Do you know what is AHA and what is it for in the skin care industry? You might have been seeing this ingredient in many products including brands like The Ordinary and Drunk Elephant but what exactly is it there for? With many new products coming out with AHA acids, it’s important to know why they are there.
There are many different ingredients that can be found in cosmetics and skin care products. Now, it doesn’t always mean that the ingredients are safe, natural or even cruelty-free. It all depends of the values of the brand and their goal but many have moved on from harsh chemicals and have started eliminating ingredients that may affect our skin. Also, many brands are incorporating useful ingredients that actually help us reach our skin goals. Now, let’s provide a some information about AHA.
What is AHA and it’s uses
First, let’s start with what AHA stands for. AHA is short for Alpha Hydroxy Acids which are chemical compounds that can occur naturally or can be synthetic. It’s often used in cosmetics as an aid to reduce wrinkles and improve the look of the skin. They are typically preferred for dry skin due to it’s exfoliating properties.
The Alpha Hydroxy Acids are actually derived from different components such as:
- Glycolic Acid – derived from sugar cane
- Citric Acid – found in citrus fruits
- Lactic acid – found in sour milk
- Malic Acid – found in apples
- Tartaric Acid – found in grape wine
- Mandelic Acid – derived from bitter almonds
What are AHAs for – The breakdown
- Glycolic Acid
- From all the different AHAs, glycolic acid is usually on the top. This is the most research and has had impressive results on the skin. It’s able to penetrate the skin and exfoliate, leaving the skin to be smooth. Additionally, it has a natural ability to hydrate the skin.
- It’s even said that it might have antibacterial properties, helping prevent future breakouts.
- The botanical properties of the glycolic acid may help treat skin conditions
- This is safe to use on sensitive skin but over using may cause redness. Try using a low percentage first to see how your skin will react
- Citric Acid
- This acid may be derived from many citrus fruits but can also be synthetic. It’s purpose is to even out rough patches of skin. It can be used as a toner before applying your moisturizer
- Another benefit is that it can promote skin growth. This can alleviate the appearance of acne scars and age spots.
- Lactic Acid
- Lactic Acid pretty much does the same thing as Glycolic Acid but only slower. It can be used as an exfoliant at 5-10%
- This AHA can cause sensitivity. It’s not common and can be minimized by using it together with soothing ingredients.
- Has anti-aging benefits
- Malic Acid
- This can also be used as an exfoliant but it also delivers antioxidant benefits.
- It’s typically used alone since it’s not as strong/effective as the glycolic acid.
- Tartaric Acid
- Made from grape extracts, it may help alleviate sun damage and acne
- Not as well researched as the glycolic acid
- Mandelic Acid
- When paired with other acids, it aides ceramides stimulation
- Used alone, it may improve texture
Some skin care products – With AHA as ingredients
The Ordinary Mandelic Acid 10% + HA with AHA and Hyaluronic Acid (30ml)
The Ordinary Lactic Acid 5% + Ha 2% 30ml
The Ordinary Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution 240ml
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What is AHA and the negative effects
As a recap, AHA stands for Alpha Hydroxy Acids and there are a few different acids that you can fond in different types of skin care products. Many of them have great benefits but it’s important to remember that they all have specific uses and everything overused can potentially cause damage. If you aren’t sure about the products, it’s always best to contact your dermatologist.
Additionally, some of these products may lead your skin to become prone to sun damage when overused. It’s important to follow the guidelines and also moisturize and apply sunscreen if you are going to be under the sun. Sun damage is one of the leading causes of premature aging skin. Protect your skin with a good sunscreen and stay hydrated my friends!