What is Alpha Hydroxy Acid?
Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs) are a class of compounds which can either be synthetic or naturally occurring. Due to their abundance, safety and effects on the skin, they are commonly used in a variety of skin care products and treatments.
What are the Different AHAs?
AHA refers to a family of compounds derived from a variety of sources. These include citric acid (citrus fruits), glycolic acid (sugar cane), lactic acid (sour milk), malic acid (apples), and tartaric acid (grapes).
How and Where is AHA Used in Skin Care?
“AHA’s are commonly used in a host of cosmetic skin treatments,” explains Dr. Miriam Hanson, dermatologist and cosmetic expert at Sanova Dermatology in Austin, Texas. Their primary function is exfoliate and improve skin tone and texture. AHA’s can smooth the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, while generally improving the overall look and feel of the patient’s skin.
“AHA can usually be found in chemical peels and other topical treatments in a dermatologist’s office, as well as in spas and some at-home kits, though usually in lower concentrations,” Dr. Hanson shares. Since AHAs generally have a very high bioavailability, they can penetrate into the deeper layers of the skin, resulting in greater effectiveness with long-lasting results.