I am curious about what the difference is and what they do. I have some small clogged pores that i dont think require a retinoid, so i was thinking one of these might work...if so any recommendations as to which product to use and how to use it? I also use Benzamycin and Jojoba Oil, so it would have to be in combination with those two.
Both BHA and AHA are exfoliants. Beta Hydroxy Acid, also known as salicylic acid, is the active ingredient in aspirin. It has the ability to penetrate the pore and can be helpful with clogged pores and blackheads. (unless you are allergic to it like me) Alpha Hydroxy Acid are extracted from plant sources (glycolic acid from sugar) or milk (lactic acid). They break down the substance in skin that holds skin cells together. It is great for dry or sundamaged skin. If you can't use one don't be afraid to try the the other. I know I can't use BHA, but AHA worked great for me. Beware though because they both can sting, which will lessen as you use it. If you try one, use it one a day or every other day until you get used to it. Its best to start with a 1% BHA then move to a 2%. With AHA I use 8% but you can get it in 5% and 10%. Anything higher will be very strong and you may wanna talk to a derm first.
BHA's are a better option for active acne as it penetrates deeper into the pores and fight acne. AHA's would be an option if you have no active acne and you want to reduce red marks. If you have no acne don't mess with BHA's (salicylic acid) as it can cause breakouts because it brings up all the acne infection to the surface.
I have used both. I personally do not like AHA's, they irritate my skin a lot but many people love them and love the results too. I have used Salicylic acid in the past, not regularly, but to make my skin peel. I would apply it 4 or 5 times each night, letting it dry each time in between, for a total of 4 or 5 nights and i would get a pretty good peel out of it. But then my skin peels easily, maybe not everyone would get this result. I wouldnt use Salicylic acid as part of my regular routine though as it causes breakouts (for me), but using it as ive described, to make skin peel. worked well for me.
I would use them as a topical not as a wash. In the form of a face wash, its washed away before it can do anything. Paula's choice is really good, but you won't find it in stores, you find it of the internet. Do a search for it and you'll find it. She's not expensive and you can call her and request samples. Alpha Hydrox also makes a good aha cream. BHA is pretty easy to find but it will be listed as salicylic acid on the bottle. Also you should apply these after you wash your face but before you apply jojoba oil or your other medicine.