Are PHAs better for sensitive skin than BHAs or AHAs? – Health care

Are PHAs better for sensitive skin than BHAs or AHAs?

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Countless beauty companies spend billions each year making “smooth” wrinkles – sometimes spectacular but always with limited results.

Polyhydroxy acids (PHAs) are one of the latest fashion accessories that are recommended to finish fine lines.

Older studies A reliable source suggests that PHAs can help rehydrate the skin and strengthen skin regeneration, helping to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Compared to similar exfoliating ingredients, they are less irritating, especially if you have sensitive skin.

Here’s what you need to know about PHAs, including how they work, how they are used, and where they can be found.


Aging has many effects on your skin: The epidermis (i.e., the outer layer of the skin) thickens. The skin absorbs less moisture and has less collagen. Sun exposure severely damages the cellular DNA. Together, these features enhance the appearance of wrinkles.

PHAs are chemical exfoliants.

Drs. Dendy Engelman, a dermatologist who works at the Shafer Clinic in New York City, states: “Skin rejuvenation helps to remove dead, dull cells, reveal healthy cells, reduce skin fullness, and improve skin appearance.

PHAs also provide water to the skin. They support the function of preventing the skin, shutting down moisture, and reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

The ingredient has other benefits as well.

“PHAs may be able to absorb some of the active ingredients used on treated skin,” said Drs. Tsippora Shainhouse, FAAD, a board-authorized dermatologist at SkinSafe Dermatology and Skin Care in Beverly Hills, California.

And PHA has antioxidant properties “that help reverse and prevent UV damage and pollution caused by collagen and skin cells,” he says.

The result? PHAs have an anti-aging effect, Shainhouse said.

According to Drs. Peterson Pierre, a dermatologist at the Pierre Skin Care Institute in Westlake Village, California, common PHAs used in skincare products include:

  • gluconolactone
  • lactobionic acid
  • galactose

Are PHAs better for sensitive skin than BHAs or AHAs?

PHAs are a type of hydroxyTrusted Source (or fruit) acid. Other hydroxy acids include alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) and beta hydroxy acids (BHAs).

All three are added to skincare products to help reverse sun damage, reduce wrinkles, and make skin smoother, toned, and hydrated.

However, PHAs are less likely to irritate sensitive skin.

AHAs, including glycolic acid and lactic acid, are often added to skincare products to treat acne, scars, dark spots, dryness, and wrinkles. (Glycolic acid has the smallest particle size in all hydroxy acids, so it is the best exfoliant, Engelman adds.)

BHA, such as salicylic acid, fights inflammation. They are usually recommended for oily or acne-prone skin, say Engelman and Shainhouse.

That said, these ingredients are not for everyone.


AHAs are known to cause inflammation and burns and can make your skin more sensitive to sunlight.

Although BHAs may be less irritating than AHAs, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) A reliable source warns that they still make the skin more sensitive to sunlight.

“While AHA and BHA are amazing and have many benefits for the skin, they can be cruel and irritating,” Pierre said.

Some studies suggest that PHAs are almost as effective as other hydroxy acids and are less likely to irritate your skin. That means you will probably be better off if your skin is very sensitive, or if you have conditions such as rosacea or eczema.

“I like PHAs because they make the skin come out without the slightest risk of irritation,” Engelman said.

For example

A 2004 study trusted Source (paid by a cosmetics company) compared PHA-containing gluconolactone to AHA-containing glycolic acid over 12 weeks. The researchers found that both ingredients had anti-aging properties, but PHAs were less irritating.

“PHAs have a larger cell structure than AHAs and BHAs, which means they take longer to enter and will not interfere deeper,” Engelman said.

Shainhouse adds that PHAs may be associated with less sun exposure after treatment and the risk of sunburn and sun damage.

Another 2004 study Reliable Source found that PHA gluconolactone inhibited certain UV damage in rat skin cells.

risk of sunburn

These same researchers also tested PHAs in humans. They found that the ingredient did not increase their risk of sunburn, suggesting that it may be a better option than AHA or BHA for people with sensitive skin.

However, PHAs are not for everyone. If you find that your skin is sensitive to this ingredient, Pierre recommends avoiding it.

“Other than that, it’s good for all skin types, whether you’re pregnant or breastfeeding,” she says.


Engelman selects PHA pads.

“It gives you the right volume in a clean, sterile delivery system,” he said.

Pierre claims that serum or creams provide superior results.

“PHAs need time to communicate with the skin to see its beneficial effects,” he explained.

Whatever product you choose, follow these tips.

Check the label

Scan one of the following PHAs:

  • gluconolactone
  • lactobionic acid
  • galactose

Consider merging with AHA or BHA

If your skin is tolerant, choose a product that combines PHA with AHA, BHA, or both. “They can do a better job and bring better results,” Pierre said.

“Some of my favorite chemical exfoliants contain a mixture of AHA, BHA, and PHA,” Engelman said.

If you have very sensitive skin, PHAs alone can be your best bet. “They are suitable for all skin types, especially those with sensitive skin… [and] are gentle enough to use even if you have rosacea or eczema,” says Pierre.

Do not overdo it

Although most serums use a combination of AHA, BHA, and PHA, “those are safe because they are specifically designed to be used together,” says Engelman.

Pair with an obstacle builder

To strengthen the skin barrier, Engelman and Shainhouse suggested looking at a PHA product that contains:

  • ceramides
  • hyaluronic acid
  • glycerin
  • peptides

Or pair your PHA exfoliant with another skincare product that contains these ingredients.

“PHAs have water-repellent properties, which can be expanded by combining them with other moisture-absorbing ingredients,” Shainhouse said.

Check it out first

Before you apply a new PHA product on your face, check it on your arm first. If it does not irritate your skin after 24 hours, slowly apply it to your system.

Use as needed, but be careful not to overreact

Pierre recommends using a new PHA product for three consecutive days a week. Increase the frequency gradually as long as your skin is tolerant of it.

Finally, take your skin reaction as an indication. You can use a cleanser, moisturizer, toner, or pad daily. Or you may find yourself getting better at using tones and pads every week, says Shainhouse.

Always follow the instructions on the label. Many masks, for example, are designed to be used once a week or once a month, Shainhouse said.

Apply after washing and before applying

Engelman says you can use the PHA product in the morning or at night after washing the skin.

Always follow with a serum (if you use one) and moisturizer to seal the water and protect the skin barrier.

Do not forget to finish with a wide spectrum of sun protection during the day to prevent sunburn, adds Shainhouse.

Be careful with certain ingredients

“This includes vitamin C, which is an unstable molecule,” Shainhouse said. Instead, use a vitamin C serum in the morning with your PHA exfoliant at night.

And as long as it does not irritate your skin, some studies by the Reliable Source suggest that retinyl acetate (vitamin A) may enhance the effects of PHA. Just do not use products containing these ingredients at the same time to avoid irritating your skin, says Shainhouse.

With very sensitive skin, you may also want to try exchanging PHA with retinoids daily, suggests Engelman.


Engelman recommends the following PHA products:

Elizabeth Arden Prevage Progressive Renewal Treatment. He suggests using it once every few months.
Glo Skin Beauty Pro 5 Liquid Exfoliant. “This page combines AHAs and PHAs to produce effective but flexible volition. The skin will look brighter after one use, ”said Engelman. A combination of mandelic acid, lactic acid, gluconic acid, malic acid, and tartaric acid is safe for all skin types, he adds.


PHAs, including gluconolactone, lactobionic acid, and galactose, are chemical exfoliants that hydrate the skin and help reduce the symptoms of aging.

They are less irritating and less likely to cause sun exposure than other chemical exfoliants. That makes them a better choice if your skin is sensitive or prone to rosacea or eczema.

If it does not irritate your skin, choose a product that combines PHA with BHA or AHA for best results. Apply to clean skin and apply with moisturizer.


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