AHA stands for alpha hydroxy acid. As our dermatologist explains, AHAs are a series of acids, mostly derived from plant and animal sources, although some are synthetically produced. “Well-known AHAs such as lactic acid, malic acid, citric acid, and the most famous and the most popular glycolic acid, can be found in a variety of skincare products such as toners, exfoliators, and serums,” says Dr. Ingky. Due to its small molecular size, it does two things. First of all, on the upper layer of the skin which we call the epidermis, AHA exfoliates it but after exfoliating it stimulates your skin to create a new epidermal layer in the process, which we call keratinization. AHAs are water-soluble, meaning they can’t penetrate through the skin’s natural oils. For this reason, they’re mostly used for their exfoliating properties on the skin's surface.Second, AHAs also help stimulate collagen production, making it ideal for those wanting to reduce the appearance of fine lines. AHAs do this by increasing collagen synthesis by fibroblasts, which are the collagen-producing cells in the skin. AHA is also not only great for fine lines and pigmentation, but also to help reduce inflammation especially if you have active acne as AHA will help reduce inflammation. Hence reducing the number of scars and active acne.
Now, we're going to talk about Beta Hydroxy Acids. BHA is a slightly smaller family. A popular family member of Beta Hydroxy Acid is salicylic acid. Salicylic acid and beta hydroxy acid are oil soluble. So, it's slightly different than AHA as AHA is water-soluble. Why is being oil soluble so important? It means that if you apply a product with BHA on your skin, it seeks out areas with more sebum production or with more oil. Therefore, if you have whiteheads, blackheads, sebaceous filaments or even areas with active acne, it will then act as a homing beacon for salicylic acid. The salicylic acid will move around your skin targeting those particular areas with active sebum production or active sebum reservoirs like your clogged pores. Once it gets into the pores and what does it do? It exfoliates the pores. So, you can then reduce blackheads, whiteheads, sebaceous filaments and acne. BHA is also great at killing off bacteria that cause acne because bacteria that cause acne is sensitive to salicylic acid.
So PHA, Poly Hydroxy Acid is a particular new term being coined. Poly
Hydroxy Acid was always known as an alpha hydroxy acid, so, it's a tier
of AHA. However, because of its action, PHA products or PHA chemicals are generally quite large in molecular size, and because of the large molecular size, it doesn't really penetrate deep into the skin. It only affects the epidermal layer and on its own, PHA is not great. The different types of PHA that we have is lactobionic acid and gluconolactone. Now, this particular product comes from sugar and because it comes from sugar, it doesn't really bind or absorb your skin
very well. Hence that's why a lot of products in the market especially from Korea, combine AHA with BHA and PHA as well. And once you've combined PHA with AHA and BHA, it produces a super serum or super cream. The reason is because PHA stimulates more collagen production than AHA means that it's a great anti-aging chemical. It helps reduce acne scars as well. By using a combination of AHA, BHA, and the PHA product, not only do you reduce active acne, but you also reduce the scars and pigmentation. This is why PHA is currently the rising star is in the skincare world but especially when it is combined with AHA and BHA.
If you want to know more, we are here to help you! SkynFyx is a platform that provides completely free skincare education. Feel free to contact us if you have
any inquiries in regard to skincare.