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All About AHA's in Skincare - Uses, Benefits and Best Dermalogica Products

All About AHA's in Skincare - Uses, Benefits and Best Dermalogica Products

We often hear about AHA's (and BHA's too) in skincare. But what exactly are those? GLO Skin Body Founder Sarah takes you through all you need to know about AHAs - their uses, benefits, skin conditions they can help treat and the best Dermalogica products containing AHAs!

29 Sep 21

Have you ever heard of AHAs in skincare?

AHAs stand for Alpha Hydroxy Acids, a category of acids used in skincare. They are all phenomenal ingredients and a big part of the Skincare industry.

What are AHA's?

AHA's are water-soluble acids that exfoliate the top layer of your skin.

They are naturally present in certain foods like fruits, sugar cane and milk. They can also be synthetically made. AHA's are used in skincare to target a specific concern and the result is a cleaner, smoother, brighter and even younger-looking complexion.

What are the main AHA's used in Skincare?

AHA's are considered to be a chemical exfoliant, which means acids or enzymes are used to remove the dead skin cells from the surface of our skin by dissolving them.

There are six types of AHAs commonly used in skincare products. These include:

  • Glycolic acid: derived from sugar cane
  • Lactic acid: derived from milk
  • Malic acid: derived from apples and pears
  • Citric acid: derived from citrus fruits
  • Mandelic acid: derived from bitter almonds
  • Tartaric acid: derived from grapes

Exfoliating with AHAs

How do AHA's work?

Surrounding our skin cells is an intercellular glue. This glue helps holds our skin cells together. AHA's dissolves this intercellular glue to help the dead skin cells shed from the skin.

This process also encourages new skin cells to grow and increases the cell turnover in our skin.

How do AHA's benefit the skin?

Here are the many ways AHA's can help support the health of your skin:

  • Promotes collagen and blood flow
  • Helps with uneven skin tone from scars and age spots
  • Improves the appearance of surface lines and wrinkles
  • Helps clear undersurface congestion
  • Prevents acne breakouts
  • Brightens your complexion
  • Allows for better product absorption

How to use AHA's in skincare?

AHA's can be used in other products besides your exfoliant. They can come in many forms and strengths and can appear in many different products (cleansers, serums, moisturiser etc).

It's important to understand your skin and get professional advice to ensure you are using the best form of exfoliation on your skin at the best frequency.

To guide and support you, we offer Complimentary Skin Consultations - please reach out to us if you need advice.

Model applying Daily Glycolic Cleanser

Can you overuse AHA's?

Yes, we absolutely can get too excited with the results of AHAs (smooth, clear, even skin) and end up overusing them - which will then cause the opposite of what we want!

Potential signs of over exfoliated skin:

  • irritation or burning
  • dryness or flakiness
  • blotchiness and uneven skin tone
  • increased sensitivity to other products
Jason applying Invisible Physical Defense

Sunscreen is a must!

As we encourage these new healthy skin cells to the surface of the skin more efficiently, our skin needs to be protected from the harmful UV rays at all times.
Especially because AHAs can increase skin sensitivity to UV light (this is also true of BHAs).

For this reason, it is important to protect the skin from sunlight while using chemical exfoliants.

Safety precautions

As AHAs are a type of acid, there are some safety precautions people should follow while using them. For example, exfoliation is a contraindication if you are on medication like Roaccutane or if you have any infectious skin conditions, broken skin or sunburnt skin to name a few.

Our Best Dermalogica AHA-based products!

For Cleansing

  • Lactic Acid smoothes and retexturises
  • Targets concerns of ageing
  • Can be used Daily or as your skin can tolerate
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  • 3% Glycolic Acid to remove dull skin cells
  • Leaves the skin brighter and smoother
  • Calms and soothes and maintains the skins moisture barrier
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AHA's Exfoliants

  • Lactic Acid and Malic Acid break away dead skin cells for a smoother and brighter complexion
  • Activated Binchotan Charcoal adheres to skin ageing pollutants, allowing them to be easily removed from skin.
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  • Lactic Acid stimulates exfoliation
  • Prickly Pear boosts natural skin exfoliation
  • Multi-Vitamins reverse the signs of ageing
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AHA Serums

  • Gallic Acid senses an inflammatory response and activates to help soothe and appearance of redness
  • Lactic Acid improves texture and barrier protection
  • Targets Firnmess, brightness, Redness and Hydration all in one
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  • Lactic helps remove dulling dead skin cells and reveals a brighter, smoother skin
  • Firms appearance of fine lines
  • Defends the skin against free radical damage
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  • Sunscreen is a must have product for every skin, every single day of the year
  • Invisible zinc with a sheer, lightweight finish
  • Ideal for sensitive skin
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AHA's for the Body

  • Lactic Acid and Papain dissolve dead skin cells
  • Antioxidants purify, protect and brightens the skin
  • Invigorates the skin
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  • Blends of Lactic Acid, Cane Sugar and Apple smoothes and relieves dryness
  • Orange Oil and Green Tea soothe and soften the skin
  • An overall calming scent
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About the Author


My name is Sarah and I am the founder of GLO Skin Body. With over 17 years experience, I believe a professional relationship with your skin therapist is crucial in helping you to achieve your skin care goals and to ensure your skin is always looking and feeling its best. Whether it's in person or through our online support, Im here to guide and support you towards your healthiest skin ever.

On a personal note, I am a Mum of 3 so I understand completely the juggles and balancing of life and family commitments . My goal is to help everyone have an effective and enjoyable home care routine that gets you the results you want...no matter how busy you are!


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