What is BHA in skincare and best kinds of BHAs for skin

Indrani Cosmetics
2 min readApr 17, 2023


BHAs, or beta hydroxy acids, are a type of exfoliating ingredient commonly used in skincare products. Unlike AHAs (alpha hydroxy acids), which are water-soluble and work on the surface of the skin, BHAs are oil-soluble and can penetrate deep into the pores, making them especially effective for those with oily or acne-prone skin.

BHAs work by breaking down the bonds between dead skin cells, allowing them to be easily sloughed off and revealing fresh, radiant skin underneath. In addition, BHAs have anti-inflammatory properties, which can help reduce redness and swelling associated with acne.

When it comes to choosing a BHA for your skin, there are a few different options to consider:

Salicylic acid: This is the most commonly used BHA in skincare products. It’s derived from willow bark and has anti-inflammatory properties that can help calm irritated skin. Salicylic acid is especially effective at unclogging pores and treating acne.

Betaine salicylate: This BHA is derived from sugar beets and is a gentler alternative to salicylic acid. It’s a great option for those with sensitive skin who may find salicylic acid too harsh.

Citric acid: While citric acid is technically an AHA, it’s also oil-soluble and has exfoliating properties similar to BHAs. It’s a great option for those with dry or sensitive skin who may not be able to tolerate stronger BHAs.

Mandelic acid: This BHA is derived from almonds and has larger molecules than other BHAs, which makes it gentler on the skin. It’s a great option for those with sensitive or easily irritated skin.

When incorporating a BHA into your skincare routine, it’s important to start slowly and build up frequency over time. BHAs can be drying, so be sure to follow up with a hydrating moisturizer and use sunscreen during the day. Additionally, it’s a good idea to avoid using BHAs in conjunction with other exfoliating ingredients, such as AHAs or physical scrubs, as this can lead to over-exfoliation and irritation.

Overall, BHAs can be a game-changer for those with oily or acne-prone skin. By incorporating a BHA into your skincare routine, you can effectively unclog pores, reduce inflammation, and reveal radiant, healthy-looking skin.



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