What Are Alpha Hydroxy Acids?

When you’re putting together a skin care routine, chances are you may come across a word or two on the label of a skin care product that you just might not know the meaning of. And if you’ve ever seen a skin care product like a serum or moisturizer formulated with alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs for short), you might be curious as to what this ingredient is. Well, we’re here to fill you in on exactly that! Keep reading to learn all about AHAs and how to incorporate them into your skin care routine.

What Are Alpha Hydroxy Acids?

According to the Mayo Clinic, AHAs are a substance that can help exfoliate dead skin cells from the surface of your skin. Dead skin cells can accumulate on the surface of your skin, causing your skin to appear dull. AHAs can help remove this buildup from the surface of your skin, leaving you with a brighter look. According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), AHAs can also contribute to the appearance of younger-looking skin. That’s because exfoliating skin’s surface can help reduce the look of rough texture as well as diminish the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles caused by the slow down of surface skin cell renewal that can happen as you age. Some of the most common AHAs are glycolic acid, lactic acid, and malic acid. You can find these AHAs in a variety of different skin care product formulas, including moisturizers.

What Should You Know Before Using Alpha Hydroxy Acids?

AHAs such as glycolic acid can increase your skin’s sensitivity to the sun. That means that it’s important to make sure you’re taking sun protection measures if you’re using skin care products formulated with AHAs. Those include applying a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher daily as directed, limiting your amount of time in the sun (especially between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., which are the sun’s peak hours), seeking shade when you’re outside, and covering up exposed areas in long sleeves, pants, a broad-brimmed hat, and UV-blocking sunglasses.

How Can You Add Alpha Hydroxy Acids to Your Skin Care Routine?

Now that you know what AHAs are, let’s get into how to add them to your skin care routine. The following skin care products are formulated with one such AHA, glycolic acid. Remember to take sun protection measures when you’re using any of these skin care products.

L’Oréal Paris RevitaLift Bright Reveal Brightening Daily Scrub Cleanser: This daily scrub facial cleanser is formulated with glycolic acid and gentle micro-pearls to exfoliate dullness and impurities from the surface of skin. Immediately, skin looks brighter, while skin tone appears more even with continued use over time. Every morning and evening, lather the facial cleanser into wet hands and gently massage it onto your skin in circular motions, then rinse thoroughly and pat dry.

L’Oréal Paris RevitaLift Bright Reveal Brightening Daily Peel Pads: Formulated with glycolic acid, these multi-ply textured pads physically resurface dead skin cells from the surface of skin. Immediately, skin looks brighter and skin feels softer, while skin tone is more even and texture more refined with continued use over time. Use nightly on clean skin by gently applying a peel pad in a circular motion over your face.

L’Oréal Paris RevitaLift Bright Reveal Brightening Dual Overnight Moisturizer: This dual-action moisturizer features an exfoliating concentrate formulated with glycolic acid in one chamber and a brightening infusion formulated with vitamin C and pro-retinol in the other. This deeply hydrating overnight moisturizer glides onto skin and absorbs quickly. Every night, smooth the moisturizer gently over cleansed skin. Immediately, skin looks more radiant and feels hydrated, while skin tone looks more even and the appearance of dark spots is diminished with continued use over time.

L’Oréal Paris RevitaLift Bright Reveal Brightening Day Moisturizer SPF 30: Formulated with glycolic acid, pro-retinol, and vitamin C, this daytime moisturizer immediately makes skin appear brighter, while dull, uneven skin tone is renewed with continued use over time.

For more AHA-specific info, head on over to our article, The Beauty Benefits of Glycolic Acid, next.