AHAs, or alpha-hydroxy acids, are acids that are used as ingredients in skincare, that help to remove dead skin cells from the surface layer of the skin. Some of them (although not all of them) are derived from fruit, so AHAs are sometimes referred to as “fruit acids”.
What types of AHAs are there?
Glycolic acid – from sugar, or unripe grapes.
Lactic acid – from milk.
Malic acid – from apples.
- Citric acid – from citrus fruits or pineapples.
Glycolic acid and Lactic acid are probably the best known and most common AHAs.
What do AHAs do, and how do they work?
AHAs exfoliate the skin by “dissolving” the bonds between skin cells, helping your skin to shed its dead cells and revealing the fresh new cells underneath. They do not require any rubbing or abrasion to do this, as compared to facial scrubs which physically “rub” the dead cells away.
Dryness – Moisturizers do not work very well if the skin is dry because it cannot penetrate the layer of dead cells covering the top layer of skin. This dead layer can appear flaky and rough. AHAs can help to remove these dead cells so that the moisturizer can get to where it is needed, thus reducing the flaky and rough appearance of dry skin.