AHAs and BHAs: Should You Ditch These Acids During Summer?

Incorporating acids in our skincare routines, such as alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA) and beta-hydroxy acid (BHA), is proven to promote brighter and clearer skin. Acids in skincare products induce chemical exfoliation to make our skin glowing as ever. By increasing the rate of cell turnover, the dead cells that make our skin look dry and dull will be eliminated. 


However, now that the sun is shining a lot brighter and far longer, do the benefits of acids outweigh the increased risk of sun damage? Photosensitisation is the phenomenon when the skin becomes more sensitive to UV rays. Unfortunately, acids are known photosensitizers. Thus, having AHA and BHA in skincare may increase your chances of suffering from sun damage. 

But don’t worry! This does not mean you have to ditch acids altogether. Let’s talk about how to use acids in skincare while reducing the risk of sun damage.

3 ways to safely incorporate acids into your summer skincare routine

Skip the acids in the morning

Reserve applying your acids for your evening skincare routine. Obviously, the sun shines the brightest during the day so having acids on may be counterproductive in the morning. The goal is to incorporate them during the part of the day when your exposure to the sun is the lowest.

If you’re using multiple acids, be careful on how to layer them up now that you have to apply all of them at night. Here’s a quick guide on how to layer acids into your skincare routine.

Be mindful of the concentration

If you’re relatively new to the world of acids in skincare, it’s recommended to start with the lowest percentage concentration possible. This way, it would be easier to gauge your skin’s sensitivity. If you start with a higher concentration than your skin could tolerate, you will end up with irritated skin that’s a lot more prone to sun damage.

Begin by using acid skincare products with low concentration 2-3 times per week. As your skin adapts, you can build up from there—slowly but surely.

Be extra sun-savvy and protect your skin from the sun

Including acids in your skincare routine should not be a huge issue if you’re protecting your skin properly from sun damage. Apply a half teaspoon's worth of sunscreen to your face, neck, and ears. If you’re out under direct sunlight, re-apply every 2 hours.

When under the sun, wear huge hats and sunglasses. You should also limit the time you spend out, especially during the peak hours of the sun’s rays to prevent any skin irritation and damage.


No matter what season, AHA and BHA don’t have to be the bad guys. These acids are packed with numerous benefits if used properly. By simply following the simple guidelines above, you can definitely enjoy the wonders of these acids without the risk of sun damage. Remember to always wear your hats and apply your sunscreen! ♡


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