Add new products to your range by learning to formulate with AHAs and BHAs!

Both AHAs and BHAs are used as chemical exfoliants. This means that they help to remove dead skin cells by ‘ungluing’ them from each other. They soften skin and BHAs  also unclog pores. 

AHAs also function as humectants, bringing moisture to the skin.

AHAs are used as an anti-aging and anti-acne treatment; they can increase the skin’s elasticity and firmness, stimulate collagen synthesis, and help with hyperpigmentation and sun damage. They can help to brighten the skin and reduce the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines. 

BHAs have the ability to penetrate into the pores and are thus mostly used in acne-prone skin and skin with clogged pores. 

Acids increase the blood flow in the skin and give it a fresh and youthful appearance.

Key considerations when formulating with AHAs and BHAs:

AHAs and BHAs are amazing ingredients to include in your products. But you need to know how to work with them safely; Here are some key considerations:

  • They increase sun sensitivity, meaning after using them your skin will be more prone to sunburn and other types of sun damage. It is essential to use good quality broad spectrum sunscreen if using AHAs/BHAs as a part of your skincare routine.
  • Stick to safe usage levels and use them in the right type of products.
  • They need to be used at the correct pH. It is REALLY important that products containing AHAs and BHAs have a suitable pH or they won’t work.
  • Know what they are incompatible with and how to reduce the irritation that they can cause.

Luckily for you, our guide covers all this and much more!

This detailed guide includes:


  • What AHAs and BHAs are.
  • Function and benefits of AHAs and BHAs.
  • Acids and sun sensitivity.
  • Chart of AHAs and BHAs with usage guidelines.
  • Effect of pH on hydroxy acids.
  • Combining chemical and physical exfoliation.

Formulation guidelines

  • Product types.
  • Day time/night time use.
  • Usage rates.
  • Solubility.
  • Which phase to add them.
  • Using AHAS and BHAs together/combining AHAs.
  • Product pH.
  • Emulsion stability.
  • Incompatibilities.
  • Reducing irritation.

Formulation examples

  • Cherry Radiance Mask.
  • Superfruit Toner for Blemished Skin.
  • Peppermint Foot Cream.
  • Regenerating Night Cream.

Please note: This is a self-study guide and tutor support is not included.