What Are Alpha Hydroxy Acids?

illustration of woman looking at product with alpha hydroxy acids
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Putting together the ideal skincare routine for your skin type is no easy feat! There are so many different ingredients out there and so many new ones that keep coming up every day! One such ingredient that you will find might come across serums and moisturizers is alpha hydroxy acids, more commonly known as AHAs.

You might be curious to find out what exactly is this ingredient. What are the known alpha hydroxy acids benefits and what are some of the products with alpha hydroxy acids?

So, today we will tell you everything you need to know about AHAs and how can you incorporate them into your everyday skincare routine with some of the best products with alpha hydroxy acids.

Alpha Hydroxy Acids Benefits

There are several types of acids that have proven their potency in skincare, and you may have heard not just of alpha hydroxy acids, but also of beta hydroxy acids, polyhydroxy acids, and hyaluronic acid. 

As per the Mayo Clinic, alpha hydroxy acids are a type of chemical exfoliators that gently exfoliate dead skin cells from the surface of your skin.

I’m sure you are aware that the surface of our skin tends to accumulate dead skin cells, which makes the skin dull and patchy. AHAs work to gently exfoliate and remove this buildup and leave behind a brighter, softer looking, and feeling skin. They are also known to make your skin appear younger. That’s because exfoliating can get rid of patchy and rough skin as well as reduce the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines caused by slowing down surface skin cell renewal. 

The most common AHAs you will come across are glycolic acid, malic acid, and lactic acid. Usually, you will come across toners, serums, or moisturizers that are formulated with alpha hydroxy acids.

What You Should Know Before Using Products with Alpha Hydroxy Acids

AHAs are great exfoliators but the ones like glycolic acid are known to increase your skin’s sensitivity towards the sun. That’s why when using skincare products with alpha hydroxy acids, it’s important to take sun protection measures.

Make sure you apply an SPF 30 or higher broad-spectrum sunscreen daily and limit your exposure to the sun especially during peak times like 10 am to 2 pm. Also, cover up exposed areas by wearing long sleeves, pants, a broad-brimmed hat.

Can You Use Alpha Hydroxy Acids Every Day?

Of course yes! But then again, every skin type is different and a lot depends on the product you are using and its usage directions. People who have sensitive skin are recommended to slowly ease in AHA in their daily skincare routine or simply use it every other day. Also, AHAs are exfoliators so it’s important to remember to start off slow. Exfoliants react differently from person to person, so it’s important to see how your skin reacts to it and then increase the frequency in case your skin responds well to AHAs.

Try these Products with Alpha Hydroxy Acids

Now that you know what AHAs are and how to use them, let’s figure out how to add them to your everyday skincare routine. We have listed below some of the best products that contain glycolic acid, one type of AHA. 

1. L’Oréal Paris Revitalift Derm Intensives 10% Pure Glycolic Acid Serum

Serums are the best way to incorporate alpha hydroxy acids into your skincare routine since they tend to have higher concentrations. Formulated with 10% pure glycolic acid, this L’Oréal Paris Revitalift Derm Serum evens out skin tone, fades dark spots, and reduces wrinkles over time. Apply 4 to 5 drops every night before moisturizing. 

2. NAELI AHA/BHA Exfoliating Face Wash

With 10% glycolic acid and 1.2% salicylic + lactic acid, this NAELI Face Cleanser removes dead skin cells and smoothens skin. It helps to protect your skin from signs of aging, photoaging and promotes natural collagen production.

3. QRxLabs Glycolic Acid 20% Resurfacing Pads for Face & Body

Saturated with a solution of 20% pure glycolic acid, these pads are perfect for exfoliating your skin and reducing the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines. These pads from QRxLabs leave your skin fully hydrated and softer and smoother. But they contain a very high concentration of glycolic acid hence it’s important to do a patch test before using this product daily.

4. L’Oréal Paris Revitalift Bright Reveal Brightening Day Moisturizer SPF 30

This daytime moisturizer from L’Oreal is formulated with pro-retinol, vitamin C, and glycolic acid to moisturize your skin. Daily use will make your skin brighter as it works to get rid of dull, patchy skin. You might also want to read whether you should use hyaluronic acid and vitamin C together.

Now You Know Alpha Hydroxy Acids

Aside from these, there are so many other products with alpha hydroxy acids in the market that you can choose from. Find one that works specifically for your skin type, and you’ll be able to reap all these wonderful alpha hydroxy acids benefits. 

Recommended: Read more about hyaluronic acid for acne through another one of our articles.