Mixology 101: AHAs & BHAs

Author Team Essentialist

When it comes to skincare there are so many fabulous ingredients but knowing how to use them is not always intuitive. Though it would be lovely to just slap on a given product and get the best results, it's not always so simple. We see questions on general use and mixing of ingredients all the time so we thought a brief on which ingredients work well together and which should be avoided would be useful. AHAs and BHAs are the last ingredients we are discussing in our Mixology 101 series. In case you missed our previous two blog posts you can read the vitamin C one here and the retinol one here.

Best Used When:

We recommend using it in your PM routine. It is effectively speeding skin cell turnover so a night off from sun exposure is like a resting period for the newly exposed skin. SPF is a skincare routine essential but especially when using these two ingredients as sun sensitivity will be increased.

Best Used With:

Hyaluronic Acid. It’s moisturizing and soothing which is critical after exfoliating. 

Ceramides. Also great for hydrating your skin!

SPF. This is essential in order to combat the heightened sun sensitivity which will occur from using AHAs and BHAs. 

Don’t Mix With:

Retinol. These two exfoliators combined with retinol are not advised especially for those with sensitive skin. Even using them at different times on the same day can lead to irritation, heightened sensitivity, and redness. We suggest alternating days of use or consulting your dermatologist about mixing them. 

Benzoyl Peroxide. Combining these can over exfoliate your skin leading to skin irritation such as red, dry, flaky, peeling, stinging, burning, etc. 

Vitamin C. Vitamin C can be exfoliating therefore, when combined with AHAs and/or BHAs skin irritation can occur. We recommend using vitamin C in the AM and AHAs and BHAs in the PM.

Enzyme Exfoliants. Mixing may cause increased skin sensitivity and irritation, alternate use and avoid over-exfoliating!