Acids for Your Skin: All about AHA, BHA, and PHA

When you hear the word ‘acid’, what do you think of first? Most of us think of acids in terms of the corrosive substance found in chemistry labs or even as the annoying reflux our digestive system generates. Skincare is probably the last thing we would associate it with! But, guess what? The right kind of acids in the right proportions could potentially be your ticket to flawless skin. Tried, tested, and loved by thousands of people around the world, acids truly are the new cool kids on the skincare block.

So what kind of acids should you be applying on your skin? Organic acid groups known as Hydroxy Acids are what you should be looking for. It’s interesting to note that hydroxy acids have actually been used for centuries to promote healthy and glowing skin. From using sour milk in Egypt to old wine in France, people have unknowingly been incorporating hydroxy acids in their skincare regime. If all this is starting to sound more like a chemistry lesson than skincare advice, don’t worry, because we’ll be breaking hydroxy acids down to their absolute basics.

When it comes to hydroxy acids, there are three major groups that are popularly used in skincare: Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA), Beta Hydroxy Acid (BHA), and Poly Hydroxy Acid (PHA). The one thing all these acid groups have in common is their exfoliating property. Many of us tend to associate exfoliation with physical scrubs. The disadvantage of physical exfoliation is that it can irritate the skin and cause microtears, and even result in uneven removal of dead skin cells. Chemical exfoliants (like these superstar acids), on the other hand, work by gently melting away the dead skin cells and removing them evenly, without the need to apply any pressure on the skin.

Let’s explore what each of these acid groups consists of, their benefits, how to use them, and which skin type they’re suitable for. All the products mentioned below are available on Maccaron.

AHA

AHAs are particularly useful for those with mature skin as it stimulates the cell’s regeneration process. This helps to smooth out fine lines and wrinkles and slow down the aging process considerably.

Glycolic acid has a smaller molecular size which helps it penetrate deeply into the skin and heal sun damage and scars. Lactic acid, another AHA, works wonderfully for those who have dry skin as it helps lock moisture into the skin. It has a larger molecular size which melts away the top layer of dead skin cells without irritating the skin. Another acid from this group called Mandelic acid is ideal for those with sensitive or acne-prone skin due to its anti-inflammatory properties.

Using products containing a combination of these acids or in isolation is a great way to address your skin’s concerns. If you are using AHAs, it is absolutely essential that you use SPF during the day. We highly recommend that you use the popular COSRX AHA 7 Whitehead Power Liquid. It contains glycolic acid which encourages fast cell turnover, leading to brighter and smoother skin.

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BHA

Pro Tip: We highly recommend using AHAs and BHAs together. This killer combination will work even more effectively at combating stubborn skin concerns such as sun damage, pigmentation, acne, and clogged pores.

The Benton Aloe BHA Skin Toner contains Salicylic acid and aloe which work well to combat blackheads and breakouts while hydrating and nourishing the skin.

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If you’re looking for a product that contains both AHA and BHA, you can try the COSRX AHA/BHA Clarifying Treatment Toner. This multipurpose toner provides gentle daily exfoliation while hydrating the skin, rejuvenating it with essential nutrients, and maintaining the skin’s pH balance. You can find this toner on Maccaron as well.

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PHA

PHAs such as gluconolactone is perfect for people with dry and sensitive skin, and even for those who suffer from conditions like rosacea and eczema. It’s antioxidant properties prevent the collagen in the skin from breaking down, making it a great choice for those with mature skin as well.

In short, PHA works its magic over time, making it the perfect pick for anyone who’s looking for a gentle acid to include in their skincare routine.

We recommend that you try the COSRX PHA Moisture Renewal Cream. Formulated with 3% PHA, 50% coconut fruit extract, and 2% niacinamide, this intensely moisturizing cream will deeply hydrate the skin, prevent moisture loss, and brighten your complexion as well.

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Here are some points that you should bear in mind when you use acids in your skincare:

  • Make sure to use adequate sunscreen during the day. Hydroxy acids can make your skin more susceptible to sun damage, which could reverse all the benefits you gained from using these acids. Slather on a decent SPF every day and you’re good to go.
  • It is recommended to use acids mostly at night to let them work their magic while you sleep.
  • When you’re starting out, use acids only a few times a week. Once your skin gets used to it, you can slowly increase the frequency of usage to a feasible amount, as too much acid could dry your skin out further.

Now that you’ve got it all figured out, we bet you’re excited to get started with incorporating acids in your skincare routine too. You can find all the products that you’ll need on Maccaron. Find here the best AHA & BHA products online in India at Maccaron.

Related -: Skincare Ingredients: To Mix or Not to Mix?

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