Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs) are natural acids found in mainly fruits and vegetables that are an absolute must-have in any skincare regime and can help you get radiant glowing skin. I remember speaking to my dermatologist Dr Hardie de Beer, who was a pioneer in his field and one of the most knowledgable dermatologists I’ve known, in my 20s who mentioned that AHAs are a great anti-ageing ingredient.
This wonderful doctor saved my skin on several occasions when others didn’t have the slightest idea what was wrong and for that, I will be forever grateful, but he sadly passed away in 2017 marking a great loss to his field!
To be honest, because Dr de Beer said so, is enough reason for me to be a lifelong fan of AHAs as he was such an incredible specialist, but you might need further convincing on the other hand.
Types of AHAs in skincare
As mentioned above most AHAs are derived from plant materials but note that Hydroxycaproic Acid (from honey), Lactic Acid (from milk) and Hydroxycaprylic Acids are not vegan, if that is a concern for you.
- Citric Acid (from citrus fruits)
- Glycolic Acid (from sugar cane)
- Lactic Acid (non-vegan, from milk)
- Tartaric Acid (from fruits)
- Hydroxycaproic Acid (from honey)
- Malic Acid (from a variety of fruits)
- Hydroxycaprylic Acid (non-vegan, from animals)
Glycolic and lactic acids are gentle on the skin and do not normally cause skin irritation. These acids act as exfoliants and facilitate the shedding process of your skin, which helps to brighten and smooth the skin. Let’s take a look at the benefits of AHAs.
1. AHAs are Excellent Natural Exfoliators
As you age the skin’s regeneration process slows down naturally, which means that dead skin cells can accumulate, leaving a dull complexion. AHAs are natural exfoliants that clear the skin of dead cells, leaving smoother, brighter and glowing skin in a more natural and sustainable way.
2. AHAs Boosts Collagen and Reduces Wrinkles and Fine Lines
Given my trusted Dr de Beer’s advice, AHAs helps to reduce fine lines and wrinkles. Studies have shown topical products containing AHAs can visibly reduce fine lines and wrinkles in just 21 days of use. AHAs also helps collagen regeneration by eliminating old collagen fibres.
3. Helps to Reduce Hyperpigmentation and Minimises Sun Damage
AHAs have been proven to lighten freckles (which I’m personally very grateful for) reduce acne scars, post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH), sunspots and other skin discolourations. Glycolic and lactic acid in particular, is great for treating hyperpigmentation and age spots.
Please note that even though AHAs have been tested and researched extensively it can still cause mild skin irritations in some people. So please be mindful when purchasing AHA containing products and discontinue use if your skin becomes irritated and inflamed.
AHA Products to Add to your Daily Routine
My favourite brand for AHAs is Ren Skincare as they have a selection of products that contain AHAs. I use both the Glycol Lactic Radiance Renewal Mask, which really does make your skin feel super smooth and soft and the Ready Steady Glow Daily AHA Tonic in my routine. Ren is a clean and cruelty-free skincare brand that I’ve been using for a few years now, note that they have been bought over by Uniliver a few years ago, but they still maintain their cruelty-free status.