The Story Behind AHA’s
Alpha Hydroxy Acids, or AHAs, are commonly referred to as “fruit acids” or “food acids” as they are found in fruits and foods, e.g. lactic acid from sour milk, glycolic acid from sugar cane, malic acid from apples, tartaric acid from grapes and citric acid from citrus fruits. Their actual use for skincare dates back to ancient Egyptian times with Cleopatra bathing in milk to soften and rejuvenate her skin and the ancient Romans using grape wines to soften skin. AHAs rejuvenate the skin by two principal means of action – exfoliation and moisturization.
Our skin has a natural renewal process that requires the exfoliation of dead surface cells on a continuous basis as new cells are formed and migrate to the surface. As we age this process slows down and creates a “traffic jam” of dead cells on the skin’s surface that results in uneven skin tones, sallow complexion, dry skin and general loss of skin glow and radiance. AHAs exfoliate skin because they help dissolve the cellular cement that holds dead cells together, thereby removing unwanted pigment and rough textured skin. As new cells migrate to the surface in a more uniform compact order, the skin appears smoother, radiant and youthful.
AHAs are also powerful moisturizers that stimulate the skin to produce hyaluronic acid (HA); HAs moisture retention properties act as the skin’s natural water reservoir. In other words, unlike typical moisturizers that act by forming an occlusive layer on the skin to help prevent water loss, AHAs hydrate from the inside out by increasing HA deposition and helping to bind the moisture in the skin.