AHA’s in Skincare

What You Need to Know About AHA’s in Skincare

The use of Alpha Hydroxy Acids – AHA’s in skincare are not new and dates back thousands of years when Cleopatra use to bath in sour milk (lactic acid) and women applied red wine (tartaric acid) to their faces to make their skin smoother and look more vibrant.

Skin Health Hub Skin Health AHA's in SkincareSo, when it comes to the ingredients found in today’s skincare, what is old is new again! In this article we explore some of the relative ‘newcomers’ to the skincare industry and why many skincare companies are developing ranges of products containing Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHA’s) in skincare.

Alpha-hydroxy Acids (AHA’s)

In skincare, AHA’s are used to exfoliate the skin, reduce fine lines, age spots, acne scars, and irregular pigmentation and when used in low concentrations of less than 3% in moisturizers AHA’s perform well as water-binding agents to hydrate the skin.

AHA’s are extracted from plant sources such as sugarcane, grapes, citrus fruits or milk. These natural-based acids are found in a vast number of skin-care products and will be listed on the ingredients label as glycolic, lactic, citric, and/or tartaric acids. Glycolic acid was the original AHA and remains popular for its ability to remove dead skin cells and leave skin smoother, softer, and more radiant.

AHAs Peels with high concentrations of AHAs are usually administered by a beauty specialist (esthetician) or dermatologist. However, you can use lower concentrations of between 5% and 10% in creams or lotions on a daily basis. In order to help avoid your skin becoming irritated, it is recommended to start with a low concentration and only apply every other day until gradually increasing frequency to every day.

Even at lower doses, however, the acids may irritate and dry skin and increase your sensitivity to the sun. As you will be more likely to burn, a daily application of a broad spectrum UVA/UVB sunscreen with a SPF 30+ is recommend when using any products that contain AHAs.

Salicylic Acid

Salicylic acid is used in many over-the-counter and prescription products to treat acne. It penetrates pores and reduces blackheads and whiteheads with less irritation than may occur with alpha-hydroxy acids. Like AHAs, salicylic acid in certain amounts also exfoliates the skin, which can reduce signs of aging.

If you are allergic to salicylates (found in aspirin), you shouldn’t use salicylic acid. If you are pregnant or nursing, you should ask your doctor before using any product with salicylic acid.

Alpha Hydroxy Acid’s (AHA’s) used in skincare will greatly improve the appearance of your skin. The action on the skin on these fruit acids gently sloughs away any dead skin cells. This in turn improves the texture and condition of the skin causing the skin to feel smoother and softer Plus when the skin’s natural moisturizing capacity is increased, fine lines and wrinkles also become less visible – and that’s got to be great news!

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