Alpha Hydroxy acids (AHAs)

Alpha Hydroxy Acids are commonly known by their acronym AHA. AHAs are derived from plant sources and milk, the most effective being glycolic (sugar cane) and lactic acids (sour milk or molasses). Most topical applications are synthetically derived. Concentrations of 5% or more exfoliate the skin by breaking down the substance that holds cells together, sloughing away old dead skin while stimulating collagen production. Proven to be effective in treating sunspots, fine wrinkles, skin texture and acne, it is thought they work by irritating skin, which triggers a healing response. The higher the concentration the higher the irritation, with redness, stinging, peeling, blistering and sun sensitivity as known side effects. Doctors may administer acid peels in concentrations of up to 70%. There is concern that cells have a limited potential for renewal, and that over use of AHAs could be harmful. A UV sunscreen should be used in conjunction with AHA use.

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