PHA's are the best ingredient you've never heard of...
We’ve all heard of alpha and beta hydroxy acids, but the latest trend to hit the skincare market is their cousin the poly hydroxy acids. All of these acids do similar jobs, helping to exfoliate dead cells from the surface of the skin to improve radiance, but special properties of the poly hydroxy acids make them a game changer for many people.
Here is an acid breakdown…
Alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) are a group of acids that work on the surface of the skin. You have heard of many of these, including glycolic acid, lactic acid, and fruit acids. My husband tells me that glycolic acid is the smallest of the alpha hydroxy acids, making it the quickest acting and the most powerful. It is a go to ingredients for people who have dull skin, but it can be the most irritating.
Salicylic acid is the prototypical beta hydroxyacid (BHA). The structure of beta hydroxy acids make them oil soluble, which is why they are useful in treating acne. By getting into hair follicles and oil glands, they can remove excess oil and help keep your pores clear.
Now, here comes the new kid on the block. Poly hydroxy acids (PHAs) are similar to alpha hydroxy acids, but they have a much larger chemical structure. Because of this, they work more slowly and don’t penetrate as deeply into the skin. Translation - they are gentler and can be used even in people with dry or sensitive skin. Plus, as Dr. Z. explains, “They have humectant and antioxidant properties as well.“ Like alpha hydroxyacids, the PHA’s get the job done, but the work slower so they don’t cost as much irritation.
PHAs have been long used as part of K-beauty routines. Now, they making their way over to main stream skin care here in the United States. Enter the Glow Recipe Avocado Melt Sleeping Mask ($45). This little green jar just launched last week and it’s a formula ideal for people with dry for sensitive skin. If you couldn’t tolerate hydroxyacids in the past, think again.
The base is made out of soothing avocado extract along with anti-inflammatory manuka honey. It contains the PHA gluconolactone, which gives a gentle brightening effect, and it dries fully with the help of kaolin clay. (So your face does not stick to the pillow.)
Because it is so gentle and can help exfoliate and renew the skin, even if you have sensitive skin, PHAs are #TheDermWifeApproved.