What are AHA and BHA peels

This is how it works: BHA & AHA peelings

Many of you already know (and love!) Paula's Choice. The American brand, founded and managed by skincare guru Paula Begoun, is known for specific and highly effective skin care products for a wide variety of skin types. Paula's Beautypedia, the online reference work with reviews collected by Paula personally, on the most diverse beauty products on the market, has long been a real beauty bible for me.

Well known for Paula's Choice are the different AHA and BHA peelings for use at home, which promise a cleaner, finer and younger complexion. If you read the reviews, you definitely want to order one of the products. I have already tried the 2% peeling lotion that I have already presented here. Afterwards I received some comments and emails from you readers: What is AHA? Is it also suitable for sensitive skin? What to do if pimples appearThe following is available on the website:

But that's not enough for me. But I wanted to know more about it and took the opportunity to personally ask Paula Begoun a few questions about peeling. A nice opportunity for me to bring more light into the forest of AHA and BHA acids.

Interview with Paula Begoun

Foxycheeks: What do AHA and BHA mean?

Paula Begoun: A.lpha-Hhydroxyl acid and B.eta-Hydroxy acid (Foxycheeks note: the A stands for the English A.cid) are acids that have an exfoliating effect on the skin. AHAs usually occur as fruit acid or lactic acid, but 99% of these acids are produced synthetically in cosmetics. BHA is also known by the term salicylic acid. The main difference between AHA and BHA is that AHA is water soluble while BHA is fat soluble. Therefore, it can be said that AHA products exfoliate the surface of the skin and bind moisture for more freshness and elasticity, whereas BHA penetrates the oily surface of the skin and the pores and reduces redness and impurities in the deeper layers of the skin.

What can these peels do?

All skin types can benefit from scrubs. Really, they can work small wonders on your skin! Our skin should actually exfoliate on its own, but it often doesn't do it properly. Sun exposure makes the outermost layer of skin thicker over time and the layers underneath thin and unyielding. New skin cells are produced in the layers of skin underneath and so that they also come to the fore and make our skin look younger and fresher again, we should regularly remove the upper skin layer. With regular use of a well-formulated scrub, one can notice insane changes in the appearance of the skin. The complexion is made to glow, the complexion is refined and moisturizers can be better absorbed by the skin.

When and how do you use AHA and BHA peels?

This is of course very individual and cannot always be answered across the board. Both acids have a lot in common in terms of moisture, wrinkle reduction and skin tightening. Beta-hydroxy acids are very good at removing blackheads and blemishes, and generally on skin that is oily or prone to acne. Alpha-hydroxy acids, on the other hand, are more suitable for sun-damaged and dry skin. Both products can be used once or twice a day. For this you should consider your own skin sensitivity. Exfoliating should always be used after thoroughly cleansing the face after the toner has dried. After the leave-on peeling has been completely absorbed into the skin, you can optionally apply a moisturizing cream, a serum or the make-up directly.

Important Note that those who are allergic to aspirin should not use a beta-hydroxy acid (BHA) scrub because it is salycilic acid, which is also found in aspirin. In addition, after a peeling in the morning, you should urgently apply complete sun protection, as acid peelings can slightly increase the skin's sensitivity to the sun.

How do you apply it correctly?

When applying a peeling, you should always avoid the eye area and mouth. When applying, you should also always treat the neck and décolleté.

1, 2, 5 or 10% - what percentage is right for me?

Those who dare can experiment with the different concentrations of the scrubs to find out which one gives the best results without irritating the skin. To do this, you should start with the lowest concentration (1 or 2%) and apply it once a day every three days and wait to see how the skin reacts to it. Then you can increase the frequency of application and / or the concentration of the peeling, if necessary. If the concentration causes irritation, the frequency of application and / or the concentration should be reduced immediately and, if necessary, the use of a peeling should be stopped completely.

What does a suitable, sensible facial care routine look like?

Depending on the needs of the skin, the facial care routine can only consist of the basic steps or it can be more complex. Both in the morning and in the evening you should first start to clean your face thoroughly with a water-soluble and soap-free cleansing milk after you have removed the make-up from a large area. After cleansing in the morning, you should always apply a moisturizer with a sun protection factor of 30 or more, because our skin is exposed to UVA and UVB rays even in winter. In the evening, the cream does not necessarily have to contain a sun protection factor. Depending on how the skin reacts to it, you can exfoliate once or twice a day. A more complex routine usually comes with a toner and further treatment, such as: B. add a serum or eye cream.

Should I avoid enzyme peels while using fruit acid peels?

Of course, everyone can decide for themselves. The skin only needs a good peeling. The use of several peelings only irritates the skin unnecessarily and usually leads to over-irritation.

Is it possible to do peelings if you have sensitive skin or are prone to acne?

In principle, you can also exfoliate sensitive skin, the product should then be tailored to this. However, it is always advisable to first test the peeling on a small area on the skin and wait to see how the skin reacts to the product. For skin that is more prone to acne, the BHA peeling is recommended, as it also has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effects.

Can I also use peelings in summer?

The main sign of sun damaged skin is thickened, wrinkled skin. Both AHA products and BHA can be helpful in removing the outer layer of skin and refining the complexion. Since our skin is particularly exposed to UVA and UVB radiation in summer, it is advisable to use a peeling in summer as well. CAUTION: Acid peelings can increase the skin's sensitivity to the sun, which is why good sun protection is even more important in day care.

I was told by a reader that she got pimples in the chin area when she started using BHA lotions. Where can this come from?

When you use a new product or a new combination of products on your skin, negative skin reactions can sometimes occur, even if the products themselves are well formulated. First of all, you should find out whether the products contain ingredients that you are allergic to. It is also important to always use products without perfumes. Perfume is never good for the skin! After examining the ingredients, consider the combination of products and the frequency with which they are used. To find out which product is possibly causing the irritation, you can first of all reduce the frequency of use. This can be done by using some products in the morning and some in the evening instead of using each product twice a day. If the reduction in frequency does not lead to any improvement, the product that is most likely to be responsible for the irritation should be avoided. It can also always be helpful to have a notebook handy in which to record the progress and changes in the skin.

Thank you very much for your time and the interview, dear Paula!


Tip: AHA & BHA for the body

Anyone who struggles with so-called 'grater skin' (e.g. on the upper arms), redness and pimples (e.g. on the back) on the body might also like the body care products from Paula's Choice with AHA and BHA. For example the 2% BHA body spray, which works as a light peeling and can be easily applied to your back with the spray head; or the body lotion from the Resist series, which, thanks to salicylic acid, promises smoother skin and is supposed to stimulate collagen production again.

The named peelings are all available online at Paula's Choice (also as samples).

In warm collaboration with Paula's Choice.