How Chemical Exfoliator (AHA/BHA) Change My Skin

Hi, everyone! How’s your day so far? Rain is pouring down (as always) in my town, the perfect weather to sit and drink your favourite coffee (or tea) while reading.

Anyway, let’s talk about one thing that change my skin in 2017. For me, its a chemical exfoliator that I’ve been using since early 2017. Beside the other factors and product that has a role in my skin changing, chemical exfoliator has the main role in my skincare game. So today, I’m going to talk about how AHA/BHA change my skin. I will talk about AHA first then BHA as these two has a different function and I started using AHA first and BHA a couple months later. Okay without further ado, here it is!

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Before I explain how AHA and BHA change my skin, I think we have to talk about what is AHA and BHA first, because as famous as it is, there are many people who still confused about AHA and BHA differences (or didn’t know about AHA and BHA at all). AHA and BHA, both are a chemical exfoliator that has a function to eliminate dead skin cells and then reveal a smooth, brighter, and young looking skin. However, the result isn’t as quick as using the traditional exfoliator. You have to be patient to see the actual result, but trust me, its gonna worth it. As scary as the “chemical” word sound, in fact the effect of using traditional exfoliator (such as scrub, etc) is much much more scarier than the chemical word. Using traditional exfoliator can strip off your skin lipid barrier and irritate your skin, thus eventhough you get smooth and young looking at one attempt, these result has a consequences.

Anyway, the differences between AHA and BHA is, AHA only work on your skin’s surface and AHA is more suitable for normal to dry skin as it has an ability to enhance your skin’s natural moisturizing factors. It doesn’t mean people who has an oily skin can’t use AHA, I have an oily skin and still use AHA. AHA also works effectively in reducing hyper-pigmentation and acne scars. Meanwhile, BHA work in your skin’s surface and also penetrate deep into pores. Which means, BHA is preferred for combination to oily skin as it works well in getting rid of bumps, blackhead, whitehead, blemishes, and enlarged pores. In short, BHA is perfect for your pores problem aka oily skin best friend.

AHA: Lactic Acid(commonly found in milk), Glycolic Acid (found in sugar cane), Citric Acid (found in lemon), Tartaric Acid(found in banana and graped), Malic Acid(found in apple), etc.

BHA: Salicylic Acid, can be found in willow bark, etc.


I started using AHA in (not so) early 2017, my first AHA product is a mask from Kiehls which is a really mild exfoliator. I actually didn’t realize that this mask contain an AHA until then. So I started religiously using this mask 2 times a week and ditching traditional exfoliator.

How it change my skin? Well, my skin has been improving a lot since then. I used to have a very dull looking skin, and since I started using AHA my skin has been improving, its no longer dull, rather my skin is more brighter and really smooth. I used to have this annoying flaky skin aroundn my nose due to my old obsession of using pore strips, the traditional exfoliator took care of this problem temporarily, the flaky skin keep coming back and it makes my makeup look awful. AHA is definitely my skin savior as it took care most of my skin problem. I have a lot of fine lines on my forehead and my under-eye, its not that visible but when I look closely its there. My fine lines is starting to fade away, and so does my acne scars! AHA really help speeds up the acne scars/pigmentation reduction process. And I think since I used AHA, my skin absorbed the other skincare better (compared to before) and it also make my skin so smooth so I can apply makeup perfectly without getting the ‘cakey’ look.

AHA product I’m currently using: Pixi – Glow Tonic


I started to use BHA a couple months after I use AHA. I finally decided to buy a BHA product because I have an oily skin and I have this big problem with blackhead and whitehead, and I’m tired of using pore strips because it irritate my skin and making the skin around my nose reaaallyyy dry.

How does BHA work in taking care of my pore problems? I actually have to wait for 2 months to see the visible result, I notice only a tiny bit improvement in the first 4 weeks. In the first 4 weeks, blackhead and whitehead starting to go away but only a few of them, but one thing that really change is the skin around my nose is no longer irritated and dry, the flaky skin is finally disappear. In the next 7-8 weeks, blackhead and whitehead is starting to disappear, now I only notice two or three blackhead on my nose. Well, its not completely removed but the blackhead and whitehead on my nose (and other areas as well) is reduced, a lot. I also no longer got little bumps on my forehead as much as before. But somehow it moved onto my cheek, duh (I’m still trying to take care of it). Anyway, I just tried this last night, I used BHA (salicylic acid) as a spot treatment and it kinda works! I have this big, aching, and ‘mad’ soon to be acne last night, and I ran out of acne patch so I’m using BHA as a spot treatment, I leave it overnight and the soon-to-be acne is no longer as red and as painful as yesterday. It doesn’t make the acne disappear, but it calmed down the acne. Thus, beside taking care of blackhead and whitehead, BHA is really great too to take care of acne.

BHA product I’m currently using: COSRX BHA Blackhead Power Liquid

How I use AHA and BHA in my skincare routine?

I use exfoliator 2-3 times a week as my PM routine after toner, sometimes I use both AHA and BHA or I only use one of them. It depend on my skin condition. Some chemical exfoliator products might stated that you can use it everyday, but I don’t think using an exfoliating product everyday is necessary and I’d like to prevent over exfoliating, so I only use up to 3 times a week. Because anything that too much isn’t good, yes?

So, that’s my experience. In short, AHA and BHA is a skin changer in my skincare routine it improves my skin texture, reduce my pigmentation, took care of my pore problem, and most importantly it doesn’t irritate my skin!

Anyway, what about you? Did you use a chemical exfoliator in your routine? If yes, tell me your favourite products in the comment below! If you haven’t yet, you gotta try using it! I can assure you it will change your skin!

Thank you for reading!

See you in my next post!



Follow me on instagram to get updates on my AM PM skincare routine and let’s get in touch!

Published by Salsa Wigati

A humanitarian worker at heart, an amateur baker. I drink coffee too much and probably own too many skincare products.

6 thoughts on “How Chemical Exfoliator (AHA/BHA) Change My Skin

  1. Halo kak 🙂 kulit wajahku kombinasi (kering di bagian pipi dan oily di T-zone serta punya whiteheads dan blackheads di hidung)
    Jadi lebih baik pake acid toner jenis apa ya kak? BHA kah? Tapi aku kok sedikit khawatir ya kalo make BHA, takut pipiku bakalan semakin kering 😥 haruskah make AHA dan BHA bergantian?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi😊
      Sebenernya kalo untuk ngatasin blackhead/whitehead lebih cocok pake BHA, kalo kamu takut dibagian pip kamu tambah kering aku saranin kamu pake BHA di T-zone yang oily/dibagian yang ada komedonya, dan di pipi pake AHA. Aku sebenernya gabisa kasih saran untuk yg kulitnya kering karena kulitku kombinasi normal-oily, tapi menurutku BHA gak bakal bikin kulit kering asalkan setelah itu kamu jangan lupa pake essence+moisturizer yg hydrating. Semoga membantu yaa🖤


  2. Pemakaian AHA di pipi dan BHA di T zone kira2 aman gak ya kak? Aku takut bakalan over exfoliate meskipun nanti pakenya cuma 1-2x seminggu.


    1. Gapapa kok. Aha dan bha memang boleh dipake diwaktu yg sama (karena banyak juga produk yg mengandung aha+bha), tapi kalo mau kamu layer aha dan bhanya menurutku lebih baik kasih seling waktu 20menit dulu, kalo mau pake di t-zone bha sisanya pake aha gpp langsung pakein ajaa. Kalo pakenya cuma 1-2x seminggu harusnya ga sampe over exfoliate sih karena kalo buat kulit kering/normal disaranin buat exfoliate 1-2x dan buat yg oily 2-3x seminggu. Kamu kalo takut, coba pake aha/bha yang precentagenya rendah dulu, kaya misalnya kalo aha coba pake pixi glow tonic, dia kandungannya cuma 5% glycolic acid (aha) atau kalo bha cosrx yg blackhead power liquid kandungan bhanya 4%.
      Dan jangan lupa pake sunscreen yaa:”) penting bgt kalo abis eksfoliasi harus pake sunscreen. Btw sekalian dijawab disini aja yaa, aku gapernah ada purging pas pake chemical exfoliator apapun😊


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