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Just as alpha hydroxy acids, beta hydroxy acids are simple organic acids found in nature or synthesized in the laboratory. They are somewhat different from alpha hydroxy acids in structure and mode of action. Although beta hydroxy acids are now often portrayed as the latest skincare breakthrough, they have been around for quite a while. Salicylic acid, a common beta hydroxy acids, has been used for treating acne for decades. In fact, acne treatment remains the use of choice for beta hydroxy acids. There are no studies showing that beta hydroxy acids are superior or even equal to alpha hydroxy acids for skin exfoliation, reducing fine wrinkles, etc. For acne, however, beta hydroxy acids are clearly superior to alpha hydroxy acids. For persons without acne, adding beta hydroxy acids to alpha hydroxy acids regimen is a waste of money.