As you know, there are different types of acids commonly found in many skincare products. So, when you take a look at the ingredients that you are using, chances are that you would find a specific type of acid in one of them. However, not every skincare acid has the same attributes and they aren’t created equally.
Of all the acids, there is no denying that AHAs or “alpha hydroxy acids” reigns supreme. AHAs are a group of animal and plant-derived acids that are used in facial skin care products such as creams, toners, serums, and other concentrated treatments through chemical peels and chemical exfoliants.
If you have cystic skin issues, or severe skin allergies, we suggest you seek professional medical advice from board certified dermatologists before you begin experimenting with products that contain AHAs.
Please read on to learn more about alpha hydroxy acids!
See Related: What Are Chemical Exfoliants?
WHAT ARE AHAs OR ALPHA HYDROXY ACIDS?
Typically alpha hydroxy acids are groups of synthetic and natural acids that tend to exfoliate your skin’s top/outer layer (to remove dead skin cells) and leave your skin with a brighter and smoother look. Also, it gives your aging skin the perfect complexion, making it more youthful.
The AHAs include glycolic and lactic acid, tartaric acid, malic acid, citric acid, and others. However, a variety of AHAs is applied to the skin to moisturize them and remove the dead skin cells.
Also, these acids are effective when it comes to treating acne prone skin and reducing the impact of acne scars. This is also why many anti-aging products contain AHAs.
Other kinds of usage include improving aged skin while smoothing and firming the same. In addition, these acids are typically used to treat xerosis, which is an inherited disease denoted by scaly, dry skin and a condition that makes your skin appear too dark. For pregnant women having this disorder, it is called the mask of pregnancy.’
However, not every skincare product contains these acids or has the concentration information marked on the product’s label. To stay on the safe side, you should always consider using products that display the concentration of every active ingredient that comes with the skincare product.
IN WHAT TYPES OF SKINCARE PRODUCTS DO YOU FIND AHAs?
If you are looking for a clearer, radiant complexion, and smoother skin, AHAs are those active ingredients you need to add to your regular skincare routine. They gently exfoliate your skin while increasing collagen production to keep acne at bay. No doubt, these potent acids work wonders when it comes to transforming your complexion to great extent.
However, before you pick up random skincare products that include AHA, you should know how to use them to get better results. Also, you should know how they benefit you.
Also, it is always important to consider your skin type before using any skincare products. All these things are discussed in the later part of the post. But first, let’s look at the products that include this amazing acid as an active ingredient.
1. FOAMING WASH
This kind of face wash comes with glycolic acid that helps to clear decongested pores in your skin while other ingredients help brighten your skin. That way, your skin becomes breathable and glows from within. Besides, they work best for oily skin tones and help reduce signs of aging as well.
2. NIGHT PEELs
As the term suggests, chemical peels are a unique kind of AHA serum that treat and prevent breakouts that are caused when you wear face masks. The malic, tartaric, and glycolic acids that are commonly found in these types of peels add hydration to your skin at night to deliver the ultimate glow without any kind of skin irritation.
3. REVITALIZING AND EXFOLIATING SCRUBs
Most skincare products that help exfoliate your skin gently include AHAs in adequate amounts. Typically, they are a combination of chemical and physical exfoliant. An effective exfoliator that includes natural AHAs help remove the dead skin cells and skin pigmentation.
4. RESURFACING and Replenishing TONERs
In general, alcohol-free toner comes with a blend of citric, lactic, malic, and phytic acid that exfoliates, clarifies, and helps brighten your skin. Other ingredients like vitamins help improve your skin texture while making your skin moisturized.
5. EXFOLIATING CLEANSERs
There is no denying that salicylic acids and exfoliating glycolic acids are helpful when it comes to removing excess oil and dead skin cells that build around the pores. Using an exfoliating cleanser that contains AHAs is best to use daily. However, many people consider adding the cleanser to their skincare routine a couple of times a week.
6. PEEL-OFF MASKS
These peel-off masks combine the goodness of glycolic and citric acid (found in citrus fruits) to help exfoliate and brighten your damaged skin. Besides, applying a peel-off mask is easy and all you have to do is make it sit on your face for about 20 minutes and gently peel it off.
7. FACIAL SKIN SERUMS
Widely used by people worldwide, skin serum helps your face keep excessive oil at bay. The combination of different types of AHAs increases cell turnover. That way, it helps reduce blackheads, dark spots, and pore size. Use a skin serum from a reputed brand to make your skin evenly toned and complexion brighter.
8. CREAM or MOISTURIZERS
To get rid of acne-prone and oily skin, use a face cream twice daily that contains a blend of AHAs. Apart from the active AHAs, vitamins and other ingredients combat dryness along with the irritation that is sometimes caused by using hydroxy acids. Also, your skin tends to remain optimally hydrated.
WHAT ARE ITS EFFECTIVENESS AND USES?
Alpha hydroxy acids work by shedding the top layers of your dead skin cells. In addition, they are equally effective when it comes to thickening layers of your skin while promoting firmness. However, you should know about its effectiveness to get the most out of them.
AHAs are likely effective when it comes to treating your skin from sun damage. For that, you have to apply the acids in the form of lotion or cream. But the skin peels that contain AHAs might not be an effective solution.
However, they are effective when it comes to treating dry skin by applying lotion or cream to your skin. But AHAs are quite effective for treating acne when you apply them to your skin in the form of lotion or cream. AHAs are effective for acne scars when you apply them to your skin in the form of a lotion or facial peel.
When you apply glycolic acid as a lotion or facial cream, it seems to reduce acne scars to a great extent. Moreover, applying 70% glycolic acid in the form of peels seems to work better compared to 15% glycolic acid in the form of lotion daily. Alpha hydroxy acids reduce tenderness and pain caused by fibromyalgia by using malic acid combined with magnesium.
In addition, alpha hydroxy acid works by reducing the levels of pigmentation that are associated with a special type of skin disorder known as melasma. When you apply about 10% glycolic acid in the form of lotion for two weeks and followed by 50% glycolic acid in the form of a facial peel every month.
And, this should continue for three consecutive months. As a result, it helps reduce undesirable skin coloration in people. However, facial peels with glycolic acid don’t work for dermal-type melasma.
TOP 5 BENEFITS OF ALPHA HYDROXY ACID FOR YOUR SKIN:
Whether you are worried about signs of aging, acne, age spots, or uneven skin tone, AHAs can help you eliminate a lot of skin conditions. While any kind of acid tends to exfoliate your skin, AHAs perform beyond that. Here is how AHAs can benefit your skin.
1. THEY EXFOLIATE IN THE BEST POSSIBLE WAY
When skin cells die, they clump together and get on top of the skin. AHA breaks the connection that helps them bind together. Also, AHAs help them slough away gently. As a result, your skin tone has an increased radiance, fewer dark spots, and a smoother texture.
Precisely, the kind of chemical exfoliation is what makes alpha hydroxy acid an ultimate choice for people with sensitive skin. People with sensitive skin can’t withstand physical exfoliation like manual scrubbing, which may result in inflammation and redness sometimes.
2. THEY BRIGHTEN YOUR COMPLEXION
There is no denying that dull skin is often the result of piling up dead skin cells. As you know, AHAs are the best solution when it comes to sloughing away the dead layer of skin. As such, the new skin that gets revealed underneath is more radiant and brighter.
Therefore, if you are looking for a clear complexion, make use of products that have the right amount of AHAs and improve the overall quality of your skin.
3. AIDS IN COLLAGEN PRODUCTION
Not only do AHAs work on the epidermis, but also they can impact the deep layers of your skin. Several studies show that alpha hydroxy acid promotes the development of collagen to a great extent.
That’s the reason why you would find AHA as the most active ingredient in almost every anti-aging product. In addition, more collagen in your body means that it would have fewer wrinkles and lines.
4. THEY WORK WONDERS FOR MATURE SKIN
Skincare products with AHA could be a game changer for people with mature skin and fine lines in a lot of ways. When you age, the speed at which your skin cells tend to increase naturally slows down. As a result, it causes more dead cells to pile up on the surface of the skin.
When they build up for some time, they show signs of aging quickly. But when you use AHA, you can remove the build-up and minimize the appearance of fine lines significantly.
Certain AHAs like glycolic acid can stimulate hyaluronic acid and collagen. Both these can boost elasticity, plump up your skin, and reduce the formation of fine lines.
5. AHAS TEND TO MAKE YOUR SKIN STAY HYDRATED
Lactic acid, malic acid, and glycolic acid can attract water to the skin. That way, it keeps your skin hydrated. Besides, lactic acid is the topmost choice for many people with dry, rough skin.
WHAT ARE THE POSSIBLE SIDE EFFECTS?
You may likely experience minor side effects if you haven’t used alpha hydroxy acid products before. That’s because your skin needs to adjust to the product. Some of the temporary side effects are as follows.
- Eczema or Inflamed skin
Therefore, try to use alpha hydroxy acid products in limitation to help reduce irritation of the skin. When your skin gets accustomed to the product, you can start applying them every day. Also, you should take extra precautions when going outdoors. The peeling effect of some AHA-based products might make your skin sensitive to the UV rays.
And, that could run for up to a week even after use. Besides, you should put on sunscreen daily to prevent sunburn. However, it is wise to consult your physician before using any product that contains AHA if you have the following conditions.
- Burns or cuts on your skin
- Freshly shaved skin
In addition, breastfeeding or pregnant women should seek advice from their physicians before using AHAs. You can use them if your doctor says so.
WHAT IS THE BEST SKIN TYPE FOR AHAs?
You may be surprised but AHAs work wonders with almost every skin type. However, rosacea, post-procedure, and sensitive skin types can’t use AHAs. In addition, AHA-based products are a safe alternative to BHAs even if you are breastfeeding, pregnant, or planning about conceiving.
HOW MUCH AHA DO YOU NEED?
In general, the FDA recommends using AHA products that don’t exceed 10% of the concentration levels. That way, it can prevent you from the adverse effects of AHAs. However, products that you can use daily such as water based moisturizers, toners, and serums contain AHA in lower concentrations. For highly concentrated products such as peels, you can use them less frequently.
If you are looking for excellent exfoliation, you can consider using AHAs because they are the right products for you. You can choose for everyday exfoliation with AHA-based cream, toners, and serums. Or you may proceed with peel treatment a couple of times per week.
Although AHAs are one of the most well-researched skincare products because of their benefits, they aren’t for everyone. Therefore, if you have an existing skin condition, it is a good idea to talk to your skin care specialist or dermatologist before buying these products. They would help you find the right product that helps you with your skincare goals.
For over 60 years, Viviane Woodard has represented “The Purity of Skincare”. We are the leading beauty brand for skin care products and promote the importance of good skin hydration. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest for skin care tips, product discounts, and more.