Everything You Need to Know About BHAs
Episode Title: Everything You Need to Know About BHAs - Episode 98 of the Korean Beauty Show podcast
If you are dabbling in the world of BHAs, it can be sometimes by tricky to work out how best to incorporate them into your skincare routine.
From “How many times a week can you use a BHA?” to everything else in between, on today's episode of the Korean Beauty Show podcast we are discussing the key things to know about using BHAs in your skincare routine.
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To start with the basics, BHA stands for “Beta Hydroxy Acids”. BHAs are a type of skincare acid that work to “degunk” your pores.
Since BHAs are oil soluble, theypenetrate through the oil that’s clogging your pores and exfoliate the dead skin cells that have built up. This is why BHAs are recommended for those with oily skin.
In addition to unclogging pores,BHAs have anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties, they can help reshape your pores, and also allow your other skincare products to better penetrate your skin.
If you’re looking for an ingredient that offersacne-fighting, skin brightening, cares for clogged pores to help prevent breakouts and leaves skin looking smoother, brighter and clearer then BHAs can do this.
If it’s your first time using a BHA product, start off slowly, using the product once a week. The usual way to apply a BHA is after cleansing (and after Vitamin C serum if you use one).
Spread an even amount onto your face, avoiding your eyes. For best results, most experts recommend that you wait for at least 20-30 minutes before applying your next layers of products. This is to allow the acid to take effect without being prematurely neutralized.
This depends on a few things, including:
Most BHAs range in strength from 1% to 10%.
Classic K-Beauty acids likeCOSRX BHA Blackhead Power Liquid contain approximately 4% of betaine salicylate (a type of BHA) and can technically be used every day. However, it’s not a good idea to start using 4% BHA every day if you’ve never tried a BHA before.
Instead, start off by applying the product once a week. If you experience no adverse reactions (like stinging, dry skin or excessive redness), increase your usage to twice a week. It is better to slowly bump up your usage week by week.
For both AHA and BHAs, the ideal pH is 3.2–3.9, with any readingbetween 3 and 4 considered most effective.
The fact that AHAs and BHAs behave differently at different pHs is very important in skincare because the stratum corneum is oily.To pass through the stratum corneum, acids need to be in their uncharged, free acid form, which is where pH comes into play.
The lower the pH, the more free acid we have. A pH of 0 would burn our face. But for regular BHA products between pH 3 -4, different people will be able to tolerate different pHs levels. Your skin is the best guide to how well you are responding to the pH of an acid. If you experience stinging, redness, itchiness, dryness or peeling take this as an indication the acid is too strong for your skin.
For people with sensitive skin, you’ll likely find that 2-3 times a week using a product like this is more than enough. People with a more hardy skin type can even get away with using a BHA every day.
Just be careful you don’tover-exfoliate your skin by over-doing it on the BHAs (especially if you also use manual exfoliants) or you could wind up with everything from excessive dryness, to irritation, redness, and sensitivity. Some people also experience a burning sensation on their skin.
Even though we’re sure you already are using sunscreen every day, be extra careful to apply sunscreen while using BHAs.
The other thing is not to mistake the natural ‘purging’ period of BHAs (which can result in minor breakouts) for a product that is actually incompatible with your skin type. If it’s the latter, the product itself will actually be causing it to break out.
How to tell the difference?
A purging period should only last a short while. It occurs because the product is speeding up your skin’s natural renewal cycle. If you find yourself constantly “purging” and breaking out after using a BHA, this is not normal. It means that the product is not compatible with your skin and you should discontinue using it.
For a more in-depth look at the difference between purging and reacting, take a listen back toepisode 16 of the podcast.
Softly melts oil on the surface of skin and keratin inside the pores without needing to be washed off.
The formula is 100% vegan, alcohol-free, essential oil-free, cruelty free and fungal acne safe
pH of 3.5 - 4
Suitable for oily / combination / acne-prone skin
Has sold several million units
Voted Best of K-Beauty Awards winners for 2020- one of the top 3 products in the People's Choice Awards categories.
COSRX AHA/BHA Clarifying Toner
White willow extract and apple water contain nutrients that are beneficial to the skin, helping to gently peel and remove dead skin.
Sodium lactate - a pH controlling agent known for its cleansing action and ability to inhibit bacteria development.
Glycolic acid - the holy grail for exfoliation, glycolic acid effectively removes the outermost layer of dead cells from the complexion, revealing brighter, fresher skin. It can be useful for treating scarring, discoloration and signs of aging, like fine lines and wrinkles.
COSRX One Step Original Clear Pads
Works to unclog pores and dissolve deep-set oil
Good forclearing, refreshing, softening and smoothing
Natural BHA and Salix Alba Bark Extract alleviate skin trouble
Salix Alba (Willow) Bark Water: an astringent ingredient that is ideal for inclusion in anti-acne products.
Betaine Salicylate: Beta Hydroxy Acid (BHA) that penetrates the skin to remove excess oil built up in the pores.
Gentler thanCOSRX BHA Blackhead Power Liquid
Packs less than 1% BHA, making it perfect for sensitive skin
Works well on rough skin types and irritated, sensitive skin
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"Your skin is the best guide to how well you are responding to the pH of an acid. If you experience stinging, redness, itchiness, dryness or peeling take this as an indication the acid is too strong for your skin."- Lauren Lee, Host of the Korean Beauty Show podcast
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