Your Ultimate Guide to Polyhydroxy Acids

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If you love to keep yourself on top of the skincare game, then you are at the right place. We make sure that you are always updated with the latest trending skincare ingredients and one ingredient that has been buzzing this year is Polyhydroxy Acids, more commonly known as PHAs.

What is polyhydroxy acid? If you’re not yet familiar with this popular acid and want to find out whether you need it in your skincare routine then continue reading. We will be sharing everything you need to know about polyhydroxy acids.

What is Polyhydroxy Acid?

It’s more likely that you are already using two acids — alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) and beta hydroxy acids (BHAs) in your skincare routine. Polyhydroxy acids or PHAs are actually quite similar to AHAs.

According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), PHAs are a new type of AHA. They were discovered to deliver the same benefits as other alpha hydroxy acids but without the skin irritation or inflammation that can be sometimes caused by AHAs.

In fact, studies have revealed that polyhydroxy acids are compatible with sensitive skin types like atopic dermatitis and rosacea. They are also ideal for use post-cosmetic procedures. PHAs have quite a few benefits thanks to their calming skin properties, which is why they are one of the trending ingredients in the skincare community.

Benefits of Polyhydroxy Acids

Polyhydroxy acids have a range of benefits when used in the everyday skincare routine. We have mentioned some of the most popular benefits below.

1. Moisturization

Polyhydroxy acids have skin moisturization properties. A study conducted by NCBI found that PHAs provide more moisturization and humectant – the property to retain or lock in moisture – as compared to AHAs.

2. Decreases fine lines and wrinkles

Yes, it’s a fact that aging is a part of life that cannot be avoided but we all want to delay the process as far as possible. Who doesn’t dread the thought of wrinkles and fine lines appearing on the face, right? Here is where polyhydroxy acids can be your best friend. As per studies from the Mayo Clinic, PHAs have the capability of effectively reducing the appearance of premature aging like fine lines and wrinkles.

3. Combats acne

Acne can be stubborn and annoying. And if you are someone who struggles with adult acne then make sure you give this trending ingredient a shot. Studies reveal that using skincare products with polyhydroxy acids in combination with retinoic acid can help treat adult facial acne.

If you are considering other ingredients for your breakouts, you may also want to read our article to know whether hyaluronic acid is good for acne.

4. Reduces photoaging

If you are already familiar with the effects of photoaging then great, but if you are new to the term then allow us to help you here. Photoaging differs from normal aging. It is a result of your skin’s continuous exposure to harmful ultraviolet rays. The NCBI in its study found that skincare products containing polyhydroxy acids can reduce the signs of photoaging in a range of populations. Moreover, a separate study from them also showed that gluconolactone, which is a type of PHA, can help protect your skin from UV rays.

But please note that although PHAs can work on photoaging and reduce the damage caused by UV rays, they CANNOT be a replacement for your sunscreen! Sunscreens are a must to protect yourself from harmful UVA and UVB rays. Make sure you use a broad-spectrum sunscreen at all times and avoid stepping out in the sun for long durations during peak sun hours.

5. Smoothens skin

Like you might already know, AHAs are chemical exfoliators, and since PHA is a type of AHA it also works as an excellent chemical exfoliator. When used in cream with pro-vitamin A, polyhydroxy acids provide a plumping effect and leave behind smooth, baby soft skin.

Using Polyhydroxy Acids in Your Skincare Routine

Now that you have found out what is polyhydroxy acid and have known all about the wonderful benefits of PHAs, you might be wondering how to go about incorporating them into your skincare routine.

Just like AHAs, polyhydroxy acids can be used in various skincare products like face serums, toners, or moisturizers. So, the next time you are shopping for a new toner or serum, just check for the ones that contain this latest ingredient. But like any other skincare product, make sure you layer it properly to reap all of its benefits!