Alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) are a group of natural and synthetic acids that are used in skincare products to exfoliate the skin. They are water-soluble acids that can penetrate the skin's top layer, called the stratum corneum. This helps to remove dead skin cells and promote the growth of new skin cells.
AHAs have a number of benefits for the skin, including:
Exfoliating: AHAs can help to remove dead skin cells, which can make the skin look dull and uneven.
Brightening: AHAs can help to fade dark spots and hyperpigmentation.
Reducing wrinkles: AHAs can help to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles by stimulating the production of collagen.
Improving skin texture: AHAs can help to improve the overall texture of the skin by making it smoother and more even.
Unclogging pores: AHAs can help to unclog pores and reduce the appearance of acne.
There are different types of AHAs, each with its own strengths and weaknesses. The most common AHAs are:
Glycolic acid: This is the most potent AHA and is often used in chemical peels. It is effective at exfoliating the skin and reducing the appearance of wrinkles.
Lactic acid: This is a gentler AHA that is often used in leave-on products. It is effective at exfoliating the skin, lightening and moisturizing.
Mandelic acid: This is a medium-strength AHA that is good for people with sensitive skin. It is effective at exfoliating the skin and reducing the appearance of dark spots.
When choosing an AHA product, it is important to consider your skin type and the desired results. If you have sensitive skin, you should choose a gentler AHA product. If you are new to using AHAs, you should start with a low concentration and gradually increase it as your skin gets used to it.
AHAs can cause some side effects, such as redness, peeling, and irritation. These side effects are usually mild and go away on their own. However, if you experience any severe side effects, you should stop using the product and consult with a doctor or dermatologist.
Here are some tips for using AHAs safely:
Start with a low concentration and gradually increase it as your skin gets used to it.
Use AHA products in the evening, before going to bed.
Avoid using AHA products in the sun or on sunburned skin. Always use sunscreen during the day, even if you are using an AHA product at night.
If you have sensitive skin, talk to your Doctor, Dermatologist or Esthetician before using an AHA product.
Overall, AHAs are a safe and effective way to improve the appearance of the skin. However, it is important to use them safely and to choose a product that is right for your skin type.