Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs): Everything you need to know and product recommendations from real users

Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs)

Alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) are a class of chemical compounds that are widely used in skincare products. Known for their exfoliating and rejuvenating properties, AHAs are naturally occurring acids derived from various fruits, milk and sugar cane. They work by dissolving the intercellular glue that holds dead skin cells together, thereby facilitating their removal and revealing smoother, brighter, and more youthful-looking skin.

Most common Alpha Hydroxy Acids 

The most common AHAs used in skincare products are glycolic acid, lactic acid, citric acid and malic acid. 

  • Glycolic acid, derived from sugar cane, is the most widely used AHA. Its ability to penetrate deeply into the skin is due to its small molecular size
  • Lactic acid, derived from milk, is gentler and better suited for sensitive skin types
  • Citric acid, derived from citrus fruits, is also a mild AHA that helps brighten dull skin
  • Malic acid, derived from apples, has antioxidant properties that help protect the skin from environmental damage

Who should use Alpha Hydroxy Acid products? 

Alpha Hydroxy Acids are typically found in cleansers, toners, serums and moisturizers. They are especially beneficial for those with dry, sun-damaged, or aging skin as they help to stimulate collagen production and improve skin texture. AHAs can also help reduce the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles and hyperpigmentation.

Things to know before you start using Alpha Hydroxy Acid

  1. AHAs can make the skin more sensitive to the sun, so it’s essential to use sunscreen when using products containing AHAs
  2. AHAs can cause some skin irritation, especially if used in high concentrations or on sensitive skin
  3. It’s best to start with a low concentration of Alpha Hydroxy Acids and gradually increase over time to minimize the risk of irritation

AHA products to include in your skincare

Alpha Hydroxy Acids are a powerful skincare ingredient that can help improve skin texture, tone, and overall appearance. They are safe and effective when used properly and can be a great addition to any skincare routine. However, as with any skincare product, it’s important to consult with a dermatologist or skincare professional before starting to use AHAs, especially if you have sensitive skin.

Here are some tried and tested products that you can use: 

1. Hada Labo AHA/BHA Exfoliating Face Wash

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Hada Labo AHA/BHA Exfoliating Face Wash is a gentle and effective cleanser that contains AHAs and BHAs to exfoliate and improve skin texture. It helps to unclog pores, remove dead skin cells, and leave the skin feeling smooth and refreshed.

@Chantelle31 reviewed that This cleanser is the most effective cleanser, without feeling like the skin on my face has 1 layer being forcefully stripped away. For the price you pay, a small amount really does go a long way”.


2. Cosrx AHA 7 Whitehead Powder Liquid

<yoastmark class=Cosrx AHA 7 Whitehead Power Liquid is a potent exfoliating solution that contains 7% glycolic acid to improve skin texture and reduce the appearance of whiteheads and blackheads. It also contains niacinamide to brighten the skin and promote an even skin tone.

@Enamariesalalila had little bumps on her forehead and around her eye area, which is why she decided to buy this one. She reviewed that “first two weeks of using it (2-3 times a week), I already noticed that the bumps were lessened. It exfoliates my skin but doesn’t leave my skin dry. I love how it quickly absorbs by my skin without a sticky feeling. This is best for dry skin”.


3. Olay Luminous Niacinamide + AHA Cream

Olay Luminous Niacinamide + AHA Cream

It is a lightweight moisturizer that contains niacinamide and Alpha Hydroxy Acids to brighten and exfoliate the skin. It also helps to improve skin texture, reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, and promote a more even skin tone.

@Joylineses08, a member from the Phillippines highly recommends it as she reviewed that “the consistency it is not too creamy nor not too watery thus, it is easily absorbed by the skin”. To add further, she mentioned that “after a few days of usage I saw [that] my my new pimple mark lightened”.


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