AHAs: More than just an exfoliator

AHAs: More than just an exfoliator

Does your skincare routine include an alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) product? AHAs are a family of exfoliating acids, but that’s not all they can do. For example, let’s take a look at two of the most popular AHAs on the block – glycolic acid (derived from sugar cane) and lactic acid (derived from milk). Sure, both can dissolve the bonds between dead skin cells to reveal fresher-looking skin and even help improve surface-level pigmentation. Their exfoliating power also literally “clears the way”, so any other products you apply will better penetrate your skin.

Still, as we said, this isn’t the only thing AHAs can do. Of these two superstar acids, the glycolic kind has an added superpower, and that’s the ability to stimulate the production of collagen! Lactic acid has its benefits too. As it’s got a larger molecular structure than glycolic acid, it won’t penetrate as deeply into your skin. It means it has less potential to irritate, making it a good choice for those with sensitive skin. It’s also more hydrating than glycolic acid. 

Take your pick 

You’ll find a host of brilliant skincare products that contain AHAs in our Online Skin Shop. These are just a few of our top picks. 


If you’re shopping for AHA-infused products, NeoStrata is a brand you’re going to want to know about. They offer an extensive selection of glycolic acid products in various percentages to suit every skin type and concern. For example, their Resurface Glycolic Renewal Smoothing Lotion contains 10% glycolic acid, making it an excellent choice for those with oily or combination skin that are new to using AHA. They also have a cream version that would suit anyone with a drier skin type.

Want to step things up a little? They have 15% products too, like their NeoStrata Resurface Lotion Plus. You could then move on to NeoStrata Resurface High Potency Cream that contains 18% glycolic acid along with 2% lactobionic acid (a gentle, hydrating acid that works similarly to lactic acid). 


SkinCeuticals’ most potent AHA product is its award-winning Glycolic 10 Renew Overnight nightly treatment containing 10% glycolic acid. If you don’t have sensitive skin, you could use it every night (SkinCeuticals have tested its tolerability) to ensure you wake up to a more radiant, smoother and evenly-toned complexion. 

Another top AHA pick is SkinCeuticals Glycolic Renewal Cleanser. It contains 8% glycolic acid and, because it rinses off and isn’t left on your skin, can easily be used by all skin types, save for sensitive skin. 


Lamelle is known for its brilliant peels and has also included lactic acid in their very popular Luminesce Evening Glow Cream. It’s a wonderful pigmentation fighter thanks to melanin-inhibiting ingredients like niacinamide, arbutin and particular peptides. However, it also includes lactic acid to gentle speed up cellular turnover and fades away pigmentation without dehydrating or irritating your skin. 

Gently does it 

If you want to reveal fresher, brighter-looking skin, you’ll want an AHA product in your skincare regime. But just a word of warning. AHAs can make your skin more sensitive to the harmful effects of the sun. Meaning it’s a good idea to use high concentration AHAs at night and then protect your skin with a high sun protection factor (SPF) sunscreen when stepping outside. Also, contrary to popular belief, you can safely wear an AHA product during the day. But in this case, keep your percentage low and team it with a high SPF sunscreen. 

Ultimately, AHA products can serve up a host of benefits for your skin. Still, if you’re confused about which to choose? Pop into your nearest Skin Renewal branch to chat with any of our highly-skilled skincare therapists. They’ll be able to quickly assess your skin and recommend an ideal regime as well as which AHA products would suit you best. Get ready to be impressed by great results! 

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