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Skin Acids Decoded


AHA, BHA, PHA…What’s it all about?


Skin acids decoded.

Today, we’re jumping in to take a look at the three most common type of acids and how to use them in your routine.


Exfoliants 2.0

The role of exfoliants have come a long way since your first apricot scrub. Exfoliating has always been a big part of skincare routines, but these days it is exfoliation of the chemical type that’s taking the spotlight.

When it comes to acids, you’ve probably seen a few acronyms popping up over and over in your social feeds – AHAs, BHAs and PHAs.


What do all they mean?

AHA, BHA and PHA are the most common types of acids used in skincare today. If you’re using acids in your products, chances are it’s one of these three. Let’s jump in!



Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHA) are the original gangster of skincare acids.

Naturally found in fruits, water-soluble AHAs such as lactic or glycolic acids gently melt away dead skin cells. They also stimulate the cell regeneration process, making for great anti-ageing benefits. They are also perfect for drier skin.

AHAs can benefit pigmentation, help to even out skin tone, preserve moisture and even reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

Try: COSRX AHA Whitehead Power Liquid and Commleaf AHA Green Tea Peeling Liquid.



Beta Hydroxy Acids (BHA) are a gentler alternative to AHAs.

Salicylic acid is the most commonly used BHA today. Containing many of the same benefits as AHAs, the fat solubility of BHAs dissolve oil and makes them effective on blocked pores, blackheads, whiteheads and acne.

BHAs also have anti-inflammatory properties and soothe redness.

Try: Benton Aloe BHA Skin Toner, COSRX Natural BHA Skin Returning A-Sol and ISNTree Clear Skin BHA Toner   



The new kid on the block, Poly Hydroxy Acids (PHAs) work similarly to AHAs in that they also melt away dead skin cells.

What makes PHAs different is that their molecules are larger. This means they take longer to work, which makes them perfect for light exfoliation on very sensitive skin. They are even recommended for sensitive or easily irritated skin. For mature skin types, PHA is also a good option as it helps preserve collagen levels.

Want to try all three together?! Try SOME BY MI’s cult-favourite AHA BHA PHA line!


Practical Tips

Stay Sun Safe!

It probably goes without saying, as you should already be using a high SPF product in your skincare routine, but if you want to introduce acids, then SPF is essential. Acids can work wonders with exfoliation, but they do make your skin more sensitive to the skin, so be religious about reapplying as well.


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COSRX Natural BHA Skin Returning A-Sol

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