Difference of Alpha and Beta Hydroxy
The main difference between alpha hydroxy acids and beta hydroxy acid is their lipid (oil) solubility. Alpha hydroxy acids are water-soluble only, while beta hydroxy acid is lipid-soluble, meaning it will dissolve in oil. This means that beta hydroxy acid is able to penetrate into the pore, which contains oily sebum, and exfoliate the dead skin cells that build up inside the pore. Due to this difference in properties, beta hydroxy acid is better used for oily skin with blackheads and whiteheads. Alpha hydroxy acids are better used on thickened, sun-damaged skin where breakouts are not a problem.