Everything You Need to Know About Beta Hydroxy Acid Products, According to a Dermatologist

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Struggling with acne can feel like a never ending battle. You may have found yourself testing out cleanser after cleanser yet nothing is working for you. That said, perhaps it’s time to try out beta hydroxy acid (BHA), which you may have heard about via social media.  

To help you understand everything you need to know about the powerful, acne-fighting acid, below, Dr. Dendy Engelman, MD, FACMS, FAAD, board certified cosmetic dermatologist and Mohs surgeon at Shafer Clinic, NYC, discusses its benefits with ESSENCE. 

What is Beta-hydroxy acid?

“Beta-hydroxy acids (BHAs) are water-soluble acids that are commonly used to exfoliate the skin,” Engelman tells ESSENCE. “BHAs are effective in minimizing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, targeting uneven skin texture, and improving acne breakouts.”

Who can use it?

Most skin types can benefit from using products with BHAs. Engelman recommends patients start out slowly with only once a week application and gradually, if they see results, build up to 2-3 times a week. After this, you can even bump up to once or twice daily, depending on the other ingredients and products in your current skincare regimen.

What are the benefits?

Beta Hydroxy Acids are known to help eliminate dead skin cells, which can improve the texture, appearance, and brightness of the skin. This is because they deeply cleanse the skin, unclog pores, exfoliate the skin’s surface, and balance excess sebum. That said, according to Engleman, people with cystic acne can benefit from using products that contain beta hydroxy acids. 

Which products should I use?

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