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Types of beneficial Acids (AHA, BHA, PHA)

Facial treatment using acid

If you have ageing, acne or dull skin concerns, acids are powerful ingredients that can have positive effects on your skin. We know it can be intimidating to apply it to your skin when you have no idea what the acronyms, AHA, BHA & PHA mean. And what do these acids even do for your skin? Let us decode the types of beneficial skin acids, so you can decide which one is best for your facial skincare routine.

If you’re concerned with ageing skin, AHAs might interest you. AHA (Alpha hydroxy acid) are water-soluble acids made from sugary food. It is used to exfoliate the skin, treat pigmentation, fine lines and wrinkles, enlarged pores and uneven skin tone.

The most common AHAs in skincare are glycolic acid and lactic acid. With the smallest molecular structure as compared to other acids, it can penetrate the skin more deeply. Hence, AHAs products are favoured for those with normal to dry skin.

BHA (Beta hydroxy acid) is an oil-soluble chemical exfoliant that is great for those who have oily skins and struggle with acne and blackheads. Since BHAs can be dissolved into the oil, they can work their way into blocked pores, dissolving sebum and dead skin cells that are clogging up your skin. The most common BHA is salicylic acid.

With their anti-inflammatory properties, BHAs can also soothe breakouts and diminish redness without stripping the skin’s essential oil.

A second-generation of AHAs, PHAs are chemical exfoliants that remove your dead skin cells and even out skin tone and texture. The most common PHAs are gluconolactone, galactose and lactobionic acid. With its gentle properties, it is suitable for those with sensitive skin or those who have experienced an adverse reaction to AHAs and BHA previously.

Since PHA contains larger molecule sizes than AHAs and BHAs, it is only able to penetrate the skin on a surface level, making them ideal for any skin types. Other benefits include preventing glycation, rich in antioxidants and stimulate epidermal growth and repair.

Retinoic Acid
A holy grail sworn by dermatologists and skin experts, Retinol acid has a wide range of benefits. It is a multi-functional ingredient that restores the skin, smoothes wrinkles, works as an antioxidant to improve a vast range of skin concerns and slows down signs of ageing.

However, it is important to note that it’s best to introduce retinol into your daily skincare routine slowly. Your skin has to build up a tolerance to prevent unwanted side effects so you could start off limiting your usage to once or twice a week. We suggest applying a pea-sized amount of retinol to clean and dry skin at night and waiting at least 30 minutes before applying other skincare products.

Have burning questions you’d like to ask us on your skincare routine? DM us on Instagram, or WhatsApp us at 9026 2027.


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