Ingredient Focus: Alpha Hydroxy Acids
Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHA)
Alpha hydroxy acids, or AHAs, are commonly found in different concentrations in many products. The most commonly used alpha hydroxy acids are glycolic, lactic, malic, citric, and tartaric acids. Some of these acids are derived from fruit sources, particularly citrus fruits, apples and grapes. Some of the alpha hydroxy acids, such as glycolic acid, are found in sugar cane. Others, such as lactic acid, are found in milk.
These mild acids serve to remove the outer layer of dull skin and leave skin with a rejuvenated appearance. This exfoliating mechanism is critical to keeping skin healthy and beautiful. AHA’s are so effective at removing the outer layer that it does increase the sensitivity to sun. Thus, The FDA now requires that any product containing AHA’s have the following warning statement:
“Sunburn Alert: This product contains an alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) that may increase your skin’s sensitivity to the sun and particularly the possibility of sunburn. Use a sunscreen and limit sun exposure while using this product and for a week afterwards.”
AHA’s are some of the most effective exfoliants there are, and the fact that they can be derived from totally natural ingredients makes them a must have in any organic product.
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