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This component soothes inflammatory processes, eliminates pathogenic bacteria, suppresses the activity of sebaceous glands, boosts cell renewal, improves complexion, and makes your skin smooth.

I have asked a cosmetologist how BHAs differ from other acids, how useful they are, and when they should be used.

What is BHA? What is the difference between BHAs and other acids?

Skin renewal is a natural process, old cells die and new ones replace them. Regular exfoliation of dead skin cells accelerates the renewal of the epidermis. Your skin becomes smooth and elastic, acquires a beautiful, healthy color. Today, acids are one of the most efficient ways of cell exfoliation. In fact, they work ten times more effectively than other products.

In cosmetology, they often use only one acid that belongs to the class of salicylates contained in the bark of white willow (Salix alba) - salicylic beta-hydroxy acid (BHA). BHAs constitute the hydroxyl part of the molecule that is separated from the acidic part by two carbon atoms.

BHAs, or beta-hydroxy acids, work inside the pores.

The peculiarity of BHAs is that they are fat-soluble and can penetrate deep into the pores through the layer of skin sebum. They purify the pores from dead cells and dissolve blackheads.

And since they also have an antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effect, they significantly reduce the production of sebum.

An important difference between BHAs and other acids is their concentration (1-2%) and pH (up to 4). Using lower strength acids at home is not effective enough, but acids of higher concentration can lead to burns.

What skin types do BHAs suit best of all?

Since the main aim of BHAs is to eliminate inflammatory processes, suppress sebaceous gland activity, stop pathogenic bacteria from spreading, it is advisable to use them for problem skin (acne, inflammatory acne, post-acne), oily skin, or combination skin.

At the same time, keratolytic promotes cell renewal, reduces the thickness of the horny layer, tones skin texture, smoothes out small wrinkles, lightens surface pigmentation, and improves complexion.

How should we use BHAs: in what season and time of day? What skincare products can or can’t be combined with BHAs?

BHAs should be used from October to April. Since acids can increase the photosensitivity of your skin due to the constant exfoliation of the horny layer, be sure to protect your skin from the sun. You should regularly use sunscreen products with an SPF of at least 30.

Creams with an SPF that is less than 30 are ineffective and don’t prevent the appearance of age spots on your skin.

I recommend protecting your skin by applying the sunscreen cream Extreme Protect SPF 30 from iS Clinical as the final step of your basic skin care.

You can use BHAs at home every day or whenever necessary, but it is best to apply them before going to bed again due to the photosensitivity. BHAs are very well combined with AHAs. When used together, they provide complete cell exfoliation and renewal. AHAs work on the surface, and BHAs penetrate deep into the pores. For example, Active Serum from iS Clinical represents an ideal balance of AHAs and BHAs.

Acid exposure can cause skin dryness and discomfort, so it is very important to avoid skin dehydration by using hyaluronic acid moisturizers. One of such powerful moisturizers is Hydra-Cool Serum from iS Clinical.

Some products cannot be combined with BHAs. For example, the products that contain retinol. Retinol increases skin photosensitivity, which can lead to the appearance of pigmentation or even cause sunburns. This substance can also affect sebaceous gland activity and damage the protective barrier of your skin.

BHAs are not used along with essential oils because it is impossible to control the depth and uniformity of penetration, which can lead to skin burns.

What results should I expect after using BHAs? What benefits do they provide?

BHAs effectively improve the condition of oily skin that is prone to rashes (acne), hyperkeratosis, and surface pigmented spots.

The effect of BHAs becomes noticeable in a few days. The regular use of BHAs provides even more benefits to your skin due to cell renewal and mild exfoliation.

BHA key benefits

  • Skin becomes smooth and less oily thanks to the reduced production of sebum.

  • The number of blackheads is reduced as salicylic acid exfoliates dead skin cells inside the pores.

  • BHAs significantly decrease inflammatory rashes, skin redness, and promote wound healing due to their anti-inflammatory properties.

  • Due to their keratolytic activity, BHAs make the horny layer thinner, reduce the depth of fine lines, and lighten surface pigmentation.

To achieve a more stable and long-lasting effect, I recommend using BHAs for at least three months. You need to take into account the individual characteristics and needs of your skin, so it is advisable to consult a cosmetician to get individual recommendations on the use of BHAs.

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