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What are AHA’s AND BHA’s? A guide to what they do and why you should use them.

It's no secret that acids can do wonders for your skin. When used properly, and in the right concentration, they can fight acne, signs of aging, scarring, and even discoloration. It's essential to find the right acid for your skin type because, if not, you might actually do more harm than good. There are two main players in the exfoliating acids family—alpha-hydroxy acids (AHA) and beta-hydroxy acids (BHA)—and deciding whether to use an AHA versus a BHA is wholly dependent on what you’re trying to achieve. So, we asked advanced skincare specialist Valerie Osborne to break it down for us.

Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA) represents acids derived from a natural substance like sugar cane, milk, almonds, or grapes. They work by absorbing into the skin pushing dead lifeless cells towards and off the surface. As we age our skins natural exfoliation process slows down so AHA’s are considered a must for most skin types to keep your skins cells regeneration cycle moving.

AHA’s exfoliate the skin, increases cell turnover, hydrate and resurface the skin. They improve textural issues like red marks from past acne, improve the skin overall appearance and is also helpful for hyperpigmentation.”, explains Valerie. "Examples of AHA’s would be Glycolic, Lactic and Mandelic".

Beta Hydroxy Acid (BHA) is an exfoliator best for oily / congested / acne-prone skin / rosacea. While AHA’s love water, BHA’s love oil. They can bypass the oil that clogs pores and dissolve the mix of sebum and dead skin that leads to acne, as well as stabilize the lining of the pore (which contributes to acne). “BHA’s improve blackheads, whiteheads, and have anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties which is also beneficial for Rosacea clients.” explains The best example of a BHA is Salicylic acid.

If you’re thinking about adding acids into your skincare routine it’s vital you speak to a professional and undergo a consultation”, says Valerie, “To allow your skin to become accustomed to these ingredients it is important that you start introducing these products SLOWLY into your routine.

If you have been prescribed more than one active product do not use them together initially. Depending on what products are recommended you may use alternate nights or introduce the 2nd active product 4 weeks after the 1st, all of which will be decided during consultation.

Why not talk to Valerie about introducing acids into your skincare routine with an online consultation? An Online Skincare Consultation with Valerie Osborne Advanced Skincare including a bespoke homecare plan cost €100, which is fully redeemable when purchasing your prescribed products to the value of or over €250 from

Note: A broad-spectrum spf is required when using products containing these ingredients.

NB: The above ingredients may not be used when you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Valerie Osborne Advanced Skincare is located at

Elysium Day Spa and Laser Clinic, Unit 9, An Fuaran, Moycullen, Galway

To book an appointment visit telephone 091 556 846.



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