Should Teens Use AHA's, BHA's and Vitamin C?

As you learned from one of our recent #skincareblogs, AHAs and BHAs are types of hydroxy acids. You can find both acids in a variety of: 

  • cleansers
  • toners
  • moisturizers 
  • scrubs
  • peels 
  • masks 

The purpose of both AHAs and BHAs is to exfoliate the skin. Depending on the concentration, a related product may remove dead skin cells from the surface of the skin, or it may remove the whole outermost layer.

Still, neither type of hydroxy acid is “better” than the other. Both are highly effective methods of deep exfoliation. The differences lie in their uses. 

Now a question that many may not really know the answer to is; should teens use any of these ingredients on their skin?  Initially you may think, "no way!" It may seem a bit much for a teenager to incorporate AHA’s, BHA’s and Vitamin C in their skin regimen.


However, if they have skin issues that require these necessary ingredients to fight off or rid skin of acne or hyperpigmentation, then it should be consideration. 

Acids are great because they exfoliate away dull, dead skin and gently remove discoloration over time. AHAs (alpha-hydroxy acids) target the surface layers of the skin, while BHAs (beta-hydroxy acids) also unclog pores.

It is always recommended that an adult or parent manage as best as possible, which type of products their teen applies on their skin. There are so many choices and product variations on the market, you want to be sure that any selection is what works best for your teenager. 

Then there's vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant that boosts radiance and helps fade sun damage.

You could use each one on its own, but if you want to really take your benefits to the next level, consider including both in your routine!

You might be a little unsure of how to go about layering these actives. Do they have to be used at different times? Will one inactivate the other? Which one goes on first? What about wait times? Let’s take a closer look at how these ingredients should be applied to reduce any skin irritation. 

Can You Use AHA’s, BHA’s and Vitamin C at the Same Time?

For the least risk of irritation, especially for teens, use acids and vitamin C at different times of day.

Particularly, if your skin is dry or sensitive, consider using acids and vitamin C a few days apart. Because AHAs, BHAs and vitamin C are all acidic ingredients, there's more risk of exacerbating those conditions and irritating your skin. 

A few variations to consider: 

  • Vitamin C in the morning and an AHA or BHA at night
  • AHA or BHA in the morning, and vitamin C at night (keeping in mind that AHAs make skin more sun-sensitive)
  • AHA or BHA one night, vitamin C the next

Just like any product, always apply in order of thinnest to thickest, you also want to move in the direction of lowest to highest pH.

Always remember to perform a skin test before applying any AHA, BHA or Vitamin C skin care product. 

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