Alpha-Hydroxy Acids are some of the most widely-used and strongly supported anti-ageing agents on the market. But what are alpha-hydroxy acids? And how can alpha skincare benefit you?
Read on to learn all about alpha-hydroxy acid, how it works, and its potential benefits for your skin.
What are Alpha-Hydroxy Acids?
Alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) are acids derived from plants used in a wide variety of skincare products. AHAs are a natural way to exfoliate layers of dead skin without scrubbing.
So, how do they work? They dissolve what is keeping old, dead skin cells stuck to your epidermis. Afterwards, your skin looks much brighter.
Dermatologists also believe that they stimulate collagen and elastin production. These support your skin and improve its ability to stay moisturised, giving you softer skin.
There are several types of AHAs:
- Citric acid: It's derived from citrus fruits, like lemons and oranges. High concentrations of citric acid can exfoliate your skin, while lower amounts work as antioxidants and pH balancers.
- Glycolic acid: This acid is derived from sugarcane. It's one of the most researched and scientifically supported AHAs. It's able to exfoliate, hydrate, and improve skin firmness and resilience.
- Lactic Acid: This acid is derived from milk and is just as scientifically reputable as glycolic acid. It's a bit larger than glycolic acid, so it can't penetrate the skin quite as well. But it still exfoliates and hydrates with strong proven results.
- Malic Acid: It's derived from apples. It's larger than both glycolic and lactic acids, so it penetrates skin even less but still gets the job done. Usually, it's used as a supporting addition to other AHAs to provide several levels of exfoliation.
- Tartaric Acid: This acid is derived from grapes and red wine. Like malic acid, it's much larger than the primary AHAs and is primarily used in a mixture. It helps maintain the AHAs' pH range and provides targeted exfoliation.
Benefits of Alpha Skincare
So, what are the primary benefits and uses of alpha skincare?
As stated many times here, their primary purpose is to exfoliate your skin minus the scrubbing. As you age, more and more skin cells break down and build-up and their accumulation can dull your complexion. With exfoliation, these skin cells are shed off the surface and new skin cells can reach the surface, brightening your skin.
AHAs also promote collagen production. With age and sun exposure, collagen fibres break down, resulting in sagging skin. AHAs destroy old, defective collagen fibre to make way for new ones.
With sun exposure and age, your skin will start discolouring and producing age spots. Because AHAs promote cell turnover, they reduce skin discolouration. Your newer skin cells are evenly pigmented, thereby correcting the colour of your skin.
Thanks to their anti-inflammatory properties, AHAs also increase blood flow to your skin. This can help with dull or pale skin by making sure skin cells get the nutrients they need.
AHAs also help reduce the appearance of wrinkles and other lines. But this only works for lines on the surface, not for deeper wrinkles. For that, you'll need to get fillers.
Finally, they're also good at preventing acne or treating existing acne. Since acne occurs when your pores become clogged with dead skin cells, oil, or bacteria, exfoliation can get rid of acne by removing that clog. Acne-prone skin also tends to have enlarged pores, and AHAs reduce pore size to prevent further acne development.