The Who, What, Why, When of AHA + BHA Acids

What

Both AHAs and BHAs chemical exfoliators work by combining with the structural lipids in the stratum corneum (aka skin) and dissolving them so that the dead skin cells break away. This is just a fancy was of explaining their very efficient exfoliation method and why they’re an encouraged addition to any healthy skincare regimen.

Who

Alpha Hydroxy Acid or AHA (which are Lactic acid, Glycolic acid and the Fruit acids) is used as a facial exfoliator and is an excellent choice for people with sun damaged skin, aging skin and normal to dry skin types. AHA does not cause sun sensitivity and comes in many forms. AHA’s come in the form of lactic acid which is derived from milk, glycolic acid which is derived from sugarcane and fruit acids which are derived from fruits (citrus and apples/malic acid). AHA can also aid in thickening the lower layers of the skin thus delivering firmness.

Beta Hydroxy Acid or BHA (also called salicylic acid) comes from acetylsalicylic acid which is the same source as aspirin. In general, beta hydroxy acid is a more effective treatment for acne prone skin. BHA also can cause sun sensitivity and must always be used in conjunction with a sunscreen.

Why

  • They’re both powerhouse ingredients!
  • Both get rid of the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles
  • Both make skin appear smoother and tighter
  • Both make skin look more even in texture
  • Improve scarring
  • Improve appearance of photo-aged skin
  • Both hydrate and exfoliate the skin


Well said from Paula’s Choice: “AHAs and BHA are different, and their different properties make one or the other preferred for different skin types:

  • AHAs are water soluble and are preferred for normal to dry, sun-damaged skin due to their ability to enhance natural moisturizing factors within skin.
  • BHA is oil soluble and preferred for normal to oily, clog-prone and bump-prone skin, and enlarged pores, and can clear pores deeply, even those with hard, tiny, white bumps on the cheeks and face. BHA is even suitable for those prone to milia.
  • AHAs and BHA work on skin’s surface; but BHA also works inside the pore lining, where clogs begin.
  • BHA has natural skin-calming properties, which make it preferred for sensitive, redness-prone skin. It’s great for sensitive skin, even for those with rosacea.”

When

  1. AM/PM: try one in the morning and one at night. If you’re targeting a skin issue then doubling down can be effective. Make sure to always hydrate your skin properly and pay attention to warning signs such as redness or red or dryness.
  2. Alternate days: Try AHA on day and then BHA a few days later. Listen to your skin and you’ll never go wrong!
  3. Spot treat: If you have combo skin, try using BHA only in t-zone or oily areas while using AHA everywhere else.
  4. Know your limits-not everyone needs both and if you’re particularly sensitive and NOT acne prone then stick to AHAs.

 

Your Summer to Fall Skincare Transition

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The dog days of summer are wrapping up—and coincides with when skin has decided it can no longer take the heat, grime and sweat it’s been enduring for the past few months, going haywire. Just some of what you might be seeing in the mirror? Photo-damaged skin, discoloration, dehydration, dull or lackluster complexion, congestion. “It’s the sun, sand, beach, warm/humid climate,” explains Dr. Goldfaden. “Added with the fact that consumers are putting on loads of sunscreen to protect against harmful UVA/UVB rays, which can lead to skin congestion and breakouts.”

So what do we do about the new constellation of pimples that has suddenly appeared on our left cheek, and refuses to budge? The changes in weather, as summer transitions to fall, is already enough to shock your skin. So make sure any changes to your skincare regimen are subtle, rather than completely abandoning your previous routine just because it’s getting a little cooler outside. “Subtle changes to your regimen can do wonders for your skin and give it what it really needs. Polish and plump: this is the key. Exfoliation (either in the form of a physical exfoliator or enzyme/chemical)–ridding your complexion of dead, dry, dull cells and revealing brighter, smoother, younger-looking skin underneath is the beginning of revealing a more healthy-looking complexion followed by a corrective moisturizer/hydrating treatment, like oils and moisturizers.”



One subtle change? Swapping out just your cleanser. Goldfaden MD has developed a new cleanser that foams, the Detox Clarifying Facial Wash. Currently the original cleanser in the line, Pure Start, is a gentle wash that helps realign the skin’s natural pH balance. Detox Wash—thanks to a hardworking combo of AHA acids—takes it a step further by fighting bacteria, clarifying pores clogged up by sunscreen, and really addressing congested skin. If your current cleanser works great—check by swiping a pad with micellar water after a wash to see there’s no grime or residue left behind—keep using it!

To treat discoloration, photodamaged skin, or a dull complexion, think about slipping a few brightening ingredients into your regimen. Vitamin C (found in Goldfaden MD’s Brightening Elixir), alpha arbutin (found in Light Treatment, specifically for dark spots) and lactic acid (found in Fresh a Peel) are all power players that can help brighten skin tone and increase radiance.

It’s not just enough to apply product to the face—aka, treating merely the visible symptoms—to treat your skin well. It’s important to balance an effective skincare routine with good choices in diet and a supportive environment. “We holistically believe that healthy-looking skin is a 360-degree approach to wellness,” says Dr. Goldfaden. He recommends eating a diet rich in fatty acids (a “hydration punch”): think avocados, salmon, leafy greens, which will “keep congestion and inflammation at bay while infusing nutrient rich vitamins and nutrients back into your system.” It also means staying clear of alcohol, white carbs and refined sugar—all of which can trigger the inflammation we’re trying to avoid.

Our Summer rescue secret weapon. Discover Retinol.

Retinol is a form of vitamin A, which can be derived from both animal and plant sources(carotenoids). Retinol in some topical form is essential for maintaining healthy skin. Wherever it is derived from, topical vitamin A plays a major role in maintaining the youth of your skin by boosting the process of cell regeneration. Vitamin A and its retinoid analogs stimulate skin cell renewal by increasing the rate of cell division. Through its powerful action as a signaling agent, vitamin A stimulates the binding of epidermal growth factor to your skin cells, thereby encouraging new cell growth. This helps keep your skin soft and smooth. In addition, vitamin A actually thickens your epidermis, which becomes thinner with age, and also improves the elasticity of your skin. Try our Wake Up Call or Fleuressence for a boost of Retinol.

“Liver, carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkin and spinach are among the best places to find  vitamin A. We derive ours from carrots.”

Dr. Goldfaden

Why you need it:

  • Improves the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles
  • Increases collagen production
  • Delivers an overall tighter, firmer, plumper appearance to the skin
  • Retinol will not negatively affect younger skin
  • Helps prevent the signs of aging.
  • Carotenoids = Vitamin A in fruits/plants is “Pro-Vitmain A” and delivers similar effects
  • Retin-A has been prescribed and used by teenagers battling Acne with no negative side effects. It is crucial however, to always wear an SPF if you’re using Retin-A or a retinoid product.