beta hydroxy acid or β-hydroxy acid (BHA) is an organic compound that contains a carboxylic acid functional group and hydroxy functional group separated by two carbon atoms.



  • In cosmetics, the term beta hydroxy acid refers specifically to salicylic acid, which is used in some “anti-aging” creams and acne treatments. It is used to combat inflammation.


  • The acids are commonly found in skin care products formulated to “peel away” the fine lines, wrinkles and uneven pigmentation associated with aging skin. BHA and AHA are also used to treat acne; the chemicals work to unplug clogged hair follicles and counteract the overproduction of sebum


  • As superficial exfoliants, AHA and BHA only affect the top, dead layer of skin. Theoretically, this means that even the strongest hydroxy acid concentrations will not produce adverse reactions. However, side effects can vary according to the product and the user’s skin type and sensitivity.

    Common side effects of AHA and BHA use include temporary stinging and mild redness. Skin may initially become dry and flaky as the cells begin to shed, but this should clear up within a few weeks. Alpha and beta hydroxy acids can cause skin sensitivity and raise the risk of sunburn. Should any side effect become severe, discontinue use of the product immediately.


  • Not known.

Other names

  • β-hydroxy acid


Source: Wikipedia,



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