What are they, what are their uses, and how are alpha hydroxy acids used?

Among the active ingredients known as chemical exfoliants, acids are divided into three types:

alpha hydroxy acid, beta hydroxy acids and polyhydroxy acids.The first is the most popular, also known as

fruit acid, and many more recommendations. motivation? It has the versatility to treat a variety of skin problems with its many properties, from exfoliating to stimulating collagen production and its natural source.

AHA will benefit compared to BHA which is more suitable for oily skin

all skin types They are also suitable for the most mature of people. motivation? They even out skin tone, reduce the appearance of blemishes and provide radiance, eliminating the dull tones that often appear on the skin with the onset of menopause.

alpha hydroxy acid

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Ingredient type: Acid/chemical exfoliant

origin: Natural, as the Mira + Cueto Clinic explains, “Alpha-hydroxy acids are characterized by naturally derived organic acids found in a variety of fruits and vegetables, and even in our bodies.”

The main advantage: Its main function is to exfoliate the surface layer of skin. They reduce the appearance of dull skin while evening out skin tone. Some of them have antioxidant and moisturizing properties, while others help stimulate collagen production.

who can use it: Since alpha hydroxy acids have different properties, they can be used on different skin types. It is important to check whether the products are suitable for our skin and their concentration before incorporating them into daily use.

in daily work: Depends on the type of acid. Some can be used every day, while others are recommended a few times a week or three weeks. The best way to introduce them into your daily routine is to gradually prevent skin reactions.

combine: Moisturizing ingredient that supplements AHA exfoliation effect. They also work well with peptides because they slow down the peptides’ ability to penetrate the skin, making them less irritating.

avoid with: Not recommended for use with BHA (also known as beta-hydroxy acid or retinoid). For these last assets, it is recommended not to use them in the same routine (they can be used interchangeably).

How do alpha-hydroxy acids work? We learned about its benefits and how to use them from Mira + Cueto medical team member Dr. Ana Crespo; maxillofacial surgeon and facial aesthetic medicine specialist Dr. Gema Pérez Sevilla; and Druni training director Rosa Roselló.

What are alpha hydroxy acids?

As Dr. Crespo explained to us, “They are those acids,

Improve skin texture Because they accelerate epidermal renewal while also maintaining barrier function. “The degree of acid exfoliation is related to the concentration of the active ingredient and the length of time it is used.”

Rosa Roselló goes on to explain, “They are a class of compounds that are widely used in skin care products.” Where are you from?Experts explain that they are “mainly derived from fruits and milk and are used for cosmetic purposes due to their exfoliating and skin-rejuvenating properties.” This

plants and fruits They are its main source, continues the Drunni training director: “They are found in certain plants: apples (malic acid), citric acid (citrus), glycolic acid (sugar cane). “AHA exfoliants are water-soluble , which means they primarily act on the surface of the skin. ”

which one?

Roselló details the most common alpha-hydroxy acids, their sources and properties:

glycolic acid:« Derived from sugar cane, it is the smallest AHA molecule and therefore easily penetrates deep into the skin. “It’s great for treating fine lines and improving texture.”

lactic acid: “Found in dairy products and known for its ability to gently moisturize and exfoliate the skin.”

• Citric acid: “Extracted from citrus fruits such as lemons, oranges and limes, it is an antioxidant that also helps exfoliate and brighten the skin.”

malic acid: “Found in apples and other fruits, it helps improve skin brightness and reduce the appearance of dark spots.”

tartaric acid: Found in grapes and known for its antioxidant and mild exfoliating properties.

We also found

Mandelic acid It is derived from bitter almonds and is suitable for acne-prone skin and also prevents the appearance of wrinkles.

What are their characteristics?

Dr. Ana Crespo of Mira + Cueto Clinic explains that alpha-hydroxy acids are known for their “ability to reshape texture and

Gentle exfoliation abilityincrease epidermal renewal.

Dr. Pérez Sevilla elaborates, “They are used as keratolytic agents, expelling dead cells in varying concentrations depending on the desired effect. “They reduce the visibility of dark spots by accelerating the exfoliation of the melanin-rich stratum corneum. ” The expert went on to explain, “They help speed up the natural process of cell renewal, allowing

better skin quality. For sensitive skin, it is recommended to use it at night, choose a low concentration, and apply it gradually, that is, apply it every two or three days.

The doctor goes on to explain that alpha hydroxy acids are “known for their exfoliating properties, helping to gently remove the skin’s outer layer, leaving it softer and more even-toned. These acids are also beneficial in treating post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation issues. What else can they do? «AHAs stimulate the natural production of collagen in the skin, thereby improving skin firmness and elasticity

Reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Incorporating products containing alpha hydroxy acids into your skin care routine can help make skin more radiant and rejuvenated.

What effect do they have on the skin?

Dr. Ana Crespo explains that alpha-hydroxy acids “reduce the bonds between keratinocytes, making them

These dead cells fall off And the skin undergoes gentle exfoliation. In this sense, the most effective is glycolic acid.

Doctors believe that “some also have depigmenting properties because they inhibit tyrosinase (such as glycolic acid, lactic acid, and mandelic acid) and antioxidant effects (such as tartaric acid, malic acid, and citric acid). Lactic acid has specific effects, depending on Depending on its concentration; at high concentrations, it exfoliates gently, while at low concentrations, it produces strong exfoliation.

Moisturizing function skin”.

What skin types are they suitable for?

Dr. Crespo explains that in general, alpha-hydroxy acids can be used to «

all skin typesBut especially photoaged skin, thick, dull skin that needs stratum corneum renewal, skin with blemishes or acne.

Dr. Pérez Sevilla explains: “Depending on the skin type and its needs, it is recommended

alpha hydroxy acid or other. While glycolic acid is suitable for combination, oily, and acne-prone skin due to its smaller molecule size, it is not recommended for sensitive and reactive skin as it may irritate the skin. This type of skin will benefit from the benefits of lactic acid because of its gentle exfoliating properties. Of course, you shouldn’t mix it with other active ingredients with strong exfoliating properties, such as retinoids or ascorbic acid, as it may over-exfoliate the skin.

As a recommendation, doctors recommend “use daily (more if you use AHA)

Broad spectrum sunscreen (Reapply every two hours or after each swim at the beach or pool).

The Best Products Containing Alpha Hydroxy Acids

Attivi Puri rich glycolic acid cream /



The beauty company has a wide range of skin care products formulated with reference active ingredients.

Attivi Puri Rich Glycolic Acid Cream It provides moisture to the skin while exfoliating gently and non-irritatingly. (Available from Druni, €47)


dinner out It is a mask formulated with AHAs from natural sources, such as grapefruit or kaolin clay. Eliminates impurities from skin while providing softness. (€34)

Just Mandelic Acid + HA/

Ray Walkers

Ray Walkers

Mandelic acid with a concentration of 10%,

Just Mandelic Acid + HA It is a serum that is gentle on the skin. Use it to improve skin texture while helping synthesize collagen and remove dead skin cells. (Available from Druni, €6.49)

Medical 8

The serum form of sleep ethanol is recommended for use two to three times per week. Thanks to its glycolic acid-containing formula, it works on the most damaged skin while we sleep. (€49)


Suitable for oily or combination skin,

manuka free It is a toner that reduces the signs of acne while helping to reduce enlarged pores. It can be used as a previous step in beauty treatments. (Available from Druni, €3.49)

healthy aging /

beibei laboratory

beibei laboratory

The formula is

healthy aging Combines AHA and Pro Retinol. A rejuvenating skin peel that works overnight to reduce the appearance of wrinkles, blemishes and spots. Can be used by even the most sensitive skin. (€32)

Lactic and Glycolic Acid Ultra Plus /

Camaron Cosmetics

Camaron Cosmetics

Lactic acid and glycolic acid It combines two of the most popular AHAs in its formula. A concentrated serum that promotes skin exfoliation, reduces pigmentation and increases collagen production. (€16.85)

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