The Essential Skincare Alphabet, What Are AHA’s?


Welcome to my new series! The Essential Skincare Alphabet. Starting with, What Are AHA’s?

This new series is going to explore all the ingredients that make up the skincare language. Well, the current skincare language anyway.

My aim is to create my own ‘dictionary’ which will be available on Science and Skincare 24/7.

This is the first post, when I manage to make my way through the alphabet, you’ll find the finished list on my homepage.

As of right now, you’ll find these posts under my Skincare Glossary.

So, what will we cover in this series?

Well, I will attempt to cover:

  • What the ingredient is
  • Where it’s sourced from 
  • If it’s vegan 
  • It’s uses and potential side effects
  • Product recommendations

So, let’s get started.

What are AHA’s?

AHA is an acronym for Alpha Hydroxy Acids.

Alpha hydroxy acids are a class of chemical compounds that are used in the skincare industry for chemical exfolation.

Where is it sourced from?

AHA’s are both sourced from nature and synthetically formulated.

Many are derived from organic sugars, like glycolic acid (sugar cane) and lactic acid (milk).

Are AHA’s vegan?

You may have figured it out from the statement above.

Some are and some aren’t. It completely depends upon the manufacturer. If this is something you look for it is essential to ask the brand for further guidance here.

What are AHA’s uses and potential side effects?

Ask anyone in the beauty industry and they will tell you chemical exfoliation is important. It’s one of the most transformative parts of a skincare regime and AHA’s one of the best tools for this.

Chemical exfoliations key benefit is that you don’t have to use a physical exfoliant. Physical exfoliants are not great for the skin (although some people still swear by them) because they can cause micro tears.

AHA’s work on a molecular level, hence no tears. They are frequently used to reduce fine lines, dark spots and acne scars.

However, they can cause major irritation for some people. This is because of molecular size and concentration. Two things that determine how much and how well the product will penetrate the skin.

If you have sensitive skin it’s not all bad news of course! There are gentle chemical exfoliants too, which I’m sure I’ll write about in due time.

Product recommendations

I didn’t have a great deal of time to get pictures of all of these recommendations and I probably won’t for future alphabet posts either. So, I’m going to do this in a way that make’s it easiest to compare your options.

Name – Ingredients summary – Price. Does that sound good? Let me know if you’d prefer it a different way in the comments! I’ll also link most of these to Cult Beauty because they ship internationally!

Ready Steady Glow Daily AHA Tonic REN Skincare

  • alcohol-free
  • silicon-free
  • sulfate-free
  • paraben-free
  • EU-allergen-free
  • reef-safe
  • fungal-acne safe

Resist Advanced Smoothing Treatment 10% AHA Paula’s Choice

  • silicon-free
  • sulfate-free
  • paraben-free
  • oil-free
  • reef-safe

Glow Tonic Pixi Beauty

  • alcohol-free
  • silicon-free
  • sulfate-free
  • paraben-free
  • EU-allergen-free
  • reef-safe
  • fungal-acne safe

Liquid Gold Alpha-H

  • silicon-free
  • fragrance-free
  • sulfate-free
  • paraben-free
  • oil-free
  • EU-allergen-free
  • reef-safe
  • fungal-acne safe

Honeymoon Glow AHA Resurfacing Night Serum Farmacy

  • silicon-free
  • sulfate-free
  • paraben-free
  • reef-safe
  • fungal-acne safe

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