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AHA, BHA, PHA

Hi Dermalovers! We often hear about about AHA, BHA, and PHA in various skin care and cosmetic products. Do you know all the differences amongst them? Come on, let's discuss them one by one!

AHA, BHA, and PHA are three types of hydroxy acids (hydroxy acids) which are widely used as ingredients for beauty products, skin care, and cosmetics. Even though they are acid-based, these three substances are formed naturally and tend to be safe for use on the skin. The function of AHA, BHA, and PHA is as an effective exfoliating agent. These three ingredients are also used to remove dead skin cells, regenerate skin, and brighten skin. Even so, the three types of hydroxy acids have different properties, types, and ways of application. What are the differences between AHA, BHA and PHA?


1. What is AHA ((Alpha Hydroxy Acid)?

AHA is a type of hydroxy acid which dissolves in water and is found naturally from the processing of animals and plants. AHA is a skin exfoliating agent that is effective for removing dead skin cells that cause dull skin, brightens the skin, and also has anti-aging and antioxidant properties so that it can reduce fine lines, wrinkles or wrinkles. Another functions of AHA include moisturizing the skin, controlling sebum production, shrinking pores, fading scars, hydrating the skin, and treating mild hyperpigmentation.

AHA is considered suitable for all skin types. However, be careful when using them if you have very dry or sensitive skin. Given its quite irritating nature, it is advisable to use skin care products that contain less than 10 percent of AHA concentration.


AHA ingredients in skin care can be found in the form of:

  • Citric Acid (from oranges)

  • Glycolic Acid (from sugarcane)

  • Hydroxycaproic Acid (from royal jelly)

  • Hydroxycaprylic Acid (from animal)

  • Lactic Acid (from carbohydrate)

  • Malic Acid (from fruits)

  • Tartaric Acid (from grapes)

From the seven types of AHAs that are commonly used, Glycolic Acid and Lactic Acid are the most popular because they rarely irritate. In its use, the use of AHA for beginners should be done every day, this will help our skin get used to chemical peeling, thereby reducing the risk of irritation and other side effects on the skin.


Another important thing that needs to be considered is not forgetting to use sunscreen because the active ingredients AHA can increase the sensitivity of sunlight to the skin, therefore the skin still needs to be protected.


2. What is BHA (Beta Hydroxy Acid)?

BHA is a type of oil-soluble hydroxy acid found naturally in willow, wintergreen oil, and cinnamon. Salicylic acid as a source of BHA is often marketed as an acne medication. The BHA content can penetrate deeper into the skin pores, making it more effective to exfoliate dead skin cells. Products with BHA are better suited for those with acne, blackheads, or milia. BHA content can also clean sebum, reduce excess oil production, overcome skin inflammation, and cleanse the skin.

The concentration of BHA in each care product varies, so beginners should use BHA at least once a week by applying it or gently rubbing it on their face to reduce the risk of mild irritation.


3. What is PHA (Poly Hydroxy Acid)?

Poly Hydroxy Acids are the last family of hydroxy acids with a larger molecular structure than Alpha Hydroxy Acids. PHA has the mildest form of acid and focuses on cleaning dead skin cells on the skin's surface. PHA content can clean the skin without irritation so it is suitable for dry skin or sensitive skin types.

PHA can also provide antioxidant intake to increase collagen in facial skin thereby reducing the aging process. In addition, PHA contains moisturizing elements that can prevent dry skin. Several types of PHA that can be found are gluconolactone, galactose, and lactobionic acids. Among the three, gluconolactone is the most common type of PHA found in skin care products.

The use of PHA can be done every day so that the skin is more accustomed to it. The PHA content which moisturizes is good if used every day as a moisturizer. PHA can be found in the products we use every day, such as toners, cleansers, and cream moisturizers. Also make sure you keep covering your face with sunscreen after using PHA.

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