Why AHAs Are Important in Anti-Aging Skincare!

Hi everyone!  How was your weekend?  My week is off to a great start.  I was able to attend a special event at the International Dermal Institute headed by Jane Wurwand who is the founder of Dermalogica.  Such an amazing and inspirational woman!  Her motivational speech was beyond fantastic and she has a lovely sense of humor and heart.  Also, I found out I won the giveaway hosted by Maiko from SkinConciergeMaiko! Yay!  Check out her blog for other awesome reviews and tips. 🙂

Alright, enough about that.  Let’s get right to the topic of today’s post which is alpha hydroxy acids or AHAs.

What are Alpha Hydroxy Acids?

Technically speaking, alpha hydroxy acids “are a group of water-soluble carboxylic acids that work to release the desmosomes that hold skin cells together.”  Hmmm. I fear I lost you guys. 🙂 In plain English, they are naturally occurring mild acids used as chemical exfoliants that help shed off dead skin cells.  They are hydrophilic (attracted to water) and are pH dependent meaning they require a lower pH to be effective.

Why are they Beneficial?

AHAs are highly coveted and present in many anti-aging products/treatments for the following reasons:

  • Allows for easier exfoliation
  • Increased cell turnover (hello glowing skin)
  • Stimulate fibroblasts to produce collagen and elastin (something that decreases over time)
  • Firm the skin
  • Smooth and improve skin texture
  • Reduce lines and pigmentation
  • Leads to a more youthful appearance and feel
  • Increase ceramides (hydration)

*Note: Overly and aggressively exfoliating the skin can result in sensitive itchy red skin.

What are the Different Types of Alpha Hydroxy Acids?

  • Lactic acid– derived from milk
  • Glycolic acid-derived from sugar
  • Citric acid- derived from citrus fruits
  • Tartaric acid- derived from grapes
  • Mandelic acid- derived from bitter almonds
  • Malic acid- derived from sour apples

*A special note on AHAs:  Overly and aggressively exfoliating the skin, with or without AHAs can result in sensitive itchy red skin.  Also, when using AHAs, you’re more sensitive to the sun and more prone to burning so sunscreen is crucial! 

I hope you found this information helpful and as always, if you have any questions, feel free to ask me. 🙂

Have a good Tuesday,



44 thoughts on “Why AHAs Are Important in Anti-Aging Skincare!

  1. Oh man, one summer I used an AHA ace gel/cream thing on my face and my entire jawline turned into flakes! It literally looked like I had a beard of flakes going on – so bad!! I’ve stayed away from them ever since but I know they’re really helpful for dull and dreary skin

    • Oh no! Sorry to hear that. As strange as it may sound, sometimes these products will create that reaction before things get better. It could also be that maybe the gel/cream was too strong for you. Sometimes, you need to ease into the products and start at lower amounts until your skin gets used to it.

      • I think you’re right in both ways, because I was slathering it on every night when it should have been once a week. My skin can be randomly sensitive at times too, so who knows!

      • Oh, yeah. That’s why it’s important to follow the directions because products with highly active ingredients like these can cause all the flaking. Overly using these products can cause sensitivity in the long run too. If you decide to use them in the future, start off small and see how your skin responds. 🙂

  2. I didn’t know about AHAs so much, very useful post as usual!
    And thank you again, I look forward to hear how you think about the product 🙂

  3. AHA’s are a must for me since I’m 40 and have fine lines and wrinkles out the wazoo. I use the Ponds Rejuveenes (I know I probably spelled that wrong and I’m too lazy to go look it up) mainly as a night cream right now, but sometimes for daytime I’ll use a little around my eye area (where I need it the most really).

    • Hello! I am so glad to find someone in my age group and love beauty too. Don’t get me wrong I love to read any age beauty blog but it is nice to find someone with aging skin.

      • I hear ya. Luckily I look younger than I am. Most think I’m in my mid-late 20s. I just have good genes cos my mom looked younger than she was too.

    • Honestly Amy, I would have never guessed you are 40. You look great! How is the Ponds working for you? Just be sure to be diligent about your sunscreen and use an eye cream with SPF, especially if you are outside a lot and wear sunglasses. 🙂

  4. Ah such a great post! I feel like a lot of people don’t know much about AHA, I only know because I have a dermatologist who explained this to me. It’s so important to use sunscreen if you’re using AHA on your face. It almost defeats the purpose of using AHA in the first place if you don’t wear sunscreen. A very important and informative post, great job, Stephanie! 🙂

    • Sunscreen is crucial not matter what but when it comes to AHAs, BHAs. retinol, it becomes that much more important. You’re right, it will defeat the purpose because if you’re looking to reduce pigmentation and or wrinkles, guess what is part if the cause? The sun! Thank you Jen for your comments. It makes me feel good that you heard this from your dermatologist and compare it with my post, information wise. It’s also great that you actually listen to your dermatologist. You know how many people say yeah, yeah and then come back asking why they aren’t seeing results. Sigh.

      • You welcome! You’re post is a well of info for folks who don’t go to a dermatologist. You need to follow the steps correctly not just using the creams. I don’t know why people just get lazy with the sunscreen.

      • ❤ That means a lot! Yes, following directions correctly are a must and failure to do so can result in some pretty mean consequences. What irks me with sunscreen is the excuses people have. They claim it's filled with chemicals when they have no clue what a chemical really is. I understand the whole natural thing but not everything natural is good just as not everything chemical is bad- hello water. Or the fact that they 'make' their own sunscreen using coconut oil and zinc oxide. Yikes! If a biochemist I know couldn't get the formula right the first couple of times, and mind you he has degrees in this, how do you expect to get the same effective results with a DIY version? And then I see all these people agreeing, I'm sorry but I just can't. 😦

      • Wow, people actually go off and make their own sunscreen? I can’t even imagine what that mixture will do to your skin. I’m actually highly allergic to zinc oxide so I stick with a titanium oxide based sunblock.

  5. I love this post!!!! I feel like I need AHAs for like….my neck and chest etc. (too much info?!!! sorry!) Just cause washing alone doesnt seem to cut through the oil and dead skin. Maybe that would be on my luxurious list!!!

  6. Pingback: The Acid Chronicles: Lactic Acid! | Stephie Estie

  7. Pingback: The Acid Chronicles: Glycolic Acid! | Stephie Estie

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