Choosing An Alpha-Hydroxy Acid for your skin
Choosing An AHA
Because alpha hydroxy acids have humectant properties, meaning that they attract and hold moisture close to the skin’s surface, they’re a preferred chemical exfoliant for those who struggle with dryness.
AHAs are most commonly found in the following three forms: glycolic, lactic, and mandelic:
- Glycolic Acid: This is the most common of AHAs. Glycolic acid has the smallest molecular structure, which means it can be the most effective, but also has the potential to be the most irritating to sensitive skin types. If you are new to AHAs and shopping for a glycolic acid product, start slow with a lower percentage, typically eight to ten percent. Additionally, glycolic acid has mild humectant properties, which help to draw moisture to your skin’s surface.
- Lactic Acid: Lactic acid is the second most common AHA. Derived from milk, its molecular structure is larger than that of glycolic acid, but not as large as mandelic. Lactic acid products are generally recommended for sensitive skin types, particularly those who struggle with rosacea. It is highly humectant, making it a top choice for those who struggle with dry skin.
- Mandelic Acid: This is the least common form of AHA. However, because mandelic acid has the largest molecules, it’s the least irritating. It has moderate humectant properties, lending a moisturizing effect without leaving normal skin feeling overly oily. Mandelic acid is also an antibacterial and an anti-microbial—making it the best choice of the three AHAs for acne-prone skin.