AHA’s vs BHA’s: Breaking Down Skin + Hair Care’s Most Popular Exfoliants

Take a peek at the ingredient list of your favorite hair and skin care products and chances are you’ll come across AHA’s and BHA’s. When it comes to the hottest ingredients in beauty holy grails, AHA’s and BHA’s are making a name for themselves in beauty routines everywhere–you know they’re good for your hair and skin, but do you know what they are and what they do?

Maybe you’ve heard that they’re powerful, plant-based acids that deliver transformative benefits. Or, maybe you’ve heard that they’re chemicals and you’ve shied away from using them in your 6-Free™, clean beauty rituals. If you’re over racking your brain and wondering what these acronyms are, what they stand for, what they do, and why they’re everywhere right now—we’ve got you covered.

We’re giving you the rundown on all things AHA and BHA, myth busting, and explaining why they’re the main active ingredients in our new Scalp Revival™ MegaStrength+ Dandruff Relief Shampoo Charcoal + AHA/BHA. Spoiler alert: They’re the exfoliators of the moment, they’re naturally powerful, and they’re more than just trendy ingredients.

What are AHA’s and BHA’s?

Let’s get down to the basics of two of the most common exfoliants in cleansers, scrubs, peels, and masks for your hair and skin: 

AHA is short for alpha-hydroxy acids. Here’s a few other names and types of AHA’s: 

Citric acid (derived from citrus fruits)

Glycolic acid (derived from sugar cane)

Lactic acid (derived from sour dairy products and tomato juice) 

Alpha-hydroxy acid is water soluble and mostly obtained from fruits with a high sugar concentration. Alpha-hydroxy acids work to:

- Remove the top layer of dead skin cells

- Promote the rate of cell turnover

- Encourage softer, smoother skin—a bonus for extra dry skin!  

BHA is short for beta-hydroxy acids and they’re derived from willow bark, sweet birch bark, and wintergreen leaves. BHA’s are oil-soluble (making them a great option for oily scalps), which allows these acids to seep deeply into your pores to remove excess dead skin cells and sebum. Other common names for BHA’ are:

Salicylic acid 

Tropic acid


Why are AHA’s and BHA’s so popular in beauty?

AHA’s and BHA’s are well-known and well-loved for their powerful perks in skincare and scalp care. Here’s a few natural benefits they both share: 

- They’re powerful exfoliants that remove dead skin cells from the skin

- Excellent at unclogging pores

- Great for reducing inflammation 

Both act as effective exfoliation to remove unwanted buildup, oil, dirt, and dead skin cells to prep your skin for any scalp-healthy ingredients you’ll want to layer on later down the road in your scalp care routine. 

Quick reminder: Exfoliation + hydration = a healthy scalp! As super exfoliants in the scalp care game, it’s important to remember to always follow up by replenishinig lost hydration to prevent irritation and dryness. 


Are AHA’s and BHA’s clean?

Yes, AHA’s and BHA’s are 100% clean! Both types of exfoliants are plant-based, so you never have to worry about excluding them from your clean beauty routine. 
We understand just how frustrating it can be to fight the symptoms of scalp conditions (dandruff,  seborrheic dermatitis, and psoriasis)—and that’s why we created our new Scalp Revival™ MegaStrength+ Dandruff Relief Shampoo Charcoal + AHA/BHA

As a gentle, dermatologist-approved alternative to harsher, chemical-ridden shampoos, our newest addition to the Scalp Revival™ collection is a clean option that’s safe for daily use and great for anyone dealing with dandruff, psoriasis,  and/or seborrheic dermatitis. By harnessing the power of an AHA/BHA blend, you’ll get a gentle chemical exfoliation without any harsh ingredients that can strip your strands and deplete your hair and scalp of vital moisture. 

Fun fact: A double exfoliation—physical exfoliant followed by chemical exfoliant— is good for your scalp. Once a week, you can prep your scalp with our Scalp Revival™ Charcoal + Coconut Oil Micro-Exfoliating Shampoo. By using our physical exfoliant scalp scrub first, you are gently removing that top layer of dry flakes, dirt, and grime to set your scalp up to absorb all the benefits of our Dandruff Relief Shampoo.


Ready to reap the exfoliating, flake-fighting benefits of AHA’s and BHA’s? Add our Scalp Revival™ MegaStrength+ Dandruff Relief Shampoo Charcoal + AHA/BHA to your cart today!

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Scalp Revival™ Charcoal + Coconut Oil Micro-Exfoliating Shampoo | Scalp Scrub
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Scalp Revival™ MegaStrength+ Dandruff Relief Shampoo Charcoal + AHA/BHA with Salicylic Acid 3%
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