We've been obsessed with finding out the latest skincare trends during the last few years and tried everything from guasha to using a gold facial mask, and now chemical exfoliation has taken over the active game, and for a reason.
With so many options out there—AHAs (glycolic and lactic acids), BHAs (salicylic acid), and PHAs (Lactobionic acid)- it's inevitable to feel a little lost when reading labels. Even though the words "acids" and "acidic" might sound scary initially, we promise we've got your back. That's why we're here to share everything you need to know about Poly Hydroxy Acid, also known as PHA so that you can feel confident shopping for products containing this superstar ingredient.
What Is PHA?
PHA was a relatively new arrival in the world of acids but earned its place among the heavy hitters at a fast pace thanks to its ability to act as a jack-of-all-trades for both sensitive skin and those with pigmentation concerns. Its exfoliating properties help get rid of dead skin cells while also helping preserve your skin's natural moisture barrier and keeping irritation at bay.
They are the most contemporary class of exfoliating acids (Gluconolactone and Lactobionic acid) which gently remove dead skin cells and help keep skin hydrated. Because they are a larger molecule than other types of acids found in skincare products, PHAs don't penetrate as deeply into the skin. This implies they're excellent for sensitive skin.
Benefits of Polyhydroxy Acid
The benefits of incorporating PHA into your routine are similar to those of AHAs: Exfoliation and Hydration. Although PHAs, Poly-hydroxy acids fall under the AHA family (Next-generation AHAs). Still, it is distinct from AHAs because they have a larger molecular size that does not irritate and is better for sensitive skin.
1. Ideal for sensitive skin
PHAs work by gently dissolving dead skin cells, making them ideal for sensitive skin types who may experience redness or irritation with other active ingredients.
2. Does not deprive the skin of moisture
Unlike other exfoliants that strip the skin's surface of its natural oils and moisture, PHAs help boost hydration and replenish moisture.
3. Has Antioxidant Properties
PHA has excellent antioxidant properties, which help reverse UV Damage and ensure the skin barriers aren't disrupted regularly.
4. Brings Dull skin back to life
It mildly exfoliates the skin and improves texture and tone, bringing dull skin back to life and keeping it looking more youthful by boosting collagen synthesis.
5. Mildly Exfoliates and Acts as a Humectant
PHAs are chemical exfoliants that gently dissolve skin cells thereby causing no harm to the skin structure. It provides a boost of hydration and moisture to the skin by acting as a humectant.
PHA vs. AHA vs. BHA
AHAs and BHAs Assortment
If you do not have sensitive skin, you can try combining AHA and BHA for better exfoliation.
If you have extra-sensitive skin, PHAs alone will work for you and are best suitable if you have rosacea, eczema, or severely susceptible skin.
This is the most commonly used PHA. It's derived from glucose, a naturally occurring molecule used to power your cells. It is much gentler in treating acne and pimples In comparison to benzoyl peroxide.
PHA Lactobionic Acid
It is derived from oxidized milk sugar. It is a powerful humectant as well as a gentle exfoliator used to provide a boost of hydration and nourishment while mildly scrubbing off dead and dry cells.
PHA for Lip Care
PHA being sensitive skin friendly is the best active that one can incorporate into their lip care regime. Since lips are one of the most delicate parts of our body, we cannot apply skin care products on them because they contain chemicals that might be harsh on our lip skin. Hence actives and ingredients must be lip-friendly and one must pick specialized lip care products keeping in mind the lip structure. Incorporating PHA into your lip care regime has multiple benefits including :
1. Mildly Exfoliates Lips
PHAs work on the surface level and gently exfoliate dead and dry lip cells. This in turn makes them Plump, Soft, and Pigmentation-free.
2. Provides Lip Hydration
PHA is not just a gentle exfoliant but a Humectant as well. It provides a boost of hydration and does not deprive lips of nourishment and moisture but adds to it.
3. It Has Antioxidant properties
It has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties which help protect lips from UV rays and pollution along with free radical damage.
4. Boosts Lip Collagen
It stimulates lips and boosts collagen production thereby making thin and dull lips plump and smooth.
5. Reduces Lip lines & wrinkles
It has anti-aging properties which help in reducing lip lines and wrinkles. It is also ideal for people who smoke and have dark lips because of it.
Things to Remember:
This is a list of things that must be kept in mind while using a product that has PHA for your skin and lip care regime:
1. Do not overdo it
Do not buy separate chemical exfoliants and then use them together. Use products that have a combination of active ingredients in a concentrated manner that is approved by the authorities.
2. PHA Lactobionic Acid works best with Alpha Arbutin
If you want to remove pigmentation and provide hydration simultaneously you can use skin or lip care products that contain PHA and Alpha Arbutin. They both are skin-safe and sensitive skin-friendly so they can be utilized in lip care as well!
Unlike BHAs (beta-hydroxy acids), PHAs (polyhydroxy acids) are considered to be safe to use when you're expecting a baby. The ingredient list might not straight away mention "PHA" but you can look for terms like "Gluconolactone" or "Lactobionic" acid these are the most common types of PHAs.
4. Side effects
There are no such side effects of this gentle active but we recommend doing a patch test and then waiting for 24 hours before applying it wholesomely.
This goes with PHA and any ingredient out there. Always check the ingredients list and look out for terms and unknown ingredients. You might be allergic to any one of them so again a patch test is necessary.
PHA (Lactobionic Acid) is a skincare superstar that took over ingredient lists and news feeds all over the beauty world. It is an excellent choice for people who have dry skin, as it can help boost hydration and retain moisture. With all this in mind, PHAs are worth adding to your skin and lip care routine if you have sensitive skin. They're super effective at exfoliating and hydrating and much gentler than other Chemical exfoliants.