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Franznation Blog : Franz Skincare

Alpha Hydroxy Acid Benefits and Why It’s Amazing for Your Skin

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Alpha hydroxy acid, also known as AHA, is an ingredient that shows up often on skincare labels. Maybe you’ve seen it listed on your favorite skincare product and wondered why it’s there. What does it do for your skin? What are the main benefits of alpha hydroxy acid?

We’ll answer everything you need to know below. But first, let’s talk about what precisely an alpha hydroxy acid is.

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Alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) are acids naturally found in foods and animals. They're most often used in topical skin care products.

In skincare products, there are two main types of exfoliants: physical and chemical. AHAs are chemical acid exfoliants.

The seven most common types of AHAs in skincare are:

  •  Citric acid
  •  Glycolic acid 
  •  Hydroxycaproic acid
  •   Hydroxycaprylic acid 
  •  Lactic acid
  •  Malic acid
  •  Tartaric acid

Glycolic acid, which comes from sugar cane, is most well-known in the skincare world, but you’ll often see citric acid (from citrus fruits) and lactic acid (from milk) on labels, too.

Each of these acids falls under the AHA group that comes with anti-aging benefits. Not all products with AHA disclose it on their labels, so it’s best to choose products that list the acid as an active ingredient.

What are AHAs?

Alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) are acids naturally found in foods and animals. They're most often used in topical skin care products.

In skincare products, there are two main types of exfoliants: physical and chemical. AHAs are chemical acid exfoliants.

The seven most common types of AHAs in skincare are:

  •  Citric acid
  •  Glycolic acid 
  •  Hydroxycaproic acid 
  •  Hydroxycaprylic acid 
  •  Lactic acid
  •  Malic acid
  •  Tartaric acid

Glycolic acid, which comes from sugar cane, is most well-known in the skincare world, but you’ll often see citric acid (from citrus fruits) and lactic acid (from milk) on labels, too.

Each of these acids falls under the AHA group that comes with anti-aging benefits. Not all products with AHA disclose it on their labels, so it’s best to choose products that list the acid as an active ingredient.

What are the benefits of alpha-hydroxy acid?

Alpha-hydroxy benefits are vast, especially when used in skincare products. Here are the top reasons to apply AHAs to your skin. Get ready, as the results are often exciting.

1. Shedding dead skin cells

The primary role of AHAs is exfoliation. During exfoliation, dead and dull skin cells are shed off to make room for new, healthier skin cells.

Dead skin cells build up over time, especially as we age. And when there are too many dead cells, it can lead to a dull, flat complexion.

Exfoliation is necessary for healthy skin. While removing unhealthy top layers, the process can also thicken deep skin layers to make skin firmer in a good way. Higher amounts of AHAs will have substantial exfoliating effects. It’s best to start slow and work up to more frequent exfoliation.

2. Smoothing fine lines and wrinkles (and other signs of aging)

Your skin naturally turns over skin cells to make way for healthier ones. However, it happens less as you get older or spend a lot of time in the sun. This lack of turnover can lead to wrinkles, fine lines, and other common aging signs.

AHAs can help boost the production of collagen and elastin:

  •  Collagen is the most abundant protein in your body that also helps your skin by encouraging cell renewal and keeping your skin moist.
  •  Elastin is another protein that works with collagen to keep your skin plump and elastic.

Both collagen and elastin decrease in your body over time. AHAs may help naturally increase the creation of these substances, which benefits your skin.

3. Brightening skin

You might have heard that AHA can help lighten skin — and with glycolic acid, there’s truth to that. Glycolic acid helps break down dead skin cells and reveal brighter, more youthful skin underneath. Glycolic acid is also used to lighten brown patches from a skin condition called melasma.

Some products will contain citric acid and glycolic acid for extra skin brightening.

4. Skin plumping

AHAs work by removing the upper skin layer and working on the skin underneath. For example, AHAs help promote collagen production, which gives young skin its hydrated, plumped look. The acids get rid of old collagen so that new ones can take their place.

​​5. Fading hyperpigmentation, dark spots, and scars

Hyperpigmentation is when you have patches of skin that are darker than the rest. It’s a common condition often caused by aging or sun damage. Thankfully, addressing discoloration is another of alpha-hydroxy acid’s benefits.

By now, you’ve probably gotten the idea that AHAs are near-miracle workers for turning over cells and promoting healthier skin growth. This turnover helps dark spots and other signs of damage fade away.

When applied in a cream, lotion, or chemical peel, glycolic acid and lactic acid can also help acne and acne scars.

6. Fighting and preventing acne

Do you struggle with adult acne? You’re definitely not alone, and AHAs can come to the rescue by:

  •  Removing bacteria, oil, and dead skin cells in your pores that lead to acne
  •  Decrease the size of your skin pores
  •  Prevent future clogged pores

Acne-fighting products often contain AHAs for these reasons. You might see glycolic or lactic acid for blemishes and even malic or citric acid for soothing acne-stressed skin.

Are there any side effects of using alpha-hydroxy acids?

For all of their benefits, are there are alpha-hydroxy acid side effects to be aware of? According to RxList, lotions or creams with AHA concentrations of 10 percent or less are likely safe when used correctly. Some people can experience mild irritation, itching, or redness in higher concentrations.

AHAs can also increase your sensitivity to the sun, so always wear sunscreen when using AHA products. (But also remember that wearing sunscreen is always best to protect your precious skin!)

 Overall, there are many alpha-hydroxy acid benefits for the skin, which is why these are prevalent acids found in skincare products. You can use them for everything from anti-aging effects to acne prevention.

At Franz Skincare, we love AHAs! When used appropriately, of course. That’s why we’re all about the latest innovations in preventative anti-aging and beyond. Learn more by shopping our revolutionary Microcurrent Face Masks containing our Tissue X® technology that mimics a non-invasive facelift from the comfort of home.

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