When it comes to transforming the way your skin looks and feels; there are few ingredients as effective as Alpha Hydroxy Acids (aka AHAs).
It’s an abbreviation you’ve likely seen and heard before, and for good reason. Achieving skincare hero status Alpha Hydroxy Acids, otherwise known as AHAs, are a potent exfoliant helping to clear dull, tired skin to reveal a fresher, more youthful complexion.
But how do AHAs achieve this? Here we take a look at what AHAs are, and how they can help boost any skincare regime.
What are AHAs?
A chemical compound, which can be naturally or synthetically formulated, AHAs include lactic acid, derived from milk; malic acid, found naturally occurring in apples; citric acid and glycolic acid, derived from citrus fruit and sugar cane respectively. Glycolic acid is undoubtedly one of the most commonly used AHAs, with its small molecules delivering optimum effectiveness.
When applied topically, AHAs act to weaken the bond between skin cells, allowing debris and dead cells to be lifted away. In this way, AHAs work similar to an exfoliating scrub, except they rely on a chemical reaction rather than manual exfoliation to remove any dead cells.
How do AHAs benefit the skin?
AHAs can be found in a wide variety of skincare products, and help to target a wide range of concerns. In addition to exfoliation, AHAs can also help to improve the appearance of photo-damage, as well as dry skin and hyper pigmentation, or melasma.
Furthermore, AHAs have been found to help treat acne, minimising the appearance of scarring from blemishes. They can also be used to address visible signs of ageing by smoothing skin as well as visibly improving texture and tone.
The degree to which AHAs work on the skin however depends on the concentration (as well as pH). Used inappropriately, this potent active ingredient can lead to inflammation and irritation, which is why it is important to consult a skin technician prior to using AHA-based products for the first time.
What are BHAs then?
If you’ve come across the term ‘BHAs’, you might be wondering what the difference is between them and their AHA counterpart. Both are commonly included in skincare products, and work to promote cell turnover. AHAs are water-soluble, and the most common are Glycolic, Lactic, and Mandelic.
BHAs usually refer to salicylic acid, an agent often used in acne treatments, meaning that they are often recommended for people with oily skin.
Where to find them…
Harnessing potent ingredient combinations to deliver visible results, AHAs feature in our Even Skintone Range alongside Bearberry Extract and Niacinamide — to help target the causes of uneven skin tone — and as a new ingredient in our Ultra Clear range.
Derived from bitter almonds mandelic acid works to decongest skin by deeply exfoliating and cleaning pores; also available as a professional-only skin peel, part of the Vita-CLEAR Skin Workout, it forms an exceptional in clinic treatment for congested or problematic skin while the Vita-LIFT ACE Power Facial contains both AHAs and BHAs for a truly effective treatment, leaving skin feeling clear and rejuvenated.
To start your journey to your best possible skin and discuss how AHAs and BHAs can boost your skincare routine, visit your local Ultraceuticals expert clinic for a consultation with one of our qualified Skin Technicians.