Can I Use Aha and Bha Together? Benefits and How to Use It

Can I Use Aha and Bha Together? Benefits and How to Use It

Everyone wants healthy, clear, and glowing skin, but are we making efforts to get it? Even though there are multiple products in the skincare regime, do we know how to use them correctly? This article discusses whether you can use AHA and BHA together and their benefits and potential side effects.

Healthy skin positively affects our personality and confidence and it is one of the reasons why we all want it. Several factors, such as hormone imbalance, UV rays, and environmental issues, affect our skin, making it dull and lifeless. To get rid of this problem, there are many skincare products with different chemical compounds in the market and two of them are AHA (1) (alpha hydroxy acids) and BHA (2) (beta hydroxy acids).

Both these ingredients are known to offer multiple benefits to the skin. From enhancing the skin’s texture and making it clear, you can achieve a lot of goals by using them.

Using AHA and BHA together?

Yes! You can use these two products together in your skincare regime but under medical guidance. Combining these two products can be beneficial for your skin in multiple ways.

Before learning how to use AHA and BHA together, let’s understand the science behind them and how they benefit the skin.

AHA (alpha hydroxy acids)


Alpha hydroxy acids are a group of plant and animal-derived acids used in various skincare products. You can find AHAs in daily anti-aging products such as serums, toners, creams, and occasional concentrated treatments via chemical peels.

Seven common types of AHAs (3) are used in skincare products that include the following-

  • Citric acid (derived from citrus fruits).
  • Glycolic acid (derived from sugar cane).
  • Hydroxycaproic acid (derived from royal jelly).
  • Hydroxycaprylic acid (derived from animals).
  • Lactic acid (derived from lactose or other carbohydrates).
  • Malic acid (derived from fruits).
  • Tartaric acid (derived from grapes).

Different studies have been conducted on the effectiveness and applications of AHAs. Among all the AHAs available, glycolic and lactic acids have shown the most potential and have been extensively researched.

Additionally, these two AHAs are less likely to cause skin irritation. As a result, most over-the-counter (OTC) AHAs contain either glycolic or lactic acid.

BHA (beta hydroxy acids)


BHAs are formulated to be used daily, but during the initial phase, you may need to apply them a few times a week until your skin becomes accustomed to them. While BHAs do not increase your skin’s sensitivity to the sun as much as AHAs, it is still necessary to wear sunscreen daily to prevent further sun damage.

The common BHAs (4) are as follows:

  • Salicylic acid (or related substances, such as salicylate, sodium salicylate, and willow extract).
  • Beta-hydroxybutyric acid.
  • Tropic acid.
  • Trethocanic acid.

Out of all these, salicylic acid is the most commonly used BHA in cosmetics and skincare products.

Benefits of using AHA and BHA together

Using them together, AHA and BHA can provide numerous benefits such as:

1. Exfoliates the Skin

AHA exfoliates the skin surface, and BHA stimulates the pores. It makes skin smoother and healthier.

2. Enhance Skin Texture

Your skin becomes smooth and toned if you use this combination. Beside improving the skin texture, a regular application of their combination also evens the skin tone and make it more hydrating.

3. Treat Acne and Blackheads

BHA effectively treats acne and blackheads, while AHA helps fade hyperpigmentation. You can combat multiple skin concerns using their combination.

4. Reduce Anti-aging Effects

AHA helps to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles on the face, and BHA improves skin firmness and elasticity.

Potential side effects of using AHA and BHA together

The combination of AHA and BHA provides numerous benefits, however, it is essential to use it cautiously as there can be some risks, too. Below are the potential side effects of using AHA and BHA together that you must be aware of-

1. Irritation on Skin

Using AHA and BHA together may increase the risk of skin irritation. Doing a patch test before using it on the face is essential. You can start it with low concentration and gradually increase the frequency to allow skin to adjust to their concentration.

2. Over-exfoliate

AHA and BHA are chemical exfoliants that can over-exfoliate the skin, damaging the skin barrier. As a result, the skin becomes more sensitive and red. It is recommended to monitor your skin and adjust your skincare routine. If you experience any sign of over-exfoliation, stop its use immediately.

3. Sensitivity from the Sun

AHA and BHA are chemical exfoliants that can increase sun sensitivity; therefore, it is essential to use sunscreen daily while using them alone or in combination.

How to Use Aha and Bha Together?

For safe and effective results, use AHA and BHA together by considering the following tips:

1. Choose the Right Concentration

Start using products that are low in concentration. It can prevent skin irritation.

2. Use Sunscreen Daily

AHA and BHA can over-exfoliate skin, too, which can cause sun sensitivity. To prevent this, use sunscreen daily.

3. Monitor Your Skin

Pay attention to how your skin responds to the combination of AHA and BHA.
If you experience dryness, redness, and irritation, reduce the frequency of products you are using or visit a dermatologist.


Using AHA and BHA together can give you effective results, but keeping the precautionary steps in mind is essential. Also, always choose AHA and BHA from a reliable brand and perform a patch test before slathering the products all over the face. Consult with a dermatologist if you face excessive irritation.

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