Monday, November 29, 2010

Interesting Reads: About AHA and BHA

I decided to post an article on AHA and BHA before reviewing the Hada Labo AHA/BHA Exfoliating Face Wash Foam. This is from Paula Begoun's cosmetics cop website. Note the properties of AHA/BHA that is needed for proper exfoliation. 

An effective AHA or BHA product. One significant consequence of sun damage is that the outer layer of skin becomes thickened, discolored, rough, and uneven. The best way to help skin shed abnormally built-up layers of dead, unhealthy skin is to use a well-formulated alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) or beta hydroxy acid (BHA) product. Such exfoliation will not only even out skin tone it will also produce a significant improvement in the texture of skin. Another benefit is that exfoliating away accumulated layers of dead skin cells helps other products you use, particularly moisturizers, penetrate skin and be far more effective. The most researched forms of AHAs are glycolic or lactic acids. Salicylic acid is the sole BHA option. For AHAs, look for products that contain at least 5% AHA, but preferably 8-10%. If the percentage isn’t listed on the label, then the ingredient should be at the top of the ingredient list. For BHA products, 0.5% to 2% concentrations are available.

The difference in concentrations between AHAs and BHA is not a qualitative one. AHAs are not more effective or better than BHA because of the increased concentration needed for one versus the other. Rather, leave-on, daily use AHAs are effective at 5% to 10% and BHA at 1% to 2%. (Sources: Women’s Health In Primary Care, July 2003, pages 333-339; Journal of Dermatological Treatment, April 2004, pages 88-93; Dermatology, January 1999; pages 50-53; and Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, April 1997, pages 589-593). There are many examples in skin care (and baking for that matter) where percentage of an ingredient doesn’t demonstrate superiority.

If you are battling wrinkles and stubborn blemishes or blackheads, BHA is the better choice because salicylic acid can also improve the shape of the pore. Whether you choose an AHA or BHA product, it is essential that the pH of the product is between 3 and 4. This range is necessary for either ingredient to exfoliate skin. You can find products with a pH lower than 3, but these tend to be too irritating for all skin types, which negates their benefits. (When I rate skin-care products with AHA or BHA, the pH is always tested to be sure it can indeed exfoliate skin.) (Sources: Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, April 2005, pages 1156-1162; Dermatologic Surgery, February 2005, pages 149-154; and Experimental Dermatology, December 2003, pages 57-63.)

Do click the website link to read more about treatment of wrinkles. This website has a lot of useful information about skincare as well. 

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