Alpha, Beta, Poly????.....Acids & the skin!

When you first think about acids & the skin, you can’t but condure a picture of negative images of scalded, red skin. Samantha Jones on Sex in the City is often referred to when she had a peel treatment. However, this is far from the truth & our skin no matter what it’s type or condition can almost always be improved on. Acids are now used in both salon & homecare products. Different acids can have different effects & depending on it’s concentration, will enhance the effects. An innovative technology known as micro-encapsulisation now provides a controlled delivery of certain acids into the skin, which decreases its side effects but also extends its effectiveness over time.

The most commonly used acids in skincare can be categorised into:

  • Alpha Hydroxy Acids or AHAs

  • Beta Hydroxy Acids or BHAs

  • And then there is the next generation in hydroxy-acids, Poly Hydroxy acids


AHAs (Alpha Hydroxy Acids)

Alpha-Hydroxy acids are naturally occurring acids that are derived from plant sugars. Alpha-Hydroxy acids are often used in cosmetics to increase skin cell turnover, exfoliate dead cells from the surface of the skin, and improve the skin’s ability to maintain moisture. Alpha-Hydroxy acids are also synthetically manufactured and used in applications ranging from food to medical to industrial use. There are many types and are naturally derived from three main sources: sugar cane, milk and fruits.

Examples used in skincare are as follows; Glycolic Acid, Lactic Acid, Asorbic Acid, Citric Acid, Flower Acids, Hylauronic Acid, Hydroxyphenoxy Propionic Acid, Kojic Acid, Mandelic Acid, Retinoic Acid & Soy Amino Acids.

BHAs (Beta Hydroxy Acids)

Salicylic is the only Beta Hydroxy Acid (BHA). Derived from aspirin, it is an exfoliant with anti-inflammatory properties. It is also water-soluble, meaning it can penetrate pores to effectively exfoliate dead skin cells & target excess sebum build up.

PHAs (Poly Hydroxy Acids)

Poly Hydroxy Acids are the next generation in hydroxy acids & claim to achieve the results but with no sensitivity. Among these super acids are Gluconolactone which is the most common PHA, in addition to galactose and lactobionic acid.


Acids are used extensively & very successfully in the skincare industry. From cleansers to masks & there isn't skin care company in the know that haven't taken advantage of this powerful ingredient to create excellent skin!

Find out how acids could work for your skin, fill out our online consultation form;

or call The Beauty Rooms on 071 9858011 to book an appointment.







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