AHA Vs. BHA: Which Is Better For Dry Skin?

There's no doubt that exfoliating comes with a multitude of skincare benefits. By removing dead skin cells, unclogging pores, and increasing collagen production, exfoliating is one of your best friends when it comes to giving your skin that healthy glow everyone desires. However, many people may not know the details when it comes to certain exfoliators. In today's market, there are two main types of exfoliators: Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs) and Beta Hydroxy Acids (BHAs), both of which can be found in various face washes, masks, moisturizers, scrubs, and more (via Insider).

While it's true that people with dry skin should be careful as to how much they exfoliate their faces (ideally one or twice a week as irritation is always a factor, according to InStyle), it is a misconception that dry skinned people can or should skip the exfoliating step altogether. But what's the difference between AHAs and BHAs, and which one should you use if you have dry skin? Keep scrolling to find out.

AHA exfoliants are better for dry skin

While AHAs are water soluble and treat surface level skin concerns, BHAs penetrate deeper to remove dead skin cells. AHAs are ideal for treating hyperpigmentation, fine lines, and an overall uneven skin tone, while BHAs are more suited for acne, sun damage, and redness, according to Healthline. Overall, if you have dry skin, AHAs are the way to go. This is because of their gentler nature, and given the fact that AHAs are water soluble, they can help retain moisture to parched pores as well (via Insider).

As for what exact AHA you should use if you have dry skin, dermatologist Neal Schultz told InStyle that you should opt for a glycolic acid product due to its gentle properties, ideally with an 8% to 15% concentration.

"Glycolic exfoliation reveals your normal, smooth, even-toned skin below which is hidden by the damaged and/or dead cells that just didn't fall off on schedule — because the 'glue' that holds them on didn't dissolve on schedule — and make your skin dry and look tired, older, blotchy," Schultz told the outlet.

So if you have dry skin, there are a wide range of options out there for you to get rid of pesky flakes for a brighter complexion. Just be sure to opt for an AHA that isn't too harsh.