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AHA! What's this ingredient?

Posted By May
It's time for another skincare eureka moment. What's AHA and is it safe? Know more about what's in your skincare products... one ingredient at a time.

What is this fruity acid?

Alpha Hydroxy Acids or AHAs are water-soluble acids made from sugary fruits. Its primary use in skincare is to exfoliate.

AHAs remove dead skin cells and help reduce fine lines, wrinkles, uneven skin tone and texture. Depending on the concentration, some AHA products exfoliate gently, while others with stronger doses are used for skin peeling.

Some examples of AHAs are:

Citrus Fruits
(citric acid)

Sugar Cane
(glycolic acid)

(malic acid)

(tartaric acid)

Compared to BHAs or beta-hydroxy acids (which are oil-soluble and goes deeper into the skin to exfoliate and remove excess sebum), the water-soluble AHAs exfoliate the skin's surface and work on improving the skin's overall appearance and texture.

AHA Benefits

These are the great ways that skin care with AHAs can work wonders for your skin:

  • Exfoliates skin, removing dead skin cells to make way for fresh, new skin.
  • Increases skin thickness and firmness
  • decreases inflammation
  • Improves skin texture
  • Reduces fine line and wrinkles
  • Unclogs pores
To make the most out of AHA and its benefits, it's best to know how to use it safely.

Smart Skincare Tips on AHA:

Here are some recommendations based on the AHA concentration.

10% and under safe for household use with proper sun care.
According to an FDA Cosmetic Industry Review, glycolic and lactic acid are safe for cosmetic use at a concentration of 10% and under with a pH of 3.5 and below.

11% - 30% best done with professional supervision. 
Products with a higher concentration of up to 30% are best left to the professionals/salons/spas with brief, discontinuous use (not as a leave-in treatment) and thoroughly rinsed off shortly after. 

AHA + Sun Care = Perfect Pair
Most importantly, always pair AHAs with a high SPF, broad-spectrum sunscreen. AHA could make your skin more sensitive to the sun's radiation temporarily. This heightened sensitivity to the sun's rays wears off after discontinued use of AHA in cosmetics/skincare, so it's nothing to worry about as long as you practice your sun care daily essentials.

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