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Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs)

What are AHAs?

Alpha hydroxy acids are a group of natural or synthetic ingredients that, when properly formulated, can exfoliate the uppermost layers of skin. Doing so reveals fresher, refined skin that appears much smoother, is more hydrated, and, over time, becomes visibly firmer. There are many different types of AHAs.

Citric Acid

Citric acid comes from various citrus fruits but also can be made synthetically. Although in higher concentrations (around 10% and up), citric acid can exfoliate skin but can also be irritating to the skin due to its lower pH level of 2.  Citric Acid shows up in many hair and skin care products where it works as an antioxidant as well as a pH adjuster, keeping formulas within the pH range they need to be effective yet gentle.

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Glycolic Acid

Glycolic acid can penetrate the uppermost layers of built-up skin to reveal the better-looking skin hiding beneath. It also has a natural ability to hydrate skin and retaining moisture. When used with at other AHAs at concentrations of 5% and up, Glycolic Acid can help enhance skin’s look of firmness and resilience while softening other signs of sun damage.

Image by Nikolai Chernichenko

Malic Acid

This AHA can be derived from apples or produced synthetically. Malic acid is larger than glycolic and lactic acids and can be used to exfoliate, and it also delivers antioxidant benefits. Useful in leave-on exfoliants as well as rinse-off peels.


Lactic Acid

Lactic Acid works as an exfoliant and can be derived from milk. However, the synthetic form is used most often in skin care products because it is easier to stabilise and ensure consistent results. 

Image by Rajesh Rajput

Tartaric Acid

Tartaric is a mild naturally occurring fruit acid from grapes, bananas, tamarinds, and citrus. Tartaric acid is larger in size than malic acid and is nearly twice as large as glycolic acid. It does not dry out or damage the hair, helps provide more targeted exfoliation, as each size of AHA has its layer-by-layer benefits.

Image by Brooke Lark

What is Sodium Hyaluronate?

Sodium Hyaluronate derived (or extracted) from Hyaluronic Acid and is a powerful humectant that can easily penetrate the layers of the hair, by stimulating hair growth and softening and strengthening the hair.  It replenishes, moisturises, nourishes, and hydrates the hair and skin, and reduces dryness. 


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