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Beta Hydroxy Acids Exfoliate Oily Skin

If you want clear, even-toned skin, just cleaning your face is not enough —you need to exfoliate.

A formula with beta hydroxy acids (BHAs) is the best plan for acne-prone and oily skin.

Not to be confused with alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs), beta hydroxy acids are exfoliating agents that break down dirt and bacteria in pores. Unlike AHAs, which are water-soluble, BHAs are oil-soluble, which permits them to penetrate your skin’s oil glands to remove dirt and dead cells deep in the pores.

Many ingredients are considered a beta hydroxy acid, the most common being salicylic acid. Derived from willow bark, salicylic acid has both anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. This helps exfoliate dead skin cells on the skin’s surface, treating active breakouts and discoloration.

Other beta hydroxy acids include beta hydroxybutanoic acid, tropic acid and trethocanic acid.

BHAs also can treat conditions like psoriasis, ichthyosis, dandruff, corns, calluses and warts on the hands. As a bonus, beta hydroxy acids are anti-inflammatory and less irritating than alpha hydroxy acids.

They chemically exfoliate dead skin cells to promote a clearer complexion and reduce the look of hyperpigmentation while targeting congestion and dirt in pores with antibacterial properties, preventing future breakouts.

Additional benefits include reducing inflammation of active pimples and reducing excessive oil production.

If you’re thinking of trying beta hydroxy acids, it won’t be difficult to find. Products with salicylic acid like cleansers, serums, spot treatments and face masks are usually packed with it. Because salicylic acid works well with AHAs, you’ll often find them combined.

Some products are formulated for daily use while others, like serums or masks, are meant to be used less frequently, so read instructions carefully. As always, a licensed dermatologist is your best resource.

Beta hydroxy acid products can be drying and cause redness and irritation. In most cases, side effects tend to dissipate once your skin adjusts. The best way is to introduce BHAs is slowly, once or twice weekly and adjust accordingly.

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