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Beta Peels for Acne

Beta Peels for Acne


Two types of hydroxy acids are commonly used in superficial chemical peels: alpha hydroxy acid and beta hydroxy acid. Although both of these ingredients have the same function, if you have acne-prone skin, beta might be better. Beta hydroxy acid, or BHA, has the capacity to reach deep into the pores of your skin.

The Beta Hydroxy Difference

Alpha hydroxy acids and beta hydroxy acids, commonly known as AHAs and BHAs, are used not just in chemical peels, but also in many commercial skin-care products. The most common BHA used in cosmetic treatments is salicylic acid. Beta hydroxy acid and salicylic acid are often used interchangeably. According to the Beauty Brains website, AHA is water-soluble and therefore efficient at removing layers of dead cells on the skin's surface. BHAs, on the other hand, are oil-soluble, making them ideal for penetrating the pores and removing soft plugs that can lead to pimples.

Beta Hydroxy Peels

Salicylic peels are classified as superficial chemical peels, according to the Mayo Clinic. These peels remove only the outer layer of the epidermis. Results are often subtle, yielding smoother, refreshed skin. Salicylic peels can treat mild discoloration, fine lines, acne and mild scarring.

What to Expect

Superficial peels that use BHA are quick and often called lunchtime peels. The Mayo Clinic says the peeling solution remains on the skin from three to five minutes, but can stay on for up to 20 minutes before it is removed. You may notice a mild to moderate stinging or burning when the BHA solution is applied. After the treatment, your skin may be slightly pink. Superficial peels require no downtime; you can go right back to work after the procedure.

More Beta Benefits

AHA and BHA peels can both cause temporary skin irritation. But peels that use salicylic acid are less likely to cause marked inflammation, as BHA, closely related to aspirin, has anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties, according to Paula Begoun, founder of Paula's Choice skin-care products. A deep BHA peel may be far more beneficial than an AHA peel for those with blemish-prone skin, she says.

Other Information

The Mayo Clinic says that a series of four to six superficial peels spaced one to two weeks apart are often recommended. You may also require monthly maintenance peels.

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