Kahryn Pedroza is a writer, intuitive-intersectional wellness educator, and national board certified health and wellness coach. She received a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies with a double minor in Sociology and Health Studies from the University of San Francisco. She combines this education with certifications in functional medicine health coaching and yoga teaching and her own rhetorical knack to communicate in person, online, and in print about the intersectionality and accessibility of health, wellness, sustainability, spirituality, and intentional living.

Beta Hydroxy Acids have been widely used in skin care formulations for their skin healing benefits. Beta Hydroxy Acid (BHA) is a chemical exfoliant that helps break down dead skin cells, unclog pores, and stimulate collagen, paving the way for your other skin care products to penetrate deeper. Because cell turnover naturally slows with time, BHA liquid exfoliants can help speed things up to gently resurface the skin.

If you’re considering adding BHA chemical exfoliants or any types of exfoliation to your skin care routine to improve the health and appearance of your skin, it’s important to use it correctly. Here’s a quick guide covering when and how to use BHA liquid exfoliant.


When to Add Liquid Exfoliant to Your Skin Care Routine

Not sure if BHA liquid exfoliants are right for you? If you notice your other skin care products aren’t working the way they used to and your skin has lost its vibrancy and appears duller, these may be signs your skin needs some resurfacing that BHAs can provide.

Unlike physical exfoliants that remove dead skin cells from the surface, chemical exfoliants can penetrate into deeper layers of the skin to dissolve dead cells, dirt, and oil.

BHAs act as a liquid facial by chemically exfoliating your skin to reveal unclogged, balanced skin.

Ready to add a liquid exfoliator to your skin care routine? Use Acid Potion for its functional, filler-free formula — a 25% AHA + BHA complex that combines Glycolic Acid to break down dead cells and dirt and help stimulate collagen production, Lactic Acid to help encourage cell turnover, and Salicylic Acid from Willow Bark to penetrate and unclog pores. Niacinamide and adaptogenic Reishi help to hydrate, soothe, and restore the barrier.


How to Apply BHA Liquid Exfoliants

Applying a BHA exfoliant is simple. As long as you follow the directions on the product bottle, you’ll be on your way to clog-free pores! Like any new product that you add to your skin care routine, spot test first. Simply test the liquid exfoliant on a small area of your skin and wait a few minutes for any reaction. If no reaction occurs, you can safely apply this skin perfecting product as part of your skin care regimen.

Before we get into the step-by-step application process, we wanted to answer a few common when it comes to applying BHA exfoliants:

Do You Use BHA Liquid Exfoliant Before or After Moisturizer?

Because the job of BHA liquid exfoliant is to clear pores and dissolve dead skin, moisturizer should be applied after this chemical exfoliant so that the moisturizer can penetrate into clean skin and lock in moisture.

Do You Wash Off Liquid Exfoliant?

Don’t wash off liquid exfoliant! Once applied to the skin, BHA exfoliant gets to work in the deepest layers of skin to unclog stubborn pores and stimulate collagen production, so skip the rinse and leave liquid exfoliant on the skin.

Do You Apply Liquid Exfoliant Morning or Night?

BHA liquid exfoliant can be applied morning or night since there’s no solid evidence that BHAs increase sun sensitivity. If you use a double acid liquid exfoliant that has BHAs and AHAs, you should apply it in the PM, as AHAs can make skin more photosensitive.

Step by Step Guide

Now, here’s a step-by-step breakdown of how to apply BHA liquid exfoliants:

Step 1: Cleanse

Thoroughly cleanse your face and neck and pat dry.

Step 2: Apply Exfoliant

Apply the liquid exfoliant to your skin. You can apply it to your full face and neck for a comprehensive liquid facial, or you can spot-treat problem areas. Check the directions on the product bottle, some products may recommend you use a cotton pad or simply your hands during application. If using Acid Potion, ditch the cotton pad and shake a quarter-sized amount into the palm and pat it into the skin with your fingertips.

Step 3: Follow Up With Serum

The BHA exfoliant clears the way for additional skin care products to work their magic, so follow up with any serums that may be part of your skin care routine. A hyaluronic acid serum like Plump Jelly can seep deep and hydrate cells.

Step 4: Moisturize

Now that you’ve had a quickie facial, further, nourish your skin by locking in moisture to prevent water loss. Using a moisturizer is a powerful opportunity to improve skin’s natural barrier. For a functional, adaptogen-rich natural moisturizer, use Cosmic Cream™ to give your skin the good oils and fats it craves so it can seal in hydration.


How Often Should You Use BHA Liquid Exfoliant?

Curious how often you should use BHA liquid exfoliant? It is best to follow the usage directions on your particular product. Generally speaking, you want to build up your usage slowly.

Consider Skin Concerns

  • If you are exfoliating sensitive skin, start slow and use acids once a week
  • If you have healthy skin with a strong barrier, use acids a few times a week.

Consider Skin Goals

  • If you’re looking to resurface the skin and penetrate stubborn pores, use multiple nights in a row. If using Acid Potion, use it up to 3 nights in a row.
  • If you’re looking to stimulate collagen production, use it regularly to keep skin bouncy and elastic.

Consider Other Clinical Products

If you’re using retinoids in your skin care routine, avoid combining them with BHA treatments. Instead, practice skin cycling by letting your skin rest between products.



BHA liquid exfoliants speed up cell turnover, unclog pores, and hydrate, soothe, and balance skin. Using a potent blend of acids to exfoliate can leave skin smooth and in better health. Because liquid exfoliants are powerful in resurfacing skin and increasing collagen levels, reflect on the current state of your skin to decide how often you should use these acids. When you are ready to add BHAs to your routine, follow the steps above to get the most benefits of exfoliating.