For glowing, healthy-looking skin, there are 2 important ingredients you must get to know: Alpha-Hydroxy Acids (AHAs) and Beta-Hydroxy Acids (BHAs). These natural acids are exfoliants and can make a huge difference in your skin’s appearance.

First off, let’s breakdown why it’s important to exfoliate your skin. Exfoliation involves the removal of the dead skin cells on the skin's outermost surface.

When we’re younger, our skin naturally exfoliates dead cells about every 25 days. However, when we reach the age of around 30, the shedding process begins to slow down which can result in more pigmentation (uneven skin-tone) as well as a dull complexion, loss of firmness, deeper-looking wrinkles and clogged (enlarged) pores.

This is where using a quality clinical skin care product containing AHAs and/or BHAs comes into play.

What are Alpha-Hydroxy Acids?

Alpha-hydroxy acids are derived from sugar cane or other natural plant sources, which is why they are often referred to as fruity acids. Glycolic acid is derived from sugar cane, it’s the most widely used AHA in skin care products. Other AHAs used in skin care products include lactic acid (milk), citric acid (oranges, lemons) and tartaric acid (grapes). AHAs work on the skin’s surface, and are water soluble.

alpha hydroxy acids skin care

What are Beta-Hydroxy Acids?

Beta-hydroxy acids are made from willow bark and sweet birch trees. The most common BHA that many of us are aware of is salicylic acid, an excellent acne fighter. BHAs work on skin’s surface and have the enhanced ability to deeply penetrate pores and unclog them. BHAs, such as salicylic acid, are oil-soluble. They also have natural skin-soothing properties, so they’re gentle enough for sensitive skin and/or skin with rosacea.

Revercel Skin Care uses pure, highly effective exfoliants (AHAs & BHAs) in our products. As with all of our formulations, they contain unique blends of skin-soothing ingredients.

Now let’s get to the good stuff.

What can AHAs and BHAs do for my skin?

Both AHAs and BHAs have some shared skin benefits!


  • improve the look of dull, uneven skin-tone

  • smooth out rough skin texture, revealing fresher-looking skin

  • reduce the look of fine lines and wrinkles

  • help to make skin look and feel firmer

  • improve hydration

  • help to stimulate collagen production (by increasing collagen synthesis)   

The Takeaways:

  1. As we age our skin’s natural process of sloughing off dead skin cells slows down, hence the need to exfoliate.

  2. Both alpha and beta-hydroxy acids help skin gently exfoliate the build-up of dead skin cells—revealing fresher looking skin.

  3. AHAs are generally preferred for normal to dry, sun-damaged skin, due to their ability to increase the natural moisturizing properties of the skin. AHAs have been proven effective in minimizing the appearance of sun damage (uneven skin-tone, wrinkles, fine-lines, etc.). Some AHAs are too harsh for certain skin types; always try it on a small portion of your skin first.

  4. BHAs work on the skin’s surface AND inside the pore; because it’s oil soluble, it’s great for normal-to-oily skin prone to clogs, blemishes/acne, and enlarged pores. BHAs also contain natural skin-soothing properties, so it’s gentle enough for sensitive skin types.

  5. AHAs and BHAs can cause your skin to be more sensitive to sun exposure. Be sure to protect your skin with sunscreen

The products we recommend in this blog include:

Perfect Glycolic Cleanser

Perfect Glycolic Treatment 25%

Papaya Cleanser

AM Moisturizing Sunscreen SPF 50

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Revercel combines physician-strength ingredients to prevent and correct at the cellular level – long before the signs of aging skin are visible. Our products are never tested on animals. Revercel products are developed and tested by a Dermatologist and a Preventive Medicine specialist in Campbell, CA.