Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Beta Hydroxy Acid - BHA

In the world of cosmetics, Beta Hydroxy Acid (BHA) is the term used to describe an oil-soluble, natural occurring acid that exfoliates cellular buildup while targeting the oil embedded in the pores. Although the exfoliation properties are similar to Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs), BHA performs at a deeper level with the ability to penetrate the pores and dislodge impurities. Oily, acne prone skin benefits more from this type of exfoliant than the AHAs. Beta Hydroxy Acid is considered less irritating than the AHAs, but the skin needs to be gradually introduced to this ingredient. Caution is required to prevent redness and inflammation.

Salicylic Acid is the star of this show. Derived from willow bark, salicylic acid is an effective weapon used against non-inflamed acne, psoriasis and eczema. Found in cleansers, lotions and creams, this ingredient speeds up cell turnover and targets the activity going on in the pores to help prevent clogging while breaking down blackheads and whiteheads. Its natural anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties have a positive effect on troubled skin, which in turn, results in improved skin texture and skin tone. A star indeed.

A few words of warning . . . those with an allergy to aspirin should avoid any products containing this ingredient as salicylic acid is part of the aspirin family. Sensitivity to sun exposure greatly increases so it is an absolute must to use an SPF. Pregnant women should check with their doctors before using any products containing a BHA.