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Healthy, radiant, and smooth skin is everyone’s dream. And to achieve such skin, exfoliation is...

Healthy, radiant, and smooth skin is everyone’s dream. And to achieve such skin, exfoliation is the most essential step in any skincare routine. It helps in getting rid of dead skin cells and also increases the cell turnover rate. There are two forms of exfoliating ingredients: AHAs and BHAs, which helps in skin exfoliation and helps in providing smooth, textured, and even-toned skin.

AHA stands for alpha hydroxy acids and BHA stands for beta hydroxy acids. We can find these ingredients in many skincare products that claim to treat different skin conditions and improve skin features.

What are AHAs?

AHAs are derived from sugar cane or other plant sources, that is why they are referred to as fruit acids. Glycolic acid, lactic acid, malic acid, tartaric acid, and citric acid are five naturally occurring organic acids.

Benefits of using AHAs into your skincare routine:

AHAs target all areas of the skin and different skin concerns like

  • Acne
  • Scars
  • Melasma
  • Hyperpigmentation
  • Skin Roughness
  • Age spots

The main purpose of AHAs is to exfoliate the skin. Depending on the concentration, aha serum product may remove the dead skin cells just from the surface of the skin or deeply exfoliate all the skin layers, giving a smooth, textured, even-toned and glowing skin. AHAs gently break down the bonds between the dead skin cells and exfoliate.

What are BHAs?

Also known as beta-hydroxy acids, BHAs are the popular acne-treating ingredients. The most well known BHA is salicylic Acid. It is always recommended by many dermatologists to treat acne or breakouts. BHAs are the carboxylic acids that work on the upper layer of the skin and also deeply cleanses the skin pores, thus reducing blackheads, whiteheads and also controls the excess sebum production. Another well known BHA is citric acid that helps in evening out the skin texture and skin tone.

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Benefits of using AHAs into your skincare routine:

  • Reduce acne and breakouts
  • Helps in reducing fine lines and wrinkles
  • Improve the texture of the skin
  • Reduce blackheads, whiteheads and minimize the size of pores
  • Reduce excess sebum production

The similarities between AHAs and BHAs

  • Both AHA and BHA help in decreasing the skin inflammation, acne and other skin concerns.
  • They both deep cleanses the skin pores and helps in reducing the pore size.
  • AHA BHA serum helps in evening out the skin tone and texture.
  • AHA BHA serum removes the dead skin cells and clears out acne and breakouts.

What makes AHAs and BHAs different?

  • AHA stands for alpha hydroxy acids whereas BHA stands for beta hydroxy acids.
  • AHA are water-soluble acids whereas BHA are oil-soluble acids.
  • AHA exfoliates the upper layer of the skin whereas BHA penetrates deeply into the skin and  cleanses the skin pores and reduces excess sebum.
  • AHA doesn’t have antibacterial properties whereas BHA possesses antibacterial properties.

How to choose the correct product – AHA vs BHA?

When choosing between AHA and BHA, it is important to know your skin concerns or your skin needs. For example if you want to treat cystic acne (they are deeper), it is recommended to always go with BHA or the combination of AHA and BHA.

If you have dry sensitive skin, then you would want to go with the AHA products. If your skin concerns include hyperpigmentation, melasma or age spots then also AHA based products are recommended. If you have oily acne prone skin and if your skin concerns include cystic acne, active breakouts, uneven texture of the skin, blackheads, whiteheads or enlarged pores then we recommend to go with the BHA based products.

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Can AHA and BHA be layered together?

Long story short, yes some of them can. AHAs and BHAs can absolutely be used together in your routine. While layering isn’t the best way to use them together, you can look for products combining the two together such as the Deconstruct AHA BHA Serum with 18% AHA and 2% BHA to combine the two ingredients together. Look for AHA and BHA serums or toners for effective exfoliation. AHAs work on the surface level whereas BHAs penetrate deeper into the skin, together they loosen the bonds between skin cells and slough away dead skin cells, sebum and dirt clogging the pores.

What other ingredients can we layer AHA and BHA with?

AHA/BHA and L-Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C) – While it’s advisable not to use your AHA/BHA with Vitamin C, an exception can be made in the case you’re sure your skin can tolerate them together. Even then, it’s best to avoid any risk of irritation and use them in separate routines. This combination may be beneficial for those with oily skin type due to its exfoliating properties.

AHA/BHA and Hyaluronic Acid – Hyaluronic Acid isn’t your typical ‘Acid’, contrary to its moniker, Hyaluronic Acid is a humectant which deeply hydrates the skin. Using your AHA/BHA with Hyaluronic Acid can create a perfect combination. The Hyaluronic Acid prevents dryness and hydrates the skin while the AHA/BHA exfoliates the skin leaving a brighter complexion.

AHA/BHA and Kojic Acid – AHAs, BHAs and Kojic Acid can work together in your routine to provide enhanced brightening results. Kojic Acid acts as a tyrosinase inhibitor and inhibits the production of melanin while AHAs and BHAs exfoliate the skin resulting in a brighter complexion. Together they make the perfect treatment to tackle hyperpigmentation.

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AHA/BHA and Azelaic Acid – Azelaic Acid is an antioxidant that’s also a mild exfoliant. In combination with AHA/BHA, Azelaic Acid can work wonderfully to get rid of dullness, uneven skin texture, fine lines and provide an even skin tone.

How to layer AHA and BHA with other acids in your skincare?

While applying skincare, the general rule to follow is moving from a lower pH to a higher pH. Acidic products are supposed to be applied first to avoid irritation and for optimum absorption of the products. Since this rule cannot be applicable to layering acids (all acids are acidic), we move on to the next rule- thinnest to thickest. The products with the thinnest consistency must be applied first. Look for an AHA Bha serum or toner, which should be applied first. You can include multiple serums to include more acids. Just make sure to not include too many acids and create a recipe for disaster. Stick to a maximum or two to three acids in your routine and always remember to follow up with a moisturiser. Also, ensure application of sunscreen to minimise damage.


1)     What is Deconstruct AHA BHA Serum used for?

The exfoliating serum with 18% AHA and 2% BHA penetrates into various skin layers and exfoliate to give an even-toned and smooth textured skin.It is filled with the goodness of propylene glycol to keep skin moisturised & hydrated.

2)     How long do I need to use Deconstruct’s exfoliating serum to see the results?

Exfoliating serum should be used for 4-6 weeks religiously to see the best results. It is advisable to use this serum for not more than 2 times a week.

3)     Do I need moisturizer after I apply exfoliating serum?

Yes, It is always advisable to follow up with a hydrating serum or  a moisturizer after using the exfoliating serum.