How Often Should You Use BHA Exfoliant?

How Often Should You Use BHA Exfoliant

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Updated on May 20, 2024

Exfoliation is on the rise in the beauty and skincare world today. What exactly is exfoliation? It is the process that removes oil, debris, and dead skin cells from the skin’s surface, making it fresh and rejuvenated.

Exfoliating products are manufactured with a variety of agents and substances. Its function is to treat various skin issues and exfoliate particular types of skin more effectively. One type of exfoliant that is potent for exfoliating skin contains BHA as the active compound.

This is especially true for anyone with oily skin. But, what is BHA, and how often should you use BHA exfoliant? Read on to find answers to almost all the questions you have about the BHA.

What is BHA exfoliant?

What is BHA exfoliant

The full meaning of BHA is Beta hydroxy acid. Exfoliating, anti-inflammatory, anti-aging, and antibacterial properties are all features of BHA. Salicylic acid, a form of BHA, is often used in BHA exfoliants. Tropic acid, malic acid, and, sometimes, citric acid are other types of BHA.

Salicylic acid is the only BHA utilized in skincare routines. So when skincare products have a BHA, they’re probably referring to salicylic acid. This acid can be obtained from natural sources like willow bark extract.

But don’t be put off by the word “acid.” BHA is non-abrasive and has comforting and calming effects. Thus, this exfoliating product is gentler than almost any scrub on your skin.

BHAs are oil-soluble, which means they can enter deeper into pores. This will help to clear out and disintegrate excessive sebum build-up. For this reason, salicylic acid is a wonderful treatment if you have oily, blemish-prone skin.

What are the benefits of using BHA?

What are the benefits of using BHA
  • It serves as an anti-inflammatory agent. The most common kind of BHA is salicylic acid. It has anti-inflammatory qualities and, therefore, is gentler on irritated skin. So, if you have sensitive skin, you can go for a BHA exfoliant.
  • It brightens the skin. BHA products help your skin look brighter and clearer by removing dull skin cells. It will give your skin a natural glow by removing old cells without eliminating any of the skin’s essential oils.
  • It flushes out your skin pores. The BHA exfoliant penetrates the skin and clears away all the debris in the skin. Besides, it flushes out excess sebum, reducing the risk of acne.

How often to use BHA exfoliant

How often to use BHA exfoliant

You can exfoliate every day, and some stubborn pores take twice-daily exfoliation. Besides, there are a few things that determine how often you should use BHA exfoliant, and they include:

  • How strong the exfoliating product is: BHAs have a strength range between 2% and 10%. And you can use BHA of 4% daily. But, if you have never used a BHA before, we do not recommend that you start by using 4% BHA daily. Rather, begin by using the product only once a week. If you do not have any side effects such as stinging or extreme redness, then you can increase it to two times a week. It is preferable to increase the time week by week gradually.
  • Your skin’s sensitivity: Using this product 2-3 times per week is likely to be sufficient for people with sensitive skin. People with hard skin can use BHA daily. But make sure you don’t go overboard by over-exfoliating your skin. You should not use too many BHAs (particularly if you’re also using manual exfoliants). If you over-exfoliate, you will experience many side effects, part of which are excessive dryness, skin irritation, etc. A burning sensation can also be felt on some people’s skin.
  • Additional products you use as part of your daily skincare routine. The products you use as part of your daily skincare routine matter as well. For instance, if you are using an exfoliator, you should not use any other products with harsh chemicals. Combining exfoliators with other harsh products can expose you to skin redness or irritation.

Therefore, if the product is not that strong and you do not have sensitive skin, you can use BHA exfoliant daily. But, if you have sensitive skin, you can start 2 to 3 times per week. And once you have noticed that there is no reaction or side effect, you can increase the usage to more than three times per week. How often you should use a BHA lies in your skin sensitivity.

How to use BHA exfoliant

How to use BHA exfoliant

When you are ready to use a BHA exfoliator, read the instructions first. Many people have had bad reactions to this product because they did not follow the usage instructions. Using a BHA exfoliator without reading the instructions can expose you to the risk of damaging your skin barrier.

And this would give room to other skin problems. So, always endeavor to read the instructions. The golden rule for using any exfoliator is to make it a gradual process, especially for those with sensitive skin.

If you fall into this category, you should do spot testing. Apply the exfoliator on your wrist or behind your ears and leave it for 24 hours. Observe any reaction on the spots within that hour.

If everything seems fine, gradually introduce the product into your skincare routine, starting two to three times a week. Then you can gradually increase daily usage if the product is made for that.

But, if you think a product isn’t right for your skin, quit using it right away. And most importantly, always use SPF. Any skin care product containing BHAs will exfoliate your skin. Thus, it is critical to protect your skin properly so as not to become burned or susceptible to pigmentation. Avoid using exfoliating products with active chemicals when you are out on the beach on a sunny day. 

Some recommended products

Paulas Choice BHA Liquid Salicylic Acid Exfoliant

Paulas Choice Skin Perfecting BHA Facial Exfoliant

Blackhead BHA Liquid Exfoliant

COSRX BHA Blackhead Power Liquid

COCOSRX AHA/BHA Clarifying Treatment Toner

COSRX AHA/BHA Clarifying Treatment Toner

Final Thoughts

If you do not choose the suitable BHA formula for your skin type or use it too much, it will have an adverse effect contrary to its main purpose. So, you should always choose BHA products that are right for your skin. And we hope that with this guide on how often you should use BHA exfoliant, you will not go overboard with exfoliating.

Susan R. Orrell

Susan R. Orrell

Total posts created: 78
Susan R. Orrell is a well-respected skin care expert and blogger. She has extensive knowledge of skin care products and routines and is dedicated to helping others achieve healthy, radiant skin. Her blog, "The Apex Beauty," is a go-to resource for skincare information, and readers around the world trust her advice. Whether you're looking for tips on how to treat acne, reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, or maintain healthy skin, the blog has something for everyone.

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