Beta Hydroxy Acid (BHA)

Beta Hydroxy Acid (BHA)



  • The most well-known and used BHA is salicylic acid
  • BHA has many similarities to AHAs the difference being BHA is oil soluble and can reach further down the layers of the skin
  • BHA can help unclog pores of any excess sebum and bacteria that can lead to blackheads and other breakouts
  • BHA can chemically exfoliant the build-up of skin cells, dirt and debris that collect on the skin and cause a number of skin concerns
  • BHA is highly potent and is frequently formulated in blemish-fighting skincare products


Those who have an oily and blemish-prone skin type will see a marked improvement in their skin. Those with sensitive and dry skin should avoid BHA at all cost due to its strength which can cause skin irritation.


BHA, beta hydroxy acid is the sister compound of AHAs, it is also a popular chemical exfoliant. You will find there is one BHA that is used with skincare products known as salicylic acid, this acid is oil soluble meaning it can reach deep into the lower layers of the skin and unclog the pores of bacteria and excess sebum which can frequently build-up and result in blackheads and spots. With its blemish combating properties you would find it very difficult to find an anti-blemish skincare product without containing this clever BHA.


Due to the fact it is highly potent it can often cause a flare-up in skin irritation, such as redness, rashes, dryness and tightness to the skin. if you are considering introducing BHA into your skincare routine you must first consult with a doctor or dermatologist to ensure it is the best ingredient for you.


  • Marks R, Leyden JJ.¬†Dermatologic Therapy in Current Practice.¬†Martin Dunitz; 2002.
  • William JC. Anti-wrinkle products. In: Andre B, Barel PM, Marc P, editors.¬†Handbook of Cosmetic Science and Technology.¬†New York: Marcel Decker; 2001. pp. 543‚Äď9.
  • Green B. After 30 years ‚Ķ the future of hydroxyacids.¬†J Cosmet Dermatol.¬†2005;4(1):44‚Äď5. doi: 10.1111/j.1473-2165.2005.00159.x.¬†
  • Leyden JJ. Therapy for acne vulgaris.¬†N Engl J Med.¬†1997;336(16):1156‚Äď62. doi: 10.1056/NEJM199704173361607.
  • Hydroxy Acids, the Most Widely Used Anti-aging Agents. Jundishapur J Nat Pharm Prod. 2012 Winter; 7(1): 9‚Äď10. Published online 2012 Jan 4. PMCID: PMC3941867 PMID: 24624144



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