What are they? What do they do? Why do I need them? All great questions with easy answers. AHA’s or Alpha Hydroxy Acids are natural acids that are derived from food and plants. They sound like something a chemist created in a lab, but some are actually found in things we can eat. Here are a few:
- Citric (found in citrus fruits)
- Glycolic (found in sugar cane)
- Lactic (found in sour milk)
- Malic (found in apples)
- Tartaric (found in grapes)
Why Should I Use AHA’s
One of alpha hydroxy’s primary purpose is to give your cell turnover a boost. I like to think of it as putting your skin on a treadmill. Given that, you only want to use Alpha’s as a treatment for your skin over a determinant amount of time. If you’re constantly giving your skin a workout, it will tire out and you won’t get the results you’re aiming for. It’s important to be sure you are wearing sunscreen while you are using them, not only to protect your skin, but to prevent further skin damage. Using AHA’s only in the fall/winter is best since they make your skin more susceptible to sun damage.
The level at which AHA’s reach your skin is what makes them so effective. More so than a regular exfoliant you might be using in your skincare routine. AHA’s penetrate in such a way that it exfoliates the skin to a stronger degree. This allows the skin to slough old layers and expose the more even-toned, smoother skin below.
The range in their concentration and pH varies on what might be used at a dermatologist office (medical grade) and what you purchase for at home use. Either way, they are still an excellent way of treating your skin for fine lines, pigmentation and blackheads. If you want to give your skin a refresh, then AHA’s will do that.
Have you tried them before?