AHAs (Alpha Hydroxy Acids)
When you first think about acids & the skin, you can’t but have a picture of negative images of scalded, red skin. That’s wrong. Acids are now used in both salon & homecare products. Different acids can have different effects & depending on it’s concentration, will enhance the effects.
What is Alpha Hydroxy Acid?
Alpha-Hydroxy acids or AHAs are naturally occurring acids, that is why they are commonly used acids in skin care products. There are many types and are naturally derived from three main sources: sugar cane, milk and fruits.
Examples used in skincare are as follows; Glycolic Acid (found in sugar cane), Lactic Acid (found in sour milk and tomato juice), Asorbic Acid, Citric Acid (found in citrus fruits), malic acid (found in apples), tartaric acid (found in grapes), Flower Acids, Hylauronic Acid, Hydroxyphenoxy Propionic Acid, Kojic Acid, Mandelic Acid, Retinoic Acid & Soy Amino Acids.
Glycolic acid and lactic acid are often used in cosmetics to rejuvenate the skin.
Who should use AHAs
AHAs are most used for skin conditions such as dry skin, ageing skin, or brown spots.
Glycolic acid proves helpful for those prone to acne.
How do they work?
AHAs are often used in cosmetics to increase skin cell turnover, exfoliate dead cells from the surface of the skin, and improve the skin’s ability to maintain moisture.
They seem to work by removing the top layers of dead skin cells. They loosen the glue-like substances that hold the surface skin cells to each other, therefore allowing the dead skin to peel off gently. The skin underneath has a fresher, healthier look with a more even color and texture.
They can also increase the thickness of deeper layers of skin, promoting firmness. With high concentration and long-term use, alpha hydroxy acids may also affect the deeper layers of the skin. Collagen and elastin regenerate making fine lines less obvious.
AHA skin care products
There are many products with varying concentrations of various AHAs in differing bases.
For the best results, leave-on preparations should be applied at night, if necessary, twice daily. They can be alternated with other anti-ageing preparations including retinoid creams and vitamin C.