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AHA or BHA for Keratosis Pilaris: Which is effective?

Is AHA or BHA for Keratosis Pilaris effective and if so, which acid is better?
what’s the best skincare products for Keratosis Pilaris and does exfoliating help get rid of the Keratosis Pilaris bumps?

Well to find out, we reviewed several skincare products with AHA, BHA and/or exfoliators.

For each of these reviews, we use the skincare products for at least 30 days to see if AHA or BHA is better for Keratosis Pilaris and also, if exfoliating is good for Keratosis Pilaris!

However, before seeing the full 30 days results, let’s find out what causes these red bumps and how these skincare ingredients can help improve the appearance of the skin.

Dark Keratosis Pilaris bumps on arm before using Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant
Keratosis Pilaris is commonly called “Chicken Skin“. Can you see why?

What is Keratosis Pilaris?

Commonly known as “Chicken Skin”, Keratosis Pilaris (KP) is a skin condition that affects around 40% of the population.[2]

The exact cause of Keratosis Pilaris is still being researched but scientists found that Keratosis Pilaris is a genetic disorder and

The most accepted theory proposes defective keratinization of the follicular epithelium resulting in a keratitis infundibular plug.

Khopkar. 2012

Or simply, defective keratin buildup on the skin pores.

Left Arm Skin with Keratosis Pilaris Bumps Closeup
Dark Keratosis Pilaris bumps forming on the pores of the skin!

It’s clear that the skin pores become dark and bumpy, often resembling “chicken skin” and these Keratosis Bumps are commonly found on the[1]:

  • Upper Arms (92%)
  • Thighs (59%)
  • Buttocks (30%)

Fortunately, this skin condition is considered “medically harmless”[1].

Currently, scientists are still searching for an effective treatment for Keratosis Pilaris but in the meanwhile, there are a few skincare products that can help reduce the appearance of dark and red Keratosis Pilaris bumps on the skin.


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Does Skincare Products with AHA or BHA Help Reduce Keratosis Pilaris?

According to this scientific study, a team of researchers found that using Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHA) and Beta Hydroxy Acids (BHA) significantly clears the skin affected by Keratosis Pilaris!

Currently, the following treatments have shown to help reduce the dark and red bumps that’s caused by Keratosis Pilaris:[1][2]

Notice that most of these treatments physically remove keratin buildup from the skin pores, which means that the results may vary and are often temporary.

In a recent study, scientists found that 10% [Lactic Acid] and 5% [Salicylic Acid] are beneficial to treat KP with the significantly clearance and marked improvement as by instrumental evaluation.”[2]

Remember, the scientists used high concentrations of AHA and BHA in their research and found:

The adverse effects were limited to mild irritation localized on the skin without systemic side effect.

Kootiratrakarn, Kampirapap & Chunhasewee. 2015

So, does skincare products with these active skincare ingredients make a significant difference to skin affected by Keratosis Pilaris in 30 days?


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    Which Skincare Products Help Clear Skin With Keratosis Pilaris in 30 days?

    There’s a wide selection of skincare products that includes AHA, BHA or exfoliants and these products are used to:

    • Improve skin tone.
    • Reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
    • Even out the skin texture.

    Although most of these products aren’t necessarily meant to be used for Keratosis Pilaris, they are still popular choice because of the beneficial skincare ingredients.

    So, does skincare products with AHA or BHA make a noticeable difference to skin with Keratosis Pilaris bumps?

    1. The Ordinary AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution

    The Ordinary AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution Bottle
    The Ordinary
    AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution

    The Ordinary’s iconic peeling solution is a popular addition to many skincare routines.

    However, because of the high concentration of AHA and BHA, The Ordinary AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution is also commonly used on skin affected by Keratosis Pilaris.

    Take a look at the 2 week results from our 90 day review:

    Closeup of Upper Right Arm Skin with Keratosis Pilaris Before Using The Ordinary AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution2 week Before and after results on Keratosis Pilaris skin using The Ordinary AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution
    Keratosis Pilaris bumps after 2 Weeks using The Ordinary AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution.

    Surprisingly, after just 2 weeks using The Ordinary’s Peeling Solution, the Keratosis Pilaris bumps actually look much darker and is more noticeable.

    Does The Ordinary’s Peeling Solution make significant improvement to “Chicken Skin” after applying for 90 days?


    2. Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant

    Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant Product Photo
    Dermalogica
    Daily Microfoliant

    Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant Powder uses both Salicylic Acid(BHA) and microcrystalline Cellulose abrasives to gently exfoliate the skin.

    This unique combination of ingredients forms an incredibly gentle skincare product that can be used daily!

    Gentle, yet surprisingly effective.

    Dark Keratosis Pilaris bumps on arm before using Dermalogica Daily MicrofoliantKeratosis Pilaris on Left Arm Skin 2 week Update after using Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant
    Keratosis Pilaris before and after 2 weeks using Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant.

    Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant is an amazing exfoliant for those with sensitive skin and delivers stunning results in just 30 days!


    3. First Aid Beauty KP Bump Eraser Body Scrub

    First Aid Beauty KP Bump Eraser Body Scrub with 10% AHA Bottle
    First Aid Beauty
    KP Bump Eraser Body Scrub

    First Aid Beauty KP Bump Eraser Body Scrub takes advantage of high concentrations of AHA (10%) and hard pumice stones to formulate a powerful skincare product that targets Keratosis Pilaris!

    This exfoliating body scrub is seriously effective, as the 2 week results clearly shows:

    Skin on Left Shoulder with Keratosis Pilaris before using First Aid Beauty KP Bump Eraser Body ScrubSkin on Left Shoulder with Keratosis Pilaris before and after 2 Weeks using First Aid Beauty KP Bump Eraser Body Scrub
    Skin with Keratosis Pilaris 2 weeks after using First Aid Beauty KP Bump Eraser Body Scrub.

    However, First Aid Beauty KP Bump Eraser Body Scrub might not be for everyone.

    Read the complete 30 day review to find out why!


    4. Olehenriksen Glow2OH Dark Spot Toner

    Olehenriksen Glow2OH Dark Spot Toner Bottle
    Olehenriksen
    Glow2OH Dark Spot Toner

    Olehenriksen Glow2OH Dark Spot Toner is an extremely popular toner used to lighten dark spots and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

    However, this toner uses high-potency AHA’s and is surprisingly effective in reducing the Keratosis Pilaris bumps!

    Keratosis Pilaris on upper left arm Skin before using Olehenriksen Glow2OH Dark Spot TonerKeratosis Pilaris Skin on skin after 2 weeks using Olehenriksen Glow2OH Dark Spot Toner
    Skin after 2 weeks using Olehenriksen Glow2OH Dark Spot Toner.

    If Olehenriksen Glow2OH Dark Spot Toner is already a part of your skincare routine, be sure to read our 30 day reviews.

    The results are very promising.


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    A Few Warnings Before Using AHA, BHA or Exfoliants for Keratosis Pilaris.

    AHA, BHA and exfoliants physically removes a layer of skin, which exposes new skin that is much more sensitive to the sun’s UV rays!

    Be sure to use sunscreen and avoid direct sunlight when using skincare products with AHA, BHA or exfoliants.

    Remember, skin health should always be your priority and applying sunscreen is one of the most effective ways to prevent skin damage.

    First Aid Beauty KP Bump Eraser Body Scrub's Sunburn Alert on Label
    Sunburn warning on First Aid Beauty KP Bump Eraser Body Scrub.

    Also, it’s important to note that in the scientific research, the subjects

    …were told to apply the one designated agents twice daily on each of their extensor upper arms…

    Kootiratrakarn, Kampirapap & Chunhasewee. 2015

    Most of the skincare products that we’ve reviewed have warnings not to use the product more than 2-3 times a week!

    Therefore, seeing significant improvements to skin affected by Keratosis Pilaris will probably take much longer when following the recommended application guidelines whereas the subjects in the experiment saw improvements to their skin in as little as 4 weeks.


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      Disclaimers

      • This post is not sponsored and products were purchased with our own funds.
      • These were our personal results and your results may differ! Remember, skincare products affects every skin a bit differently.
      • We hope you use these results to make informed decisions before purchasing skincare products for your skincare routine!
      • This is not medical advice so always consult your dermatologist for issues relating to the skin.

      Sources:

      1. Thomas, M., Khopkar, U. (2012). Keratosis Pilaris Revisited: Is It More Than Just a Follicular Keratosis?
      2. Kootiratrakarn, T., Kampirapap, K., Chunhasewee, C. (2015). Epidermal Permeability Barrier in the Treatment of Keratosis Pilaris.