AHAs mean alpha-hydroxy acids. They have become increasingly popular over the last 20 years. In the United States alone, there are over 200 makers of skin care products containing AHAs.
AHA is a group of natural acids found in food items. It includes citric acid (found in citrus fruits such as oranges), glycolic acid (found in sugarcane), lactic acid (found in sour milk and tomato juice), malic acid (found in apples), tartaric acid (found in grapes), and others.
AHA is most commonly used for skin conditions such as wrinkles, dry skin, aging skin, or acne. Not all cosmetics that contain AHA have concentration information on the label. For your safety, it’s best to use products that identify the concentration of active ingredients. If you’re unsure which skincare products are right for you, consult your dermatologist.
How does AHA work?
Alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) work by removing the outer layer of the dead skin cells. This process is called chemical exfoliation. AHAs penetrate the deeper skin layers and promote skin firmness. Cosmetic products such as creams and lotion containing AHAs may help with fine lines, irregular pigmentations, or age spots.
Cosmetics with a low concentration of AHA up to 10% will generally not cause any side effects such as skin irritation, but prudence is advised. The skin requires time to get used to skincare products. Therefore, a patch test is recommended 24 hours before applying AHA for the first time. You can start with alternate day application and then proceed to use it every day. Do not apply too close to the eyes and lips. Make sure you use good sunscreen lotion because AHA may make the skin sensitive to the sun.
What are the benefits of AHA?
Cosmetic products containing alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) are effective for treating skin conditions such as:
- Skin aging: The application of lotion, creams, or skin peels containing AHAs along with lactic acid, citric acid, mandelic acid, or glycolic acid in concentrations up to 25% can lower wrinkles and sun damage or aging signs. They rejuvenate photoaged skin if used daily. Peels are usually recommended to be used every 2-4 weeks.
- Dry skin: Creams and lotion containing 12% lactic acid, a specific AHA, can improve dry skin issues if used twice daily.
- Acne: Solutions, lotion, or creams containing AHAs such as glycolic acid, malic acid, or citric acid can reduce the signs of acne in teenagers and adults. A peel containing 40% glycolic acid is useful after every 2-week interval but only under medical supervision.
- Acne scars: Applying facial peels or lotion containing AHAs can improve the appearance of acne scars.
- Dark skin patches on your face known as melasma: Applying 10% glycolic acid as a lotion for 2 weeks followed by a facial peeling program using 50% glycolic acid every month for 3 consecutive months reduces unwanted skin coloration in people with epidermal-type and mixed-type melisma. Applying a peel containing 30% glycolic acid as part of a program also involving laser treatment appears to be better than just the laser treatment for reducing the unwanted skin coloration of mixed-type melasma.
What are the side effects?
Mostly, skin application of alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) with 10% or less concentration is likely safe when used and applied as per the given directions. However, some people may have extra sensitivity to sunlight after using it. Therefore, sunscreen lotion should be applied along with AHA skin creams or lotion to avoid mild skin irritation, redness, swelling, itching, and skin discoloration. It is better if you can use it in the morning. AHA creams with a 10% concentration or less are likely safe to apply to the skin during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
For some people, AHAs may cause acne, so it is advised to mix up AHA and beta hydroxy acid containing serums.
Top What Is AHA for Skin? Related Articles
Your Guide to Anti-Aging Skin Care EssentialsSome of the most important tricks in the fight against aging come down to the basics. Learn how washing and moisturizing your skin and other skin care can help you age more gracefully.
Baby Skin Care: Tips to Keep Newborn’s Skin HealthyBaby skin care products can help with peeling, rashes, baby acne, and dryness that can develop on a newborn baby's skin. Develop a baby skin care routine to pamper your baby’s skin.
Health and Beauty: Skin Care Products That May Not WorkWe're all looking for products to help our skin. Here are some things you may want to stay away from.
Common Medical Abbreviations & Terms
Doctors, pharmacists, and other health-care professionals use abbreviations, acronyms, and other terminology for instructions and information in regard to a patient's health condition, prescription drugs they are to take, or medical procedures that have been ordered. There is no approved this list of common medical abbreviations, acronyms, and terminology used by doctors and other health- care professionals. You can use this list of medical abbreviations and acronyms written by our doctors the next time you can't understand what is on your prescription package, blood test results, or medical procedure orders. Examples include:
- ANED: Alive no evidence of disease. The patient arrived in the ER alive with no evidence of disease.
- ARF: Acute renal (kidney) failure
- cap: Capsule.
- CPAP: Continuous positive airway pressure. A treatment for sleep apnea.
- DJD: Degenerative joint disease. Another term for osteoarthritis.
- DM: Diabetes mellitus. Type 1 and type 2 diabetes
- HA: Headache
- IBD: Inflammatory bowel disease. A name for two disorders of the gastrointestinal (BI) tract, Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis
- JT: Joint
- N/V: Nausea or vomiting.
- p.o.: By mouth. From the Latin terminology per os.
- q.i.d.: Four times daily. As in taking a medicine four times daily.
- RA: Rheumatoid arthritis
- SOB: Shortness of breath.
- T: Temperature. Temperature is recorded as part of the physical examination. It is one of the "vital signs."
How Can I Make My Face Glow Naturally? 15 Skincare TipsEach of us secretly desires a glowing face. It is not surprising that the market is flooded with cosmetics claiming to make your skin glow. Healthy and glowing skin is not an overnight effect but a result of daily persistent efforts.
How Do I Start a Skincare Routine?To start a skin routine, it is essential to know the type of your skin. It is also necessary to know what suits your skin the best. Based on these, one can formulate a good skincare routine. Include plenty of fresh fruits, complex carbs (muesli, oats, millets), and nuts in your diet for healthy skin.
See How Your Life Affects Your SkinSee how your life affects your skin. The choices you make every day affect the appearance of your skin. Learn how to avoid dry skin and wrinkles and to keep your skin healthy with these helpful beauty tips.