Even if you’re not a cosmetics expert, you are probably familiar with the notion of acids in skincare. Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs) and Beta Hydroxy Acids (BHAs), have become very popular for treating various skin concerns such as acne, fine lines and hyperpigmentation. Polyhydroxy Acid (PHA)s are the newest members of the beauty acids’ family. And you’re about to find out what makes PHAs so special.


What exactly are PHAs?

Polyhydroxy acids are a second-generation type of Alpha Hydroxy acids, which means they are also exfoliating acids. The main difference is that PHAs have larger molecules, which only target the outer layers of the skin. This means that, if your skin is too sensitive for AHAs or BHAs, Polyhydroxy Acids may be the right solution for you. The most common PHAs are gluconolactone, galactose, and lactobionic acid.


The benefits of PHAs

Despite being gentler to your skin than AHAs and BHAs, Polyhydroxy acids do share some of their qualities. They exfoliate dead skin cells for a more even skin tone and texture and also boost the efficacy of other ingredients by helping them penetrate deeper inside the skin.

The fact that they increase moisture levels for a brighter, smoother complexion, makes PHAs perfect for dry and sensitive skin. Additionally, Polyhydroxy acids have anti-inflammatory properties and help repair skin affected by dermatitis, eczema or acne scars.

PHAs also fight the aging phenomenon called glycation, a process that takes place when sugars attach to collagen molecules in your skin and weaken their structure, which results in an overall loss of firmness.


AHAs, BHAs and PHAs – a short comparison

Safety tips

Despite being gentler than “regular” exfoliating acids, PHAs should still be introduced with care in your cosmetic routine. Start with one application every two days and, depending on your skin’s response, increase the frequency up to 2 times a day. And never forget your sunscreen, to protect your youth as well as your beauty.

If you would like to try PHA products, COSRX, Benton and Some By Mi have great formulations 🙂


Beauty obsessed. Cosmetics addict. Cat person.

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