When it comes to refreshing and rejuvenating the complexion, one ingredient that has recently taken the spotlight is Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs).
AHAs are nature’s gentle exfoliators, working to improve skin tone and texture by removing dead skin cells and stimulating skin renewal. They can offer a range of benefits from improved hydration to sun damage repair and brightening.
In this blog, we will explore what Alpha Hydroxy Acids are, how to use them, and which product we recommend to get the optimal benefits from these amazing compounds.
What are Alpha Hydroxy Acids in skincare?
AHAs are water-soluble acids that are used in skincare to provide exfoliating and rejuvenating effects.
Though the word acid might sound intimidating, don’t worry - these aren’t the skin-stripping substances you might be imagining. AHAs are derived from all-natural sources such as sugar, fruit, and milk. As natural extracts, they are gentle and highly compatible with the skin. The precise effect of an AHA can vary depending on which natural substance it is derived from.
How do Alpha Hydroxy Acids work in skincare?
Dullness, congestion and poor complexion are often caused by a build-up of dead skin cells. This accumulation of debris on the epidermis often worsens as we age.
AHAs work by accelerating the process of shedding dead skin cells so that new, healthy cells can replace them. This process is known as exfoliation.
There are two types of exfoliation: physical and chemical. Most people think of physical scrubs when they think of exfoliation, but it can be easy to overdo it with such scrubs, potentially leading to over-exfoliation, sensitivity and dryness.
Chemical exfoliants work by dissolving the bonds between dead skin cells. Among chemical exfoliants, AHAs are considered to be some of the gentlest available. The benefits of AHAs include:
- Improved texture: regular use can lead to a softer and more even complexion.
- Brightening: removing debris promotes a brighter and more refreshed complexion.
- Addressing pigmentation: when used in conjunction with SPF, AHAs can address pigmentation and uneven skin tone associated with sun damage.
- Addressing fine lines: AHAs stimulate skin cell turnover to promote a rejuvenated appearance.
- Hydration: AHAs can attract moisture to the skin’s surface to keep you hydrated for longer.
- Addressing pore visibility: AHAs help to unclog pores by removing buildup on the epidermis.
Who can use Alpha Hydroxy Acids?
AHAs can be used by a wide range of skin types and conditions. They are particularly recommended for dry to normal and oily skin, as well as mature skin types to provide necessary exfoliation.
AHAs may be used with caution by sensitive skin types. As always, patch test before you use AHAs and be sure to use a product like our Quiet Achiever that has been specially formulated to be as gentle as possible.
How to incorporate AHAs into your skincare regimen
If you’re looking to include AHAs in your regimen, we recommend using Quiet Achiever, our leave-on exfoliating gel.
This product uses an AHA Botanical Complex to provide exfoliation to the skin. The complex is comprised of five different kinds of Alpha Hydroxy Acids derived from different botanical sources: Bilberry, Sugar Cane, Sugar Maple, Orange and Lemon.
This formulation is less irritating than traditional AHA products. Quiet Achiever has even been independently verified as suitable for sensitive skin by a world-leading skincare laboratory in Europe, making it suitable for all skin types. As a leave-on gel, there is also no chance of accidentally over-exfoliating your skin. Unlike other exfoliants that must be washed off after a certain amount of time, ours is meant to stay on. The AHA Botanical Complex self-neutralises after a set amount of time, allowing for optimal exfoliation without you needing to worry about timing.
Another advantage of leave-on exfoliation is that the AHAs can be blended with other ingredients to provide additional skin benefits. Quiet Achiever contains a luxurious blend of Hyaluronic Acid, Panthenol, and Shorea and Muru Muru Butters for slow-release hydration, giving you all the benefits of exfoliation and deep hydration in one handy product.
Here’s how to include Quiet Achiever in your regimen so you can get the benefits of AHAs:
- Start slow – depending on your skin type and aims, you may need more or less exfoliation than others. For instance, mature or oily skin generally benefits from frequent exfoliation, while sensitive skin may only require exfoliation once a week. Start by applying Quiet Achiever every third day, then adjust the frequency as you see fit, remembering that Quiet Achiever should be used once per day at most.
- Check the other products in your regimen – It is recommended that you don’t apply AHAs with either retinol or Vitamin C as there is a chance this can cause irritation. However, these ingredients can complement each other if you plan your regimen wisely. As you only need to use Quiet Achiever once a day at most, try alternating between using it in the morning and then applying a Vitamin C product like Bright Star or a retinol product like Dream Team in the evening.
- Wear sunscreen – AHAs have the potential to increase sensitivity to sunlight. Be sure to apply a good SPF like our Superstar every morning.
- Layering order – skincare products should always be applied thinnest to thickest, with oil-based products layered on top of water-based products. Quiet Achiever should be applied after your serums but before any moisturisers.
For more tips on how to incorporate AHAs into your regimen, feel free to reach out to us and our friendly dermal clinicians will be happy to assist. Simply visit here to book a consult. Alternatively, you can take our Skin Quiz at libertybellerx.com.au.