AHA is a common ingredient in many skincare products like cleanser, masks, toners, peels, and moisturizers but what is it? what does Alpha Hydroxy Acid really do for your skin?
What does AHA
(Alpha Hydroxy Acid) do for the skin?
AHA’s main task is to exfoliate the skin. It’s important to exfoliate your skin for many reasons. It can help smooth the skin, brighten the complexion, help with skin cell regeneration but most importantly can help your skincare absorb better into your skin by removing the dead skin acting as a barrier.
Why invest in expensive skincare and not help it be as effective as possible?
AHA (Alpha Hydroxy Acid) Anti-aging benefits
AHA can also help combat aging by helping with collagen production and improving surface fine lines and wrinkles. The way it can promote collagen production is by working to destroy old collagen fibers so new ones can be created. Collagen lives on the middle layer of our skin called the dermis so when the top layer (epidermis) is removed AHA’s can help with collagen production. The same goes for surface wrinkles and fine lines. If you help your skin shed the top layer full of dead skin it can also remove the surface lines. Those deeper wrinkles will have to be treated at a doctors office with lasers and filler if that’s what you want.
We all know a lot of acne is caused by clogged pores mixed with dead skin, bacteria and oil. Exfoliating with AHAs can removed the clogged pores and also reduce their size which in turn makes for a better looking complexion. Long term use of AHAs can even help prevent those clogs from happening and help decrease the amount of acne.
Types of AHAs
There are quite a few types of AHAs like the below:
- citric acid (from citrus fruits)
- glycolic acid (from sugar cane)
- hydroxycaproic acid (from royal jelly)
- hydroxycaprylic acid (from animals)
- lactic acid (from lactose or other carbohydrates)
- malic acid (from fruits)
- tartaric acid (from grapes)
I would like to say that if you’ve never used AHAs before start with glycolic and lactic acids first because they are more gentle then the rest.
How to use AHA
I always recommend trying new skincare with a patch test first. If no reaction occurs then I would start using once a week and building from there based on your skincare needs. Try to only use products that contain less then 10% AHA to not create a reaction or over strip your skin.
If you want to try a peel with a higher concentration be very careful and try it first at a spa or dermatologist office before trying it at home. Those can be great for a more noticeable change after one use but can create a rash if used incorrectly.
Side effects you want to look out for:
I would not recommend using AHAs on freshly shaved skin, cuts, rosacea, psoriasis, or existing eczema.
Favorite Products containing AHAs
Now that we’ve covered the basics, I would love to recommend some of my favorite products containing AHAs:
Scroll through some of my favorite products and find something right for your skin.