The 10 Best AHA/BHA Facials

There are many AHA and BHA products that are becoming more popular now. Many dermatologists and skincare specialists recommend using chemical exfoliants (AHAs/BHAs) instead of the physical ones as they can be too harsh for your skin and lead to irritation.

AHA and BHA products

What’s The Difference?

AHAs, or Alpha Hydroxy Acids, come from sugar canes and other plants. These acids help stimulate collagen, exfoliates and increase the shedding of dead skin surface cells. AHAs are for people who have normal to dry, sun-damaged skin because it has natural moisturizing factors. They stimulate collagen production, which can help to reduce fine lines. It also reduces visible signs of sun damage and wrinkles.

BHAs, or Beta Hydroxy Acids, are oil-soluble acids that clean out the pores and oils. One of the most common BHAs is salicylic acid, which is often in a lot of acne products. These acids are for people who have normal to oily skin that’s prone to blemishes and enlarged pores. BHAs fight bacteria and can be used to treat calluses.

1. The Ordinary AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution ($7)

This AHA and BHA product has become so popular in the past few months because of Tiktok. It has been sold out in stores everywhere, so it may be a little difficult to get your hands on it. Once you do, it will be worth it. You only need to apply it 1-2x a week for only 10 minutes, depending on your skin type, and you will wake up the next morning with glowing, clearer skin (if used correctly). 

2. SkinCeuticals C + AHA ($136)

The SkinCeuticals C + AHA is an antioxidant serum, you only need to apply one or two drops in your morning skincare routine. This serum is formulated with 15% pure vitamin C and 10% hydroxy acids. It exfoliates the skin to promote clear skin, minimizes the appearance of blemishes and gives it a healthy glow because of the vitamin C. It also neutralizes damaging free radicals caused by environmental aggressors.

3. Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Alpha Beta Universal Daily Peel ($88)

This peel is a popular product that many Instagram influencers recommend using. It does everything for your skin from clearing pores to stimulating collagen production and it reduces the appearance of fine lines and dark spots, all in a very simple, two-step peel process.

4. Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant ($30)

The Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant is a lightweight, leave-on formula that uses BHAs to remove dead skin cells and tightens enlarged pores. Salicylic acid also exfoliates and promotes faster cell regeneration to minimize the appearance of blemishes, redness, large pores and wrinkles. Green tea is another ingredient that soothes inflammation and shields against free-radical damage.

5. Herbivore Blue Tansy Invisible Pores Resurfacing Clarity Mask ($48)

This is a clarifying and cooling gel mask by Herbivore, great for fight off breakouts. The formula is with willow bark, a natural BHA with a lot of salicylic acid, to treat any blemishes and prevent future breakouts. The mask is also made with fruit enzymes, which is a natural AHA, and blue tansy to gently exfoliate, smooth and resurface the skin.

6. Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Framboos Glycolic Resurfacing Night Serum ($90)

The Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Framboos Glycolic Resurfacing Night Serum is made with both AHAs and BHAs. It transforms congested skin to visibly improve skin tone, texture, fine lines, wrinkles and pores. This serum may be used as a spot treatment as well.

7. CosRx BHA Blackhead Power Liquid ($24)

This product is suitable for people who have stubborn blackheads or oily skin. The CosRx BHA Blackhead Power is BHA-infused and effectively removes any excess oil to reduce blackhead production and unclogs pores. The product’s key ingredients are Willow Bark water (controls oil and calms the look of redness), Betaine Salicylate (fights bacteria and decongests clogged pores) and Niacinamide (brightens skin and improves the appearance of pores).

8. Glow Recipe Watermelon Glow Sleeping Mask ($45)

The Glow Recipe Watermelon Glow Sleeping Mask is a popular K-beauty favorite. The overnight mask has hydrating hyaluronic acid, sodium hyaluronate, exfoliating AHAs (glycolic and lactic) and fruit enzymes. The mask tones and clears the skin as well as taking off all of the dead skin cells. The watermelon extract also soothes the skin and has many essential vitamins.

9. Drunk Elephant T.L.C Sukari Babyfacial ($80)

Another Drunk Elephant product that works wonders as well. This product has 25% AHA with tartaric, citric, glycolic acids, and also 2% BHA. There are also effective antioxidants to nourish and moisturize, hydrating ingredients such as sodium hyaluronate cross-polymer, and brightening ingredients like chickpea flour and niacinamide. 

10. Ren Skincare Wake Wonderful Nighttime Facial ($48)

This product with AHAs is perfect for plump, hydrated, soft, radiant skin. While you sleep, it works in three different parts. The lactic and glycolic acids first renew uneven texture like fine lines and reduce surface pigmentation while generating natural cell turnover. Then, natural oils and minerals soothe and repair the skin. Lastly, sodium lactate draws moisture into the skin to plump and hydrate. You can use it over serums and/or under moisturizer, but there are best results when wearing it on its own.

Whether it is a mask, serum, overnight mask, or a peel, these will all work to benefit your skin. 

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