Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs) are a collection of water soluble acids that include lactic, glycolic, and mandelic acids (to name a few). Simply put, these acids exfoliate.
AHAs have the ability to penetrate the skins surface to remove dead skin cells and increase new skin cell turnover. This allows your skin to feel smoother, look clearer and help lighten blotchy skin, a savior for those with fine lines, wrinkles and hyperpigmentation issues.
Beta Hydroxy Acids (BHAs), which include salicylic acid, are attracted to oil and as a result dive a little deeper into the skin than AHAs. While BHAs also exfoliate, their real super power lies is fighting blemishes with its anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. BHAs are great at unclogging pores due to its affinity to oil which makes it slightly more drying to the skin, a potential benefit to those with oily or acne prone skin.
Though AHA and BHA acids perform slightly different roles they successfully manage to achieve the same goals. When used alone these acids are indeed a smart move but when used together AHA and BHA acids are a force to be reckoned with. They are all about making the skin look, feel, and live more healthy.