We expect that by now you are well aware of your AHAs and BHAs if you are quite interested in skincare. The beloved exfoliating chemicals have become an integral part of our skincare routines. But what you probably didn’t know is that there is a third sibling to these exfoliants; Polyhydroxy Acids or PHAs are the gentler and softer-spoken brethren of AHAs and BHAs.
What Are PHAs?
Perhaps not exactly a sibling more like a cousin of AHAs and BHAs; PHAs are considered second generation AHAs and the most common ones are gluconolactone, galactose, and lactobionic acid.
What Do PHAs Do?
#1 Exfoliate surface dead skin cells
#2 Reveal a smoother skin texture
#3 Even out skin tone
#4 Help the skin to better absorb any skincare ingredients
#5 Provide our skin with important antioxidants
#6 Encourage epidermal growth and renewal
#7 Fight glycation which is a process whereby the digested sugar attaches itself to the collagen in the skin thus weakening it, as well as affecting elastin levels.
What’s The Difference Between PHAs, And Their Cousins?
PHAs’ molecules are much larger and thus cannot penetrate as deeply as AHAs and BHAs, that’s why they do their work on the surface. This is good because this means less irritation and the skin will less likely suffer from the sun’s damaging rays.
How Do I Know If PHAs Are Good For Me?
To know if PHAs are better for you than AHAs and BHAs, you will need to experiment with AHAs and BHAs. AHAs such as glycolic and lactic acids are better suited for normal and dry skin types. BHAs, where salicylic acid is the most popular form, are better suited for oilier skin as they have the ability to dissolve sebum and unclog pores. Some products mix more than one type of acid; you will probably find some PHA-based products with some AHAs mixed in with it.
The bottom line is that PHAs suit everybody especially people with sensitive skin types. They are also a better option for people with dry skin as they are considered to be homectants where they attract water and wouldn’t dry out the skin. People with rosacea or eczema can also benefit from PHAs. So here’s to another wonderful ingredient to know this year; glad to meet you PHAs!