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Why use AHAs?

AHAs or alpha hydroxy acids have been used in beauty for centuries because they work to renew your skin. Ancient civilisations had the knowledge that fruit-based acids have natural cleansing and exfoliating actions on the skin to slough away dead skin cells. They knew that by using these fruit acids, brighter fresher skin below gets revealed. This AHA action has been the reason AHAs or Alpha Hydroxy Acids have been so popular over time.

Where are AHAs used?

AHAs are naturally occurring acids found in plants, and are generally extracted from various fruits, sugarcane, and sugarbeet, AHAs can also be synthesised. AHAs are a skincare and cosmetic ingredient of great importance. AHAs frequently form the base of beauty products to reduce wrinkles, to soften defining lines, and brighten ageing dull skin. They improve the overall look of skin by enhancing skin cell turnover to show the glow of new skin.

What do I use AHAs for?

AHAs feature in facial peels, serums, eye treatments, moisturisers, and cleansers because AHAs are the ultimate peel with Glycolic Acid being regarded as the best acid peel around for exfoliation as it has the lowest molecular size meaning it penetrates easier than other exfoliating acids. Other chemical peels may use lactic acid which also enables the skin to peel and renew.

How do AHAs work?

Alpha hydroxy acids are a highly effective method for hydrating skin. They help increase the absorption of water by sloughing away the dead skin cells on the top of the skin allowing moisturisers to moisturise skin where it is needed. As AHAs are water-soluble acids, they are good for dry skin as their molecular structure attracts water, they help improve the skin's moisture content.

Can’t I just go to a skincare clinic for a chemical peel?

Yes, you can, and you’ll likely be charged for not just the cost of the product (plus salon price bump) but also the aesthetician’s time, whereas if you did it yourself you only pay for the cost of the product. The great thing (besides the price) of doing a Glycolic peel from home is that you can control the time you leave it on your skin ensuring you don’t get that bright red, sensitised look after the peel.

Can I rinse off an AHA because of its strength?

AHAs need a while to absorb so rinsing off may affect their effective function. However, if you have sensitive skin, you can rinse your face after a minute or two.

How often can I use AHA’s?

AHA’s should be used in an on/off routine to allow your skin to regenerate after exfoliation. You can use them on alternate days or alternate weeks, or just a couple of nights each week. Always check the label on your product first.

I’m worried as it’s an acid, won’t it hurt my skin?

Even though AHAs or alpha-hydroxy acid are acids, they are gentler to the skin than a scrub or a buff could be. There are several skin exfoliating AHAs, but the two most highly regarded for their efficiency and results are Glycolic and Lactic acid.

What is BHA?

BHA stands for beta hydroxy acid and is oil-soluble, so it works deeper in the skin such as the pores to remove dead skin cells, sebum, bacteria and environmental build-up. BHA is Salicylic Acid isolated from the bark of Willow trees and gets its name from the Salix genus of plants that willow trees fall under. Salicylic Acid also occurs in many plant species and can also be synthesised.

What do I use BHA for?

Beta Hydroxy Acid (BHA) is suitable for acne-prone skin and for those with deeper skin concerns since BHA penetrates further into the skin. While AHAs love water, BHA loves oil and is naturally drawn into the skin’s pores through their oil base and your skin’s sebum. This mechanism helps them to efficiently function to clear out impurities from the pores and reduce pore size for an even, smooth skin.

How does BHA Salicylic Acid work?

As beta hydroxy acid is oil-soluble, Salicylic acid can penetrate the skin surface and can work in the pores where it expels sebaceous oil build-up and inflammatory substances that have been sitting clogging the pores.

Which do I use, AHA or BHA?

On sun-exposed and dry skin you should use AHAs as they slough and dissolve surface dead skin cells to reveal bright new underlying skin rejuvenating the skin. They don’t work as deeply as BHA’s which work below the surface. If you have bumps, spots, acne, and large or clogged pores and want a deeper exfoliation that reaches into the pores to clean away environmental build-up, then regularly use a BHA.

When I use AHAs like Glycolic acid, can I moisturise?

The new surface skin needs to be moisturised well after using acid exfoliation to lock in moisture and promote regeneration of the skin’s natural barrier. Always use glycolic acid according to instructions. Glycolic acid can sensitise your skin so protect your skin with a high protection sunscreen.

How often can I use BHA’s?

BHA or Salicylic acid works in the skin and depending on the strength and formulation, it may be recommended to be used every two or three days. Salicylic acid decongests skin reducing blackheads and blocked pores with antibacterial action.

Do I need to leave AHA a while before I moisturise?

You can apply your AHA Glyco Peel on areas you want to exfoliate; your face, neck, décolletage, and even hands.

You should moisturise directly after applying an AHA to dry skin. You can also follow your skin routine of eye cream, sunscreen, and serums straight away. However, it is important not to use AHAs too close to your eyes as the skin around your eyes is very sensitive.

How often should I use exfoliators?

You can exfoliate your face twice a week, or more depending on the strength of your AHA exfoliating peel. Follow the instructions given with the pack. Apply the exfoliator evenly, let it dry, and then follow with a moisturiser. Leave overnight and rinse the next day. Or apply for 15 minutes and wash off afterward for sensitive skin.

What AHA Exfoliator is from John Plunkett?

John Plunkett’s SuperBright Exfoliating Skin Brightener is a salon strength overnight glycolic acid exfoliator. It reduces surface discolouration, fine lines, and refines pores. The complementary action of Lactokine in Glyco Peel protects against inflammation to counteract the potential for irritation, as well as stimulating skin cell regeneration.

What BHA Exfoliator is from John Plunkett?

John Plunkett’s SuperEven Dark Spot Eraser is a serum with the BHA Salicylic Acid, as well as powerful actives to target dark spots and uneven skin tone from UV exposure, the environment, and hormones. This serum includes Synovea HR that works at multiple levels to inhibit melanin while Niacinamide and Glucosamine regulate melanin to reduce redness.


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