If you want to be savvy about your skin care, we have a buzzed-about ingredient that you’ll want to know about: alpha hydroxy acids, or AHAs. These skin care saviors are a group of natural acids and chemical exfoliants which, when introduced to your regular skin care routine, give you that coveted, glowing complexion. AHAs not on your radar yet? Here’s how AHAs works and why chemical exfoliation will uncover your inner radiance.
What Are AHAs? | The Different Types Of AHAs | What Do AHAs Do?
What Are AHAs?
AHAs are water-soluable molecules that work on the outer layer of the skin (the epidermis). They are a type of chemical exfoliant that loosen the bonds that hold dead skin cells in place. AHAs are ideal for treating issues that lie on the skin’s surface. They’re proven to be a better solution for more dry and mature skin types because they exfoliate while also providing moisture. Read on to find out about the different types of AHAs you can use in skin care.
Glycolic acid is a type of AHA naturally found in fruits and sugar cane. It is the most popular AHA — its small molecular size allows it to deeply penetrate into the skin, making it more effective than other acids. If you’re looking to minimize the visible signs of aging (such as fine lines and wrinkles), then glycolic acid is for you. Categorized as a humectant, glycolic acid not only exfoliates, but also attracts moisture to the skin to give you some extra hydration.
Derived from almonds, mandelic acid accelerates skin cell turnover and removes dead skin cells. This exfoliating action will leave the complexion looking far smoother than before. As Medical News Today states: “Mandelic skin eliminates damaged and older skin cells and replaces them with newer, firmer-looking skin cells.”
Malic acid is one specific type of fruit-derived AHA that you can find in pears and apples. According to Byrdie, malic acid exfoliates the top superficial layer of the skin. As a result, you’ll notice a smoother-looking texture and clearer-looking pores. Malic acid is unique in that it acts as a humectant, attracting moisture to your skin. Secondly, it has a larger molecule size, reducing its penetration into the skin. This reduced size makes it a gentler than other AHAs and ideal for those with sensitive skin.
Ferulic acid is a very powerful antioxidant that is naturally found in plants, including bran and certain fruit seeds. This acid is known for fighting against free radicals, unstable molecules that can cause damage to your skin cells. In terms of damage, picture premature aging and a loss of skin firmness. Free radicals are produced by environmental aggressors like pollution, smoking, the sun’s UV rays or a poor diet. Thankfully, ferulic acid will help neutralize free radicals if you use it in your skin care.
Lactic acid is a gentle AHA exfoliant that removes surface build-up for a brighter, smoother-looking complexion. Typically derived from milk, it can also be derived from corn starch, beets, and other sugar-rich foods. Lactic acid is used to smooth, brighten and even-out skin texture and tone. It also reduces the appearance of dark spots and smooths fine lines and wrinkles.
If you’re interested in using this ingredient, our lactic acid-powered Mangosteen Gel Moisturizer won the Allure 2021 Best of Beauty: Clean Beauty Product category for a reason! This non-comedogenic formula has a lightweight consistency to minimize the look of environmental stress, all while its lactic acid ingredient promotes a natural radiance and glow.
Tartaric acid is sourced from grapes and tamarinds, as well as wine and cream of tartar. As it’s derived from antioxidant-rich fruits, tartaric acid is a great source of antioxidants. Antioxidants help defend the skin from damage triggered by free radicals and environmental factors similar to what is listed above: UV rays, pollution, and more.
1. AHAs Gently Reveal New Skin Cells
AHAs exfoliate the uppermost layers of skin to encourage fresh, new skin cells to come to the surface. This process will reveal smoother and more youthful-looking skin as a result. By clearing away dead skin cells, new skin cells will come to the surface, making your skin appear more refreshed and youthful-looking. You’ll boost the wattage for your complexion and restore your luminosity.
Lactic acid is the most gentle of all the AHAs and safe for all skin types and skin concerns. This acid resurfaces the skin by breaking down the “glue” that binds together the dead layer and debris at the outermost layer of the skin. The acid dissolves away dead skin cells, promoting a more radiant-looking complexion. Our lactic acid ingredient is even perfect for people with sensitivity to animal products. Lactic acid is a key ingredient in our Mangosteen Collection, which features our proprietary Lactic Acid Complex. This complex is formulated to reveal your best, most luminous-looking skin. Although lactic acid is often derived from milk, the acid in our Mangosteen Collection is actually sourced from plant sugars, making every product in this collection vegan.
2. Brightens The Look Of The Skin
Exfoliation can visibly revive your skin, taking it from dull and tired to looking glowing and healthy. Experience a brighter-looking complexion using our Mangosteen Lactic Pro Peel 10% at an authorized Eminence spa. This professional peel removes surface buildup with immediate results and no downtime, even for sensitive skin. Or, if you want to go for the glow at home, try our Mangosteen Daily Resurfacing Concentrate, another great product for gently resurfacing and refining pores. The mangosteen in this leave-on concentrate promotes radiance while the Lactic Acid Complex removes and prevents buildup, refreshing the skin’s natural appearance.With lactic acid sweeping away your dead skin cells, you’ll find your complexion looks visibly brighter and your skin tone appearing more even.
3. Retains Hydration And Moisture
Some AHAs, such as glycolic acid, actually have the ability to help your skin retain moisture and add hydration. Glycolic acid has the ability to train the skin to become better at retaining its natural moisture. AHAs hydrate the skin in the short term, but dermatologists also believe that these acids enhance the skin’s moisture-retaining ability in the long-term so that the tissue maintains its soft, padded firmness.
You can soak up this extra hydration and moisture thanks to the lactic acid ingredient in our luxurious Mangosteen Replenishing Hand Cream. With each application, this silky formula gently resurfaces hands to reveal soft, youthful-looking skin and provides long-lasting hydration.
4. Reduces The Appearance Of Fine Lines And Wrinkles
Not only do AHAs improve radiance and moisture retention, they also reduces the look of fine lines and wrinkles. By resurfacing the complexion and evening out skin tone, your face will look revitalized and your skin texture refined.
You can learn more about reviving dull skin in this full guide and let us know your results in the comments or on social media.
This article was originally written in March 2018.