Not only am I overwhelmed with all the skincare products out on the market, I am also confused as to what certain skincare ingredients actually do! I have tried a few skincare lotions that contained AHA, but never really knew much about its benefits or characteristics. With over 200 manufacturers out in the cosmetic and skincare world producing products that contain this key ingredient, I’m sure you want to know more about it like I do 🙂
AHA is an acronym for alpha hydroxy acid, a fruit acid derived from various plant and milk sugars, such as grapes, lemon, willowbark and yogurt.
Depending on their concentration, AHAs are natural exfoliants that loosen and dissolve dead cells from the skin’s surface and help to regenerate new skin cells. They aid in the control of acne, smooth rough dry skin and improve the texture of sun-damaged and aging skin while leaving your skin healthy and vibrant. They are widely used for therapy of photo-damaged skin and to normalize over-thickened skin.
Peels with high concentrations of AHAs, usually over 10%, are dealt with aestheticians or dermatologists. Concentrations of between 5% and 10% are found in creams and lotions and can be used on a daily basis. Any lower percentage would make the product ineffective.
The most common and well researched AHAs are glycolic acid and lactic acid. These acids have a special ability to penetrate the skin.
Glycolic Acid (AHA) – the original AHA, it is derived from the sugar cane and is used to stimulate the production of collagen and elastin, treat acne scars, treat any skin discoloration, exfoliate the outer skin surface, and improve skin texture. Glycolic acid is a natural chemical or fruit acid derived from sugar cane. A daily SPF should be used with products containing this ingredient because it can cause the skin to be more prone to sunburn.
Lactic Acid (AHA) – is also known as the milk acid and is used for moisturizing, exfoliating and slightly layering properties. People with sensitive skin can tolerate this ingredient more easily as the acid takes longer to penetrate the skin. A daily SPF should be used with products containing this ingredient as it can cause the skin to be more prone to sunburn.
Other AHAs are Citric and Tartaric:
Citric Acid (AHA) – found in orange and lemons. A natural preservative that helps adjust the pH our skincare products. It is said to have anti-oxidant and toning properties.
Tartaric Acid (AHA) – is used as a non chemical lightener and is extracted from bearberry. It is also an antioxidant.
Potential side effects are increased sensitivity to UV light (hence the reason to always use sunscreen when using a product with an AHA) and possible skin irritation. Great news is that if you experience any discomforts you can stop using the product with no longer term side effects.
I suggest to reap the benefits of this key skincare ingredient, do start out using it slowly (perhaps every other day) with a low concentration to give your skin a chance to get used to the product and avoid any side effects.
What is your experience using products with AHA?