The Best AHA and BHA Skin-Care Products

Exfoliation is a critical part of any skin-care routine. That being said, using a physical exfoliant isn’t the only way to slough away dead skin cells and reveal a glowing, fresh complexion. Enter chemical acids, like alpha-hydroxy-acids (AHAs) and beta-hydroxy-acids (BHAs), that can target concerns like uneven skin tone, texture, fine lines, acne and wrinkles. AHAs include ingredients like glycolic acid and lactic acid and are water-soluble. On the other hand, BHAs, like salicylic acid, are oil-soluble. Both are found in a wide-range of skin-care products like toners, moisturizers and cleansers. To help you narrow down which AHA or BHA product is best for you, we’re detailing some of our favorites ahead.


SkinCeuticals LHA Toner


Incorporating this AHA and BHA acid toner into your routine is an easy way to add a chemical exfoliant into your routine; it’s especially great for oily and acne-prone skin types. Lipo-hydroxy acid, salicylic acid and glycolic acid help to unclog pores and slough away dead cells, so your face is left feeling smooth, soft and prepped for moisturizer. 

La Roche-Posay Effaclar Pore Minimizer Face Serum


Looking for a product that will address the appearance of large pores? Test out this La Roche-Posay serum. Formulated with AHAs like glycolic acid and lipo-hydroxy acid, the pore minimizer serum works to smooth out your skin texture and boost radiance. Plus, it has a lightweight, non-greasy texture that absorbs quickly. 


Kiehl’s Rare Earth Deep Cleanser 


Opting for a face wash that exfoliates as it cleanses will leave your face feeling fresh and grime-free right off the bat. This Kiehl’s option is gentle enough to be used every day and doesn’t strip the skin. And, with ingredients like Amazonian white clay and salicylic acid, it still detoxifies pores and absorbs excess oil. 


SkinFix Resurface+ AHA Renewing Cream 


We indulge in multi-step routines when it comes to our faces, but it’s important to give the same TLC to the skin on our bodies, too. Enter this SkinFix AHA body cream. With a blend of AHAs, the lime-smelling lotion exfoliates away dead skin cells to help smooth and soften skin. What’s more, it helps reduce bumps on your arms and legs caused by keratosis pilaris. 


Lancôme Visionnaire Crescendo Dual-Phase Night Peel


This two-part, 28-day, nighttime treatment is the real deal. The product is a liquid, leave-on peel that’s split up into two phases, each with a separate formula. Phase one, which is used during the first 14 days of use, targets skin texture, appearance of pores and brightness of skin tone. Phase two, which is used during the second 14 days of use, has a formula that contains BHAs and AHAs. The phase two portion targets dark spots, fine lines and wrinkles. 


SkinCeuticals Glycolic Renewal Cleanser


This SkinCeuticals Glycolic Renewal Cleanser is a foaming gel cleanser that is packed with 8% glycolic acid, aloe leaf juice and glycerin. It gently exfoliates and hydrates the skin, so your face is left looking bright and feeling hydrated. 


Sobel Skin Rx 30% Glycolic Acid Facial Peel


Come winter, flakiness becomes a concern. To help, try this dermatologist-developed, professional-grade glycolic acid exfoliating facial peel. With a 30% concentration of the AHA glycolic acid, it minimizes the appearance of dry skin and large pores. It also contains calendula, chamomile and cucumber extract to calm and soothe the skin. 


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