15 Best BHA Exfoliants For Chemical Exfoliation At Home

by Priyanka S
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Exfoliation is the process of removing dead skin cells from the outermost layer of the skin without stripping off its natural oils. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, exfoliation brightens skin tone and improves its appearance. There are two different techniques for exfoliating at home – mechanical and chemical. Mechanical exfoliation uses a tool like a brush or a sponge to wipe out dead skin cells. Chemical exfoliation uses chemicals like BHA or AHA to slough out dead skin cells.

Beta-Hydroxy Acid or BHA is an effective exfoliant that penetrates deeper into the skin, unclogs pores, and absorbs oils and grime to reveal natural radiance. An effective BHA exfoliator hydrates and nourishes skin, and blurs out the signs of aging.

In this post, we have listed the fifteen best BHA exfoliants that help reduce acne and protect the skin from sun damage. Read on!

ProductsCheck Price
Best Leave-On Exfoliator: Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting Facial ExfoliantCheck Price
SkinMedica AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser Check Price
Perfect Image Salicylic Deep Gel Exfoliating Cleanser Check Price
Best Chemical Exfoliant: Murad Age Reform AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser Check Price
Best 4-in-1 Solution: Ursa Major Essential Face Tonic Check Price
à la paix Hydroxy CleanseCheck Price
KarmaCeuticles AHA BHA Exfoliating Cleanser Check Price
Best Exfoliating Skin Toner: Benton Aloe BHA Skin TonerCheck Price
Cosrx BHA Blackhead Power LiquidCheck Price
Innate Skin Clear Skin AHA/BHA Exfoliating CleanserCheck Price

15 Best BHA Exfoliants

1. Best Leave-On Exfoliator: Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting Facial Exfoliant

The Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting Facial Exfoliant contains 2% BHA (beta hydroxy acid) that imparts a natural glow to the skin. The key ingredients infused in this liquid exfoliant are salicylic acid and green tea extract. Salicylic acid is a gentle exfoliant that removes dead skin cells by providing gentle exfoliation. It helps unclog pores, removes oil, grime, and impurities, and reduces enlarged pores to tighten the skin. This leave-on skin-perfecting exfoliant reduces acne scars and inflammation. It also removes blackheads. The green tea extract is a popular antioxidant that exhibits anti-aging properties. Use this scrub twice daily for brighter, softer, and younger-looking skin.

Pros

  • Paraben-free
  • Contains 2% BHA
  • Reduces fine lines and wrinkles
  • No artificial fragrances
  • Unclogs pores
  • Reduces blackheads
  • Helps fight inflammation
  • Protects the skin

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Not suitable for sensitive skin

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2. SkinMedica AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser 

 

The SkinMedica AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser elegantly buffs away dead skin cells and improves skin tone and texture. It is made with naturally derived alpha-hydroxy acid and beta-hydroxy acid. It also contains jojoba oil that nourishes, hydrates, and improves skin radiance. The salicylic acid with jojoba spheres gently exfoliate the skin, reduce inflammation and acne breakouts, and accelerate healing.

The alpha-hydroxy acids in the exfoliant may increase the skin’s sensitivity to sunburn. Use a sunscreen after the exfoliant if you are stepping out.

Pros

  • Contains both AHA and BHA
  • Reduces acne breakouts
  • Anti-inflammatory in nature
  • Hydrates the skin

Cons

  • Not suitable for sensitive skin
  • Petroleum smell

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3. Perfect Image Salicylic Deep Gel Exfoliating Cleanser 

 

The Perfect Image is a powerful, professionally formulated gel exfoliating cleanser. It deeply cleanses your skin, sloughs out dead skin cells, and improves skin tone and appearance. It contains salicylic acid (beta-hydroxy acids) and glycolic acid (alpha-hydroxy acids) that gently exfoliate skin, and remove dirt and impurities by unclogging the pores. Along with AHA and BHA, it also contains green tea, tea tree, chamomile, and comfrey flower extract. Tea tree extract is antibacterial. It kills the acne-producing bacteria and heals acne scars. Green tea extract is rich in epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), which is an antioxidant that reduces inflammation and protects the skin from free radical damage. Chamomile and comfrey extracts heal, soothe, and repair the skin.

Pros

  • Contains both AHA and BHA
  • Anti-inflammatory in nature
  • Antibacterial
  • Heals and soothes the skin
  • Protects the skin from oxidative damage
  • Gentle exfoliator
  • Kills acne-producing bacteria
  • Unclogs pores

Cons

  • Very strong ingredients
  • May cause allergic reactions

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4. Best Chemical Exfoliant: Murad Age Reform AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser 

 

The Murad Age Reform is a creamy, rich cleanser that provides chemical exfoliation to reveal smoother skin. The active ingredients in the exfoliant are salicylic acid, lactic acid, and glycolic acid that offer gentle exfoliation to unclog pores, and remove excess oil, dirt, and impurities. Lactic acid is a mild AHA that treats hyperpigmentation and age spots to refine one’s complexion. The jojoba beads manually exfoliate the skin to buff away dead cells. They reveal smoother, younger-looking skin.

Pros

  • Refines fine lines
  • Reduces hyperpigmentation
  • Protects skin from the sun damage
  • Unclogs pores

Cons

  • Unpleasant smell

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5. Best 4-in-1 Solution: Ursa Major Essential Face Tonic 

 

The Ursa Major Essential Face Tonic is a 4-in-1 solution that cleanses, exfoliates, soothes, and hydrates the skin. It leaves the skin feeling refreshed, firm, and nourished. It is formulated with natural ingredients like hydrating aloe, toning birch sap, exfoliating AHA/BHA complex, conditioning willow bark, and brightening sugarcane. Sugarcane is a natural source of alpha-hydroxy acid, and willow bark is a natural source of beta-hydroxy acid. The two gently exfoliate the skin and make it smoother. The infused sodium hyaluronic acid retains moisture, and blurs fine lines and wrinkles. The antioxidant-rich green tea extracts protect the skin from oxidative damage.

Pros

  • 100% vegan
  • Clean ingredients
  • No harsh chemicals
  • Paraben-free
  • Sulfate-free
  • Silicone-free
  • No artificial fragrances
  • Glycol-free
  • Suitable for all skin types
  • Soothing fragrance

Cons

None

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6. à la paix Hydroxy Cleanse

 

The à la paix Hydroxy Cleanse is a wonderful exfoliating cleanser that works on congested pores. It cleanses from deep within and leaves oil-free, hydrated skin. It is infused with both AHA, BHA complex, jojoba beads, orange, and grapefruit seed oil. The alpha-hydroxy and glycolic acids are the Holy Grail for exfoliation. They also remove the outermost dead skin and leave you with a brighter complexion. AHA helps in collagen synthesis and smoothens fine lines. Salicylic acid and beta-hydroxy acid deeply penetrate into the skin, decongest pores, and remove oil, grime, and impurities. Lactic acid is a natural AHA that retains skin moisture, and treats hyperpigmentation and blemishes. The invigorating blend of grapefruit and orange seed oil hydrates, nourishes, rejuvenates, and restores skin glow and texture.

Pros

  • Smoothens fine lines and wrinkles
  • Reduces pore size
  • Encourages the production of collagen
  • Increases skin cell turnover
  • Unclogs pores
  • Reduces dark spots
  • Restores youthful glow
  • Good for all skin types
  • Easy to use

Cons

None

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7. KarmaCeuticles AHA BHA Exfoliating Cleanser 

 

The KarmaCeuticles Exfoliating Cleanser is infused with the AHA/BHA complex that gently exfoliates the skin and enhances the regeneration of new skin cells. Beta-hydroxy acids are oil-soluble acids that help peel away the outer skin layer and aid in skin regeneration. They also help unclog pores and remove excess sebum, oil, grime, and impurities. The infused jojoba beads with natural oils and moisturizers gently cleanse the skin. They also restore and rejuvenate the skin for a brighter skin tone.

Pros

  • Contains AHA and BHA
  • Unclogs pores
  • Moisturizes the skin
  • Aids in skin cell renewal
  • Soothes the skin
  • Soothing smell
  • Suitable for sensitive skin

Cons

None

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8. Best Exfoliating Skin Toner: Benton Aloe BHA Skin Toner

 

The Benton Skin Toner is enriched with BHA to clarify the skin tone. It is made of 80% aloe ingredients that are rich in polysaccharides, along with 0.5 % salicylic acid. The emollient aloe extract deeply nourishes the skin, soothes irritated skin, and heals acne scars. A mildly acidic beta-hydroxy acid exfoliates the skin, decongests the pores, and removes excess oil, grime, and impurities. This aloe-enriched BHA skin toner preps the skin for the better absorption of other skin care products.

Pros

  • Cruelty-free
  • PETA-certified
  • Unclogs the pores
  • Mild exfoliating toner
  • Hydrates and nourishes the skin

Cons

  • BHA could be too mild

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9. Cosrx BHA Blackhead Power Liquid

The Cosrx BHA Blackhead Power Liquid is a customized solution for a brighter looking skin. It is made with 4% betaine salicylic acid, which is the most potent exfoliant that removes the uppermost dead skin layer. It penetrates deep into the skin to decongest the pores, and slough out oil, dirt, impurities. It contains 67.8% willow bark water that provides additional glow and strength to the skin. The liquid contains natural salicylic acid as salicin, which is anti-inflammatory and antibacterial in nature. It helps alleviate acne, scars, and breakouts.

Pros

  • Reduces blackheads
  • Reduces excess sebum formation
  • Paraben-free
  • Cruelty-free
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Dermatologically-tested
  • Improves skin texture
  • Reduces breakouts
  • Clears pores

Cons

None

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[ Read – Cosrx Bha Blackhead Power Liquid Reviews ]

10. Innate Skin Clear Skin AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser

The Innate Skin Clear Skin AHA/BHA is a deep exfoliating cleanser. It contains jojoba beads that nourish, hydrate, and buff away dead skin for a brighter look. It is specifically formulated with salicylic acid, a powerful BHA, which removes dead cells, unclogs pores, and absorbs excess oil and dirt for a refined look. It also removes blackheads, whiteheads, and soothes breakouts. The lactic acid, glycolic acid, and AHA help renew the skin, clarify the skin tone, and aid in cell renewal. These active ingredients are paired with orange and grapefruit peel oil that nourish the skin. The vitamins A and C help rejuvenate the skin complexion.

Pros

  • Soothes acne-prone skin
  • Accelerates skin renewal process
  • Reduces blackheads, whiteheads
  • Soothes breakouts
  • Blurs signs of aging
  • Brightens the complexion
  • Moisturizes the skin

Cons

None

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11. Skincare By Eva Pore Perfection Exfoliating Cleanser

 

Skincare By Eva is a deep pore exfoliating cleanser. It contains jojoba beads that provide a gentle cleansing effect and remove dead skin cells. It contains a blend of AHA and BHA that decongest pores and remove all the dirt and impurities. This deep cleansing gel contains lactic acid, glycolic acid, potent alpha-hydroxy acids, and salicylic acid (which is the most powerful beta-hydroxy acid). These natural acids gently exfoliate the skin, buff away dead skin, absorb oil and grime, and reduce acne breakouts. This gentle face wash with jojoba beads is suitable for sensitive skin too.

Pros

  • Effective for all skin types
  • Gentle exfoliating cleanser
  • Remove old acne scars
  • Blurs signs of aging
  • A delightful aroma of citrus fruits
  • Unclogs pores
  • Provides a youthful glow

Cons

None

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12. Best Lightweight Exfoliator: Paula’s Choice Skincare CALM Exfoliant

 

The Paula’s Choice Skincare CALM Exfoliant is gentle and non-abrasive. It is a leave-on exfoliant that sheds the built-up layers of dead skin. It absorbs excess oil, dirt, and impurities. It is made of 1% BHA for mild exfoliation. It reveals the hidden radiance, and hydrates, nourishes, and plumps the skin. It is also infused with green tea and oats extract that soothe skin inflammation and redness. This daily care exfoliator has an optimum pH range of 3.2 to 3.8 that balances the skin texture. It also helps unclog pores, reduces excess sebum formation, refines enlarged pores, and blurs fine lines and wrinkles.

Pros

  • Paraben-free
  • Cruelty-free
  • Fragrance-free
  • Reduces enlarged pores
  • Blurs the signs of aging
  • Refines fine lines and wrinkles
  • Balances the skin’s pH
  • Lightweight
  • Perfect for sensitive skin
  • Hydrating
  • Reveals glow

Cons

  • Not suitable for skin that is too dry
  • Need to be used with a sunscreen

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13. Bona Fide Skin Care Salicylic Acid Exfoliator

 

Cleanse and brighten your skin with the invigorating formula from Bona Fide Skin Care. It is made with 2% salicylic acid that maintains the skin’s pH at 3. It helps unclog pores, and absorbs the excess oil, grime, dirt, and impurities. It is among the best OTC products that prevents breakouts, dissolves dead skin, and instantly refreshes your look.

Pros

  • Decongests pores
  • Reduces pore size
  • Absorbs excess oil, dirt
  • Brightens the skin complexion
  • Maintains skin pH
  • Removes blackheads

Cons

  • Contains alcohol that may not suit all skin types

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14. Jenelt Deep Clarifying BHA Liquid

 

The Jenelt Deep Clarifying Exfoliator is gentle on the skin. It is a weightless formula with 2% salicylic acid. It is a potent exfoliator that removes dead cells from the surface of the skin. It also decreases the appearance of large pores and surface wrinkles. It unclogs pores to prevent acne, helps enhance new skin cell turnover, evens out skin tone, and improves overall skin texture. It also contains white tea extract, oat kernel extract, and grape seed oil that heal inflammation and protect the skin from free radical damage. It is suitable for sensitive skin and rosacea-prone skin.

Pros

  • Anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties
  • Reduces acne breakouts
  • Reduces blackheads
  • Reduces enlarged pores
  • Weightless formula
  • Improves fine lines and wrinkles
  • 100% fragrance-free
  • Free from artificial colorants

Cons

None

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15. Best BHA Exfoliant Serum: LuxeJoie AHA/BHA Lipo Serum

 

The LuxeJoie Lipo Serum gives a youthful glow and a brighter skin texture with just a few uses. It is made with a powerful blend of alpha-hydroxy acid and beta-hydroxy acid that gently exfoliate skin. They also unclog the pores to reveal a radiant glow. An invigorating blend of sodium hyaluronic acid, panthenol, vitamin E, vitamin A, allantoin, and phospholipid provides miraculous solutions for your skin. Allantoin is a non-irritating ingredient that soothes, heals, and protects the skin. It stimulates the growth of new skin tissues for a brighter look. Panthenol is a natural revitalizing ingredient that weakens the bonds of dead cells, and promotes skin cell renewal. Sodium hyaluronate is an intense moisturizer that restores the skin’s hydration, reduces the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and alleviates dry skin.

Pros

  • Fragrance-free
  • Reduces wrinkles
  • Reduces fine lines
  • Improves skin tone
  • Tightens and firms the skin
  • Unclogs the pores
  • Made with natural botanical extracts
  • Suitable for all skin types

Cons

None

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These are the fifteen best BHA exfoliators you can buy online. Before you make a purchase, it is better to know how to use a BHA exfoliant for the best results.

How To Apply A BHA Exfoliant? 

  • Prep your skin by picking the right face wash or cleanser. You can choose an exfoliant that acts as a cleanser with infused BHA.
  • Take a dollop of the exfoliant, dilute it, and apply to the skin. Massage gently in a circular motion. Do not rub harshly as it may further irritate the skin. Use lukewarm water to wash your skin.
  • Neutralize skin scrubbing by spraying a soothing toner on your skin.

The next section illustrates why a BHA exfoliant is suitable for you.

Why Is A BHA Exfoliant Good For You?

An AHA exfoliant is sufficient if you only want superficial cleansing, and your main focus is on the skin surface. But a BHA exfoliant deeply penetrates the skin pores, unclogs them, and removes the excess oil, dirt, and impurities. It reduces blemishes, fine lines, and wrinkles.

A BHA exfoliant is good for oily or sensitive skin, as it keeps the skin clean from within.

The following guide may help you pick the right product. Check it out.

How To Find The Ideal BHA Exfoliant 

  • Choose an exfoliant that contains salicylic acid or citric acid that unclog pores and absorb excess oil/impurities.
  • An exfoliator infused with natural willow bark extract contains natural BHA that nourishes, hydrates, and sloughs out skin impurities.
  • Pick an exfoliator that is non-comedogenic, dermatologically-tested, and free from all harmful chemicals.
  • A gentle exfoliating cleanser and toner is a multifunctional solution that hydrates, cleanses, and scrubs out excess impurities. It also preps your skin for an advanced skincare routine.

An exfoliant is among the most important skin care products. It balances skin pH and reduces excess sebum formation. BHA exfoliants are a boon to those with oily or sensitive skin as they heal acne breakouts and inflammation, and reduce fine lines and wrinkles. You may pick your favorite product from the list and start using it right away. If you have any concerns with your skin, consult with a dermatologist first.

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