Countless cosmetic companies invest billions of dollars each year to develop solutions that “smooth away” wrinkles, with mixed success. Polyhydroxy acids (PHAs) are a current phenomenon in cosmetics that promise to eliminate fine wrinkles.
PHAs, according to Trusted Source, may moisturize skin and enhance skin cell regeneration, reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. They’re less irritating than comparable scrubbing chemicals, particularly if you have sensitive skin.
Here’s all you need to know about PHAs: how they operate, how to use them, and where to look for them.
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The effects of aging on your skin are numerous: The epidermis (the outermost layer of the skin) thickens. The skin retains less moisture and has lower collagen content. The DNA of cells is further harmed by exposure to the sun. These things work together to make wrinkles look more prominent. PHAs are a kind of chemical that exfoliates the skin.
Dr. Dendy Engelman, a dermatologist at Shafer Clinic in New York City, states that exfoliation “helps to remove away dead, dull-looking cells, expose healthy cells, minimize hyperpigmentation, and enhance skin texture.”
PHAs moisturize the skin as well. They help to maintain the skin’s barrier function, which keeps moisture in and decreases fine lines and wrinkles. There are a number of additional advantages to using this chemical.
Dr. Tsippora Shainhouse, FAAD, a board-certified dermatologist in private practice at SkinSafe Dermatology and Skin Care in Beverly Hills, California, states that PHAs “may promote the penetration of additional active substances applied to the treated skin.”
PHAs also have antioxidant qualities, according to her, which “help reverse and prevent UV and pollution-induced free radical damage to collagen and skin cells.”
What’s the end result? According to Shainhouse, PHAs have an anti-aging impact. Common PHAs used in skincare products:
- lactobionic acid
Are PHAs superior to BHAs or AHAs for sensitive skin?
Alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) and beta hydroxy acids (BHAs) are two more types of hydroxy acids. All three are used in skincare products to help repair UV damage, decrease wrinkles, and improve skin elasticity, tone, and hydration.
PHAs, on the other hand, are less prone to irritate delicate skin. Acne, scars, dark spots, dryness, and wrinkles are all treated with alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs), which include glycolic acid and lactic acid. (Glycolic acid is the greatest exfoliator since it has the smallest particle size of all hydroxy acids, according to Engelman.)
Salicylic acid, for example, is an anti-inflammatory BHA. According to Engelman and Shainhouse, they’re often advised for oily or acne-prone skin. These elements, however, aren’t for everyone.
Swelling and burning are common side effects of AHAs, and they may also make your skin more susceptible to the sun. While BHAs are less irritating than AHAs, they nonetheless make skin more sun-sensitive, according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)Trusted Source.
“AHAs and BHAs are great and have many advantages for the skin,” Pierre explains, “but they may be harsh and cause irritation.”
According to some studies, PHAs are almost as efficient as other hydroxy acids while also being less prone to irritate your skin. If your skin is extremely sensitive, or if you have disorders like rosacea or eczema, you’ll probably handle them better. For instance, over the course of 12 weeks, a 2004 study (funded by a beauty firm) compared gluconolactone-containing PHAs against glycolic acid-containing AHAs. Both substances were discovered to have anti-aging properties, although PHAs were found to be less irritating.
“PHAs have a bigger molecular structure than AHAs and BHAs, so they take longer to penetrate and won’t get as deep,” Engelman explains. PHAs may also be linked to reduced post-treatment solar sensitivity and the risk of sunburn and sun damage, according to Shainhouse.
According to Trusted Source, the PHA gluconolactone protected mouse skin cells from minor UV damage. PHAs were also tested on individuals by the same team. They discovered that the chemical did not raise the risk of sunburn, indicating that it may be a better alternative for persons with sensitive skin than AHA or BHA.
PHAs aren’t for everyone, however. Pierre recommends avoiding the substance if your skin is sensitive to it. “Aside from that, they’re perfect for all skin types, including pregnant and nursing women. explains.
- PHAs may be found in a variety of products, including cleansers, toners, pads, masks, and even moisturizers.
- “It delivers the precise dose in a clean, hygienic environment,” he explains.
- According to Pierre, serums or creams provide the best effects.
- He continues, “PHAs require time in touch with the skin to show their good effects.”
- Follow these guidelines regardless of the product you purchase.
Scan the label for one of the PHAs listed below:
- lactobionic acid
Combining with AHAs or BHAs is a good idea.
Choose a product that combines PHAs with AHAs, BHAs, or both if your skin tolerates it. “They are capable of doing a better job and delivering greater outcomes,” Pierre asserts.
PHAs may be your best choice if you have extra-sensitive skin. “They’re fantastic for all skin types, particularly sensitive skin… “They’re soft enough to use even if you have rosacea or dermatitis,” adds Pierre.
Don’t overdo it
Although many serums include AHAs, BHAs, and PHAs, Engelman believes that “they are safe since they are specially made to be taken together.”
Don’t use two different chemical exfoliants at the same time. According to Engelman, this may overwork and weaken the skin, causing good cell connections to break down.
Combine with a barrier builder to create a powerful combination.
Engelman and Shainhouse recommend searching for a PHA product that has the following ingredients to enhance the skin barrier:
- hyaluronic acid
Alternatively, use a PHA exfoliator in conjunction with a skincare product that includes these chemicals.
First, put it to the test
Test a new PHA product on your forearm before slathering it all over your face. If it doesn’t bother your skin after 24 hours, progressively add it into your daily routine.
Use as required, but keep an eye out for irritation
Pierre recommends trying a different PHA product three times a week on non-consecutive days. As long as your skin tolerates it, gradually increase the frequency.
Finally, use your skin’s response as a guideline. It’s possible that you’ll be able to use a cleanser, moisturizer, toner, or pad on a regular basis. Shainhouse suggests that you could be better off utilizing toners and pads on a weekly basis. Always follow the label’s recommendations. Most masks, for example, should be worn once a week or once a month, according to Shainhouse.
Apply after you’ve washed your hands and before you moisturize.
After cleaning your skin, Engelman recommends using a PHA product in the morning or at night. PHA masks and peels should be applied to clean skin, as with other exfoliating treatments, according to Shainhouse. To lock in the moisture and preserve the skin barrier, apply a serum (if you’re using one) and moisturizer thereafter.
Don’t forget to wear broad-spectrum sunscreen throughout the day to avoid sunburn, Shainhouse advises.
Certain substances should be avoided.
PHAs should not be used with pH-sensitive substances since they are acids.
“Vitamin C, for example, is a highly unstable molecule,” Shainhouse explains. Apply vitamin C serum in the morning and PHA exfoliant at night instead. And as long as it doesn’t irritate your skin, some research isn’t a bad idea.
According to Trusted Source, retinyl acetate (vitamin A) may help PHA work better. To prevent irritating your skin, Shainhouse recommends not using products that contain these components at the same time. For extra-sensitive skin, Engelman recommends cycling between PHA and retinoids on a daily basis.
Chemicals engaged in various including gluconolactone, lactobionic acid, and galactose, which are included in the takeaway PHAs, moisturize skin and help decrease the effects of aging. They’re less irritating than other chemical exfoliants, and they’re less prone to create sun sensitivity. If you have sensitive skin or are prone to rosacea or eczema, they are a better option.
Choose a product that combines PHAs with either BHAs or AHAs for the greatest results if it doesn’t hurt your skin. Apply to a clean face and finish with a moisturizer.