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Aha Or Bha? And Can They Diminish Scars?

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Is AHA or BHA typically better for preventing and healing acne? Can either one (or both) help prevent nodulocystic acne, especially that caused by hormones?

Also, can AHA/BHA diminish the depth of shallow (rolling) scars over time? And is a certain concentration recommended in order to heal (diminish) them?

Thank you,

PI

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Both do similar jobs. Both are effectively chemical exfoliants -causing the skin to shed faster than it otherwise would. As a result they speed up the natural healing process- spots go quicker, scars heal faster. Having said that, don't overdo it. A peel or treatment should be used once a week. You could use a toner once a day if it was weak. Hope that helps!

Currently, I use the weak-toner method. ;) I've tried Clean & Clear's toner with 2% BHA, but that was too rough on my skin; so I use the gentle formula, which only has 0.5% BHA--probably too weak to offer any major benefits. *sigh*

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I would ditch the Clean and Clear - their products tend to be loaded with alcohol which will be drying and irritating. You can get products with a higher % of AHA and BHA but which will feel less rough for the skin because they won't have the other rubbish mixed in. What kind of budget do you have? And where are you based? (Uk, USA etc.)

I don't want to spend a ton of money on a single product; so if something costs $50 for a tiny bottle, that wouldn't be a good option. Still, I'd appreciate learning about whatever BHA product(s) you would recommend. :)

I'm in the U.S.

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i love the proactiv glycolic acid toner it works very very well and its cheap. i can get a big bottle for like $10 on ebay.

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Is AHA or BHA typically better for preventing and healing acne? Can either one (or both) help prevent nodulocystic acne, especially that caused by hormones?

Also, can AHA/BHA diminish the depth of shallow (rolling) scars over time? And is a certain concentration recommended in order to heal (diminish) them?

Thank you,

PI

I think both are great (as long as they are formulated to be effective) at preventing acne depending on what is causing it for you. If your skin is clogged because it isn't shedding well (say you have a lot fo black heads, whiteheads and/or little plugs that you can extract) then the SA will help regulate the shedding inside the pore. It cleans them out over time and is supposed to normalize the shedding schedule so you don't shed too quickly. I believe it is also supposed to stop the sebum from causing the cells to stick together. The AHA exgfoliates the top layer of skin.. so say you're shedding the inside cells, they can get stuck at the top if a layer of dead skin is formed over the opening. These skin cells can become sticky and stay attached rather than sloughing off.

Therefore, I believe they work in tandem to keep the pores cleare. Of course, you can still have pimples from other sources such as stress, hormones, etc, but for the most part, the pores should be clearer and less likely to clog. I have read reviews that BHA has helped stop both cystic and hormonal acne..and some even swear AHA does, too. But, I fully believe that just depends on the person. You could also incprorate a retinol product in there to help the cells communicate better and become normalized.

Edited by callendula
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Therefore, I believe they work in tandem to keep teh pores cleare. Of course, you can still have pimples from other sources such as stress, hormones, etc, but for the most part, the pores should be clearer and less likely to clog. I have read reviews that BHA has helped stop both cystic and hormonal acne..and some even swear AHA does, too. But, I fully believe that just depends on the person. You could also incorprorate a retinol product in there to help the cells communicate better and become normalized.

I do know someone who's happy using an AHA. But I'm fairly certain that my skin needs a BHA. (I have the permanent clogged pores, along with nodulocystic acne and "regular" inflamed acne that crops up.)

I've the generic form of Retin-A Micro but haven't braved trying it; I'm holding out to find a not-overly-harsh BHA product before starting Retin-A. There are some decent reviews for many of Paula's Choice BHA products, but most of them have a 2% concentration. (In the past, that level of BHA--in a toner that I tried--made my skin too irritated: tight, flaky and red.) PC does offer a 1% BHA lotion and a 1% gel; but I don't want a lotion, and a number of people complained that the gel just sits on the skin and even beads up/rubs off.

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What is nodulocystic? I haven't heard that term. I get cysts but thankfully mine do not last months. I can usually get them to come to a head with ice and BP. I have some right now because of the PC 2% BHA liquid. My skin did not like it much for the 3 days I sampled it. I think it was just too penetrating/harsh. I do plan to try it again but only 1x a week or so because it seems so much more powerful.

I'm using the 2% BHA clear toner regular strength. It has brought blackheads up and seems to be clearing my pores pretty well. I know it will take quite some time since my skin is just completely congested. You might try the gel as a sample. Maybe they applied too much? I know many peole say the 2% liquid is oily/greasy and sticky for a long time, but others said it was due to using too much at once and once you apply it lightly, that doesn't happen. *shrug* Just a thought. Did you use a PC 2% toner? If not, hers are supposed to be somewhat soothing. The clear one regular strength is a little higher pH, too, to be more gentler.

I see paula has come out with a 1% retinol and I'm thinking about trying it out (after my skin is under control). Her site says that it is comparable to a .025% Retin-A. It is supposed to be less irritating, though, since it is 2 steps (I think) below retinoic acid. It's my understanding the skin only converts what it it needs from retinol, so you don't get more than necessary, which is a risk with the pure stuff. But also, I know several people who only use their Retin A every few days to keep the irritation to a minimum. I think I would do the retinol only 1-2x a week.

The clearest my skin has looked was when I used stridex SA, a 10% glycolic cream, retinol and BP. Not on the same day, I alternated every evening with them but used the SA 2x a day. My skin kept up with it for 3 months before it finally crashed and burned from the dryness. I think SA definitely helps me, so I've upgarded to a better formulation with PC and when my skin is clearer, I plan to use PC 10% glycolic 1x a week and see how that goes. I'm hoping it will help fade the red marks. I might trade that out for the retinol later for the antiaging benefits.

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Also, can AHA/BHA diminish the depth of shallow (rolling) scars over time? And is a certain concentration recommended in order to heal (diminish) them?

Thank you,

PI

I'm not sure about the scar issue. I believe BHA will help fade red marks, but will do nothing for scars. AHA is good for red marks and sun damage, but for scras, well I don't know. It does help build collagen so it may, over time, help somewhat. Concrentration-- all I know is that for AHA, anything over 5% is not reccomended to be used daily. (I read it somewhere but have no reference link) I don't have a definitive answer on that. However, there is a scar section on the site that has many suggestions pertaining to scar solutions. They may have better idea on treatment options.

Edited by callendula
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What is nodulocystic? I haven't heard that term. I get cysts but thankfully mine do not last months. I can usually get them to come to a head with ice and BP. I have some right now because of the PC 2% BHA liquid. My skin did not like it much for the 3 days I sampled it. I think it was just too penetrating/harsh. I do plan to try it again but only 1x a week or so because it seems so much more powerful.

I believe nodulocystic indicates the development of both cysts and nodules.

If I decide to try PC 2% BHA--in any form--I'd probably only use it 1-2 times per week, to start.

I'm using the 2% BHA clear toner regular strength. It has brought blackheads up and seems to be clearing my pores pretty well. I know it will take quite some time since my skin is just completely congested.

Are you referring to PC 2% toner? I'm guessing so but shouldn't assume. ;)

You might try the gel as a sample. Maybe they applied too much? I know many peole say the 2% liquid is oily/greasy and sticky for a long time, but others said it was due to using too much at once and once you apply it lightly, that doesn't happen. *shrug* Just a thought. Did you use a PC 2% toner?

That's interesting about PC 2% BHA liquid feeling greasy if too much is applied. I'll have to remember that, in case I do order it.

I've not used any PC product.

I see paula has come out with a 1% retinol and I'm thinking about trying it out (after my skin is under control). Her site says that it is comparable to a .025% Retin-A. It is supposed to be less irritating, though, since it is 2 steps (I think) below retinoic acid. It's my understanding the skin only converts what it it needs from retinol, so you don't get more than necessary, which is a risk with the pure stuff. But also, I know several people who only use their Retin A every few days to keep the irritation to a minimum. I think I would do the retinol only 1-2x a week.

I have a tube of generic Retin-A Micro--Tretinoin Gel Microsphere (0.04%)--which I probably should try one of these days. Granted, I'm a bit reluctant to start it now that we're going into summer. But regardless of when I begin using it, I definitely would only use it a few nights per week, at least in the beginning.

The clearest my skin has looked was when I used stridex SA, a 10% glycolic cream, retinol and BP. Not on the same day, I alternated every evening with them but used the SA 2x a day. My skin kept up with it for 3 months before it finally crashed and burned from the dryness. I think SA definitely helps me, so I've upgarded to a better formulation with PC and when my skin is clearer, I plan to use PC 10% glycolic 1x a week and see how that goes. I'm hoping it will help fade the red marks. I might trade that out for the retinol later for the antiaging benefits.

I, too, switch between a few topical meds., depending on how my skin is doing. For example, if it's more oily, I'll apply a Sodium Sulfacetamid/Sulfur liquid to my face at night to both nourish my skin and soak up some of the excess oil. But if my skin's less oily--because I've been consuming less oil in my diet--then I'll stick with using a BHA toner (1-2 x's/ day) and Finacea (2 x's/ day). I also use diluted tea tree oil on cysts--especially those that I find before they surface.

If you try PC 10% glycolic acid and/or her retinol product(s), let us know how you like them. :)

I'm not sure about the scar issue. I believe BHA will help fade red marks, but will do nothing for scars. AHA is good for red marks and sun damage, but for scras, well I don't know. It does help build collagen so it may, over time, help somewhat. Concrentration-- all I know is that for AHA, anything over 5% is not reccomended to be used daily. (I read it somewhere but have no reference link) I don't have a definitive answer on that. However, there is a scar section on the site that has many suggestions pertaining to scar solutions. They may have better idea on treatment options.

What's so confusing is a physician's assistant and a skin-care clinician (?) at a derm's office both told me that AHA isn't good for red marks, but for brown marks--i.e., either age-related spots or acne marks that have gone from red/pink to brown in color. They both told me that a retinoid is better for speeding the healing of pink-/ red-colored hyperpigmentation.

So confusing... In any case, I'm more focused on finding a better BHA product, since my skin is very oily, and I've clogged pores all over the oily regions of my face (basically all four quadrants and my nose). If it happens to help fade my existing hyperpigmentation and/or helps with collagen growth, all the better. :)

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I believe nodulocystic indicates the development of both cysts and nodules.

If I decide to try PC 2% BHA--in any form--I'd probably only use it 1-2 times per week, to start.

Ah ok. :) Makes sense. I always find all the different classifications confusing.

Are you referring to PC 2% toner? I'm guessing so but shouldn't assume.

Yes. :) She has one called Clear 2% BHA regular strength. So far, I'm able to use it 2x a day. After several days, it does tend to dry out the skin, but I've been having good succes at putting the hydralight moisturizer lotion over (after 20mins). Today, I just put the hydralight toner over it because it is pretty mositurizing itself, which I think will be great in summer when I don't necessarily want to have a lotion on my face in the heat. And I'm oily, so it's the perfect amount of moisture it seems but it doesn't make me an oil slick. As long as they don't break me out, I consider them viable options. lol

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That's interesting about PC 2% BHA liquid feeling greasy if too much is applied. I'll have to remember that, in case I do order it.

I've not used any PC product.

:) This is my first time to try them out. I found her site interesting and she has a lot of info on there about various skin issues. I really liked reading the reviews. I knew people here really raved about it but I just never went to the site. Now, I'm kinda wishing I had done it sooner. lol If her products actually help me, I will be so happy! Her stuff is described as being more hydrating and gentle on skin.

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I have a tube of generic Retin-A Micro--Tretinoin Gel Microsphere (0.04%)--which I probably should try one of these days. Granted, I'm a bit reluctant to start it now that we're going into summer. But regardless of when I begin using it, I definitely would only use it a few nights per week, at least in the beginning.

lol I notice several peole (who say their skin cleared up) use something in addition to PC--like Retin A (or differin, etc), antibiotic cream or birth control pills. :)

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I, too, switch between a few topical meds., depending on how my skin is doing. For example, if it's more oily, I'll apply a Sodium Sulfacetamid/Sulfur liquid to my face at night to both nourish my skin and soak up some of the excess oil. But if my skin's less oily--because I've been consuming less oil in my diet--then I'll stick with using a BHA toner (1-2 x's/ day) and Finacea (2 x's/ day). I also use diluted tea tree oil on cysts--especially those that I find before they surface.

If you try PC 10% glycolic acid and/or her retinol product(s), let us know how you like them. smile.png

I like tea tree oil, too! What do you dilute in? I use either aloe vera gel or bacitracin otc antibiotic gel. Sometimes, I'll put BP on first, wait a few minutes then layer the TTO on. I find ice helps a lot, too, especially on really big ones that make me want to hide at home for a week! I've used the 10% treatment once and I had no breakouts from it. I've used her resist mositure barrier repair and I liked it, too. It has retinol but only a little under .1%. I think it is like .087 or something. But, I like that it is supposed to support the skin barrier (which mine is crazy and will overdry quickly if I am not careful. And when it does, I get cysts. Every time. Not fun or ptetty!) I tried the skin clearing hydrator (I think it's for adult skin with aging concerns and acne) but I did not like much at all. I won't buy that. lol I'm so glad she offers samples because the products can be pricey!

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What's so confusing is a physician's assistant and a skin-care clinician (?) at a derm's office both told me that AHA isn't good for red marks, but for brown marks--i.e., either age-related spots or acne marks that have gone from red/pink to brown in color. They both told me that a retinoid is better for speeding the healing of pink-/ red-colored hyperpigmentation.

So confusing... In any case, I'm more focused on finding a better BHA product, since my skin is very oily, and I've clogged pores all over the oily regions of my face (basically all four quadrants and my nose). If it happens to help fade my existing hyperpigmentation and/or helps with collagen growth, all the better. smile.png

Hmm. I know AHA exfoliates the top layers. Redmarks may be a bit deeper, so maybe they take a bit longer to slough off? I have brown marks, too..so I guess it will still help me. lol Sad thing, when I was younger I'd get pretty freckles. Now, they melt together and look like hideous age spots. I'm so unhappy with teh blotches right now. :( Well, another good reason to keep using sunscreen! lol

Maybe the retinoid pushes new cells from the bottom up quicker so the old can be sloughed off and teh new, unmarked cells can surface. hmm..maybe both alternately used will have even better/quicker results.

Another BHA people like is from Diana Yvonne. I actually used her 2% exfol serum for 2 bottles and it seemed to help somewhat. I am not sure if she offers a 1%, though. I do think I personally like PC better--my skin just seems to respond better for some reason. If you do ever want to try PC, there is a refer a friend discount where you get $10 off $15+ on yoru first order. Not selling or pushing anything. It's how I was able to try some stuff for a reduced price, that way, if i didn't like what I tried, I wasn't out as much. lol So, I know how it is a bit risky to order stuff the first time not knowing if it will be a waste of money or not.

OH..PS my skin was super oily..I wouldn't go but an hour or two before I was shiny. I started taking Vitamin D3 for another reason (seasonal depression) and it has lessened my oil output. A green tea mask helps me, too as does drinking a red tea called rooibos.Just in case you're looking to help control oil. One of those might help.

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