• 22 Jul - 28 Jul, 2023
  • Mag The Weekly
  • Beauty

Let's talk about acid – we're talking about the ones that take your skin to a higher, brighter level: alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs). This group of exfoliating acids is most commonly known for being part of the not-so-secret sauce found in chemical peels. But as their popularity grew, these intensive ingredients have found their way into our favourite topicals and at-home treatments.

What are alpha hydroxy acids?

According to Orit Markowitz, certified dermatologist and founder of OptiSkin, AHAs are derived from sugarcane or other plant sources (think citric acid), which is what makes them different from their oily-skin-conducive counterparts, beta hydroxy acids (BHA), and gentler, sensitive-skin-friendly polyhydroxy acids (PHAs). The most common AHA in skin-care products is glycolic acid, the most intensive under the AHA umbrella, and lactic acid.

What are the skin-care benefits of alpha hydroxy acids?

Dr. Markowitz says that AHAs have the ability to target the superficial layer of skin, therefore creating a smoother complexion with a more even skin tone. Board-certified dermatologist Morgan Rabach, notes that AHAs remove the outer layer of dead and damaged skin on your face, revealing softer and brighter skin. "AHAs help even out skin pigmentation irregularities from melasma and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation," she noted. Alpha hydroxy acids can also stimulate your face's production of skin-firming collagen, which diminishes the look of fine lines in the process. The skin-care benefits from alpha hydroxy acids are bountiful but the dermatology experts also highlighted that this particular group of active ingredients can cause your skin to feel a little more sensitive than usual, especially pertaining to sun exposure. So when first using AHA products, try incorporating them into your routine at night, and use sunscreen during the day to protect your pores from sun damage. Now that you're finished with your crash course on alpha hydroxy acids, take a look at the skin-care treatments filled with these potent exfoliating ingredients.

Hyper Skin Even Fade and Glow AHA Mask

Manifest your glowiest skin yet with the Hyper Skin Even Fade and Glow AHA Mask. This contains glycolic and mandelic acids, two AHAs known for their complexion-evening properties. As if that's not enough, this formula is also spiked with niacinamide to further brighten your complexion and even tone.

Tula Get Toned Pro-Glycolic 10% Resurfacing Toner

Tula's Get Toned Pro-Glycolic 10% Resurfacing Toner is an alcohol-free daily toner that exfoliate, hydrate, and firm all at once. The formula contains 10 per cent glycolic acid, but its potent formula is also infused with moisture-retaining hyaluronic acid to plump skin. This toner also has the anti-inflammatory benefits of probiotics, plus snow mushroom for added moisture.

Biossance Squalane + Lactic Acid Resurfacing Night Serum

Smoother, brighter skin is much more attainable, thanks to Biossance's Squalane + Lactic Acid Resurfacing Night Serum. This exfoliating formula includes a gentler AHA, lactic acid, and squalane, known for its skin-conditioning properties. It provides all of the same texture-refining benefits as stronger alpha hydroxy acids without an increased risk of irritation.

Ole Henriksen Dewtopia 20% Acid Night Treatment

If dark spots are your concern, allow us to introduce you to this potent overnight serum from Ole Henriksen. The Dewtopia 20% Acid Night Treatment has become a favourite for its creamy texture and blend of brightening and firming alpha hydroxy and polyhydroxy acids. It also features licorice root extract, which has anti-inflammatory and hyperpigmentation-fading abilities.

First Aid Beauty KP Bump Eraser Body Scrub

If you're a fan of physical exfoliants, First Aid Beauty's KP Bump Eraser Body Scrub should be on the top of your list. This body exfoliant was specially made for treating keratosis pilaris, also known as those little acne-like bumps you may feel on areas like the back of your arms. It includes glycolic and lactic acid to decongest pores and remove dead skin cells, excess oil, and keratin buildup – revealing a smoother, softer, and suppler feel.