AHA in Skincare: Everything You Need to Know
If you've been researching skincare products to get younger, healthier-looking skin, then you've probably seen the term AHA. From boosting collagen production and blood flow to the skin to acne prevention and correcting skin discoloration, AHAs have the potential to visibly transform the look of your skin. Now, let's dive into AHA in skincare; the benefits, and everything you should know before adding it to your skincare routine.
What Is An AHA in Skincare?
AHA stands for alpha-hydroxy acids which are water-soluble acids derived from sugary fruits. AHAs are commonly found in a variety of skincare products, including cleansers, toners, serums, and creams. These powerful acids exfoliate the skin to reveal a healthier, youthful, and more even-toned complexion.
Common Types of AHAs
There are seven types of AHAs commonly found in skincare products. They are listed below starting with the strongest AHAs to the mildest.
- Glycolic Acid (derived from sugarcane) - the strong and most commonly used AHA in skincare. Because of it's small molecules it's able to penetrate the skin quickly and deeply. This AHA may cause irritation for sensitive skin types.
- Lactic Acid (derived from milk) - milder than Glycolic Acid and the second most commonly found AHA. Lactic Acid is also known for providing moisture to the skin.
- Mandelic Acid (derived from bitter almonds) - Much more gentle on the skin than the first two AHAs making it a good choice for people with sensitive skin.
- Malic Acid (derived from fruits) - A mild AHA, not very effective on it's own. You'll probably find this AHA working in conjunction with another.
- Tartaric Acid (derived from grapes) - Known for helping to regulate the skin's pH levels, moisturizing and procting the skin.
- Citric Acid (derived from citrus fruits) - Another one of the weaker AHAs. Citric Acid is know for being a protective antioxident and helping to correct photodamage.
- Phytic Acid (derived from rice) - A very mild AHA that you'll usually find working with Glycolic Acid in your skincare products. Phytic acid does little to exfolifate the skin and there's very little concern for irritation.
The Benefits of AHAs
They Exfoliate the Skin
Exfoliation refers to the process of removing the top layer of the skin. This process gets rid of dead skin cells and reveals the fresh, new skin underneath. Skin exfoliation helps to clean the skin, unclog pores, and reduce breakouts.
The primary purpose of AHAs in Skincare is to exfoliate the skin. If you're currently using harsh scrubs or brushes to exfoliate your skin, AHAs may better a better, less irritating solution.
They're effective skin brighteners
AHAs are known for promoting glowing, brighter skin. They help to break down dead skin cells so that new, more radiant skin is revealed. Adding these acids to your skincare routine can visibly reduce dark spots caused by photodamage, hyperpigmentation, and acne scars.
They Improve the Texture of Your Skin
Another benefit of AHAs is smoother skin and tighter pores, giving the skin a healthier appearance. Because of their exfoliation, anti-aging, and brightening benefits, the skin looks more radiant and youthful.
They Promote Collagen Production
Collagen is the most important structural protein found in the skin, which breaks down naturally as we age. However, there are factors that accelerate the breaking down of collagen including, UV Rays, pollution, and poor diet choices. Studies show that AHAs may help to promote collagen production in the skin by getting rid of old collagen fibers to create space for new ones.
They Reduce surface Lines and Wrinkles
AHAs are well known for their anti-aging benefits. Because these powerful acids dissolve the top layer of the skin, fine lines appear diminished and the skin takes on a more youthful and smooth look. Products containing AHAs are a great way to begin an anti-aging skin care regimen.
Do AHAs Have Side Effects?
AHAs are safe to use on the skin, however, they could cause side effects. Redness, skin irritation, and sun sensitivity are most common. It is recommended that you use products containing AHAs every other day, not every day. Additionally, it is also important to use sunscreen because of the increase in sun sensitivity.
The skin may need some time to adjust to AHAs and over time, should develop a tolerance to them.
Do your skincare goals include glowing, healthier, more youthful skin? Then it may be time to add AHAs to your skincare routine. These acids pack a powerful punch and may be exactly what your skin needs.