We group them all together since we like them all… and also like to mix them!
These acids are naturally derived from various plant sources, as well as milk, but they can also be synthetically derived to ensure stability and effectiveness (99.9% of all acids used in dermatology and medical-grade peelings are synthetic!) At concentrations greater than 4% and in a base with a pH of 3 to 4, they exfoliate skin by breaking down the substance that holds dead cells together.
The most effective and well-researched AHAs are glycolic and lactic acids; that’s the reason why we at Swissline have always concentrated on these two. Lactic acid also poses the advantage of being the only acid naturally present in the human skin, making it the safest and best option for those having a drier or more fragile skin condition. As widely known, however, all acids can result in increased sensitivity to the sun, but wearing a properly formulated sunscreen on a daily basis eliminates this risk.
BHAs, like salicylic acid, are best used on combination or oilier skin conditions since BHAs, contrary to AHA’s, are oil soluble and can be better absorbed into pores clogged with excessive sebum to clarify and reduce imperfections.
PHAs (short for polyhydroxy acids) are a third-generation option if your skin is too sensitive for the other exfoliating acids. Gluconolactone, galactose, and lactobionic acid are some of the acids that comprise this group; which offers guaranteed long-term results with minimal irritation potential. The downside is that they don’t grant the age minimizing corrections possible with regular use of AHAs or BHAs.