another peel or as recommended by your doctor.
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