Ingredient Spotlight: Alpha-Hydroxy Acids (AHAs)

Putting acid on your skin sounds dangerous, but exfoliating skincare acids (in the right quantities) like alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) and beta-hydroxy acids (BHAs) are anything but. In fact, exfoliating acids like AHAs and BHAs can be far more gentle than the facial scrubs at your local supermarket! Let's dive in.  

What are Alpha-Hydroxy Acids?

Alpha-Hydroxy Acids (AHAs for short), exfoliate the skin gently by breaking the 'glue', or the bonds, between your skin cells. This lets the dead skin cells on the surface of your face slough off, revealing brighter skin. AHAs occur naturally in plant, fruit and milk sugars. Lactic acid is made when milk goes sour, and glycolic acid is naturally occuring in sugarcane and pineapples. Glycolic acid has the smallest molecule size — this means it is able to penetrate more deeply into the skin than other AHAs.

What do AHAs treat?

All skin types can benefit from regular use of an AHA product to remove dry, dull surface skin. AHAs shine in their ability to treat hyperpigmentation and acne scars. By letting dead skin fall off, AHAs encourage the skin to renew itself. As a result, skin damage is repaired and fine lines are reduced.

How do I incorporate AHAs into my skincare routine?

Both glycolic and lactic acids are widely available and, in lower concentrations, are safe for regular home use. If you are new to AHAs, use your product once a week for one month, and then increase to twice a week as your skin adjusts. Note: Alpha-hydroxy acids are photosensitising, which means that they make your skin more prone to sun damage. Before you incorporate an AHA product, make sure you have a good sunscreen and daily sunscreen habits in place. You can purchase a separate exfoliant like our Face Scrub, which contains lactic acid and jojoba florabeads to gently exfoliate your skin. A wash-off scrub means that you get a quick but effective dose of exfoliating AHAs. If you want something stronger, a non-abrasive, leave-on product like our Skin Exfoliant is perfect. This blend of lactic and glycolic acids is very potent and should be thoroughly rinsed off after 10 minutes.