Cosmetic Ingredients to Love: Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs)

No, fam this isn't about those Oprah moments where light bulbs go off in people's minds.

This is about exfoliation. 

AHA is an acronym for Alpha Hydroxy Acids, one of the best exfoliating ingredients in skincare.

We need to exfoliate regularly to brighten the skin by removing excess dead skin cells.

AHAs are humectant, which means they attract and hold moisture. If you have drier skin, AHAs are a gentle way to treat dark spots, uneven tone and mild acne.

Common AHAs in skincare

  1. Glycolic acid. It has the smallest molecular size and can penetrate the skin most easily. 
  2. Lactic acid is the second most popular AHA. It is recommended for sensitive skin.
  3. Mandelic acid has anti microbial properties and is the best choice if you are prone to acne. It has a large molecular structure which makes it less irritaing than glycolic acid but it takes longer to work. 

Where you can find AHAs

In toners, moisturizers, serums etc.

I like an exfoliating AHA toner like the Clarins Gentle Exfoliating Brightening Toner.  It has glycolic and salicylic acid.

You can find it in Madora Kenya.

There are plenty of other AHA recommendations on the blog. 

How to include AHAs in your skincare routine

  1. Patch test. Always, especially if you are introducing acids into your skin care routine. 
  2. After patch testing and all seems well, pace yourself. Exfoliate once or twice a week and build from there. Create an exfoliating schedule that suits your skin.
  3. Always wear SPF when using AHAs because the skin is more sensitive the sun.
  4. AHAs must be at a pH between 3 and 4. If the pH is below 3, the product is too acidic, and you’ll run the risk of chemical burns, if the pH is higher than 4, it might not work.
  5. According to the Beauty Brains, AHAs are safe at concentrations of up to 10% for over the counter consumer products. 

In Conclusion 

If you want to get rid of dark spots and uneven skin tone or have drier skin, then you may need an AHA.

Have you used an AHA before? Which one? If you don't use an AHA to exfoliate, what do you use? Let me know in the comments!

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