Alpha hydroxy acids or AHAs are truly the alphas of all acids thanks to their brightening, smoothing, and resurfacing powers. Get to know your glycolic acid from your lactic acid with our expert advice and find out which are right for your skin type and goals.
AHAs or alpha hydroxy acids are used across all skincare products. From cleansers to moisturizers, peels to serums, AHA skincare is so popular, because it's so effective. AHAs we love to use include vegan lactic acid, glycolic acid, malic acid, mandelic acid, and tartaric acid. Not to be confused with BHAs which are beta hydroxy acids like salicylic acids, AHAs work quite differently, targeting dull, lackluster skin, and improving the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Exfoliation helps remove that layer of dead skin cells on the skin's surface, to reveal brighter, more glowing skin. It also helps with reducing the appearance of wrinkles, fine lines, age spots, and blemishes. Not all AHAs are created equal. For example glycolic acid has the smallest molecule size of the AHAs so that means it’s highly effective in penetrating the skin deeper than its fellow acids to deliver its smoothing benefits. It’s also particularly effective for oily and acne-prone skin as it helps remove dead cells that can lead to blocked pores and trapped bacteria. Lactic acid on the other hand helps improve skin’s moisture levels, and can support with firming too. And, while rinse-off products such as AHA cleansers are great for short contact treatments—these are better for more sensitive complexions, for a lasting glow, give AHAs a little longer to work their magic via serums and moisturizers.