What is all this fuss about AHAs for skincare? A dermatologist opines

Dermatologist, Dr Nivedita Dadu explains everything about AHAs for skincare and it's side effects. Check it out
What is all this fuss about AHAs for skincare? A dermatologist opines
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Alpha-hydroxy acids are a group of acids derived from plants and animals used in a variety of skincare products. These include many anti-ageing products that are used daily, such as serums, toners, and creams, as well as concentrated treatments via chemical peels. AHA is a water-soluble acid.  Alpha-hydroxy acids are very helpful for skincare routine because they peel away the surface of the skin to get cleaner looking skin. AHA is also known to get deep into the pores of the skin and repair the skin by regenerating the cells. They are also known as chemical compounds which can be created naturally or synthetically and are considered chemical exfoliants. 

Usage and benefits for Skin:

AHAs can go on the surface layer of the skin for new cells to regenerate, they reveal a radiant and even-toned complexion. They exfoliate dead cells, grime, dark spots, fine lines and enlarged pores. It is used to reveal even toned skin that is clear of blemishes and wrinkles that are not situated deeply within the skin's structure. 

Mild Pigmentation - Pigmentation can appear on the skin after severe sun exposure or dehydration. Flat brown spots, known as age spots, may develop as a result of sun exposure. They tend to develop in areas that are most often exposed to the sun, such as your chest, hands, and face. AHA can be used to minimize and correct these discolourations on the skin. AHAs promote skin cell turnover. New skin cells are evenly pigmented. 

Uneven skin tone  - AHA products help to repair the skin and take care of it by helping you get an even skin tone. 

Enlarged Pores - Enlarged pores are depressions on the skin. They mainly occur from eccrine and sebaceous glands that make the skin look sticky and give you an unkempt look. 

Exfoliate the Skin - AHAs are primarily used to exfoliate the skin. Exfoliation is a process where the skin cells on the surface shed off. This helps remove dead skin cells and generate new skin cells. With age, our natural skin cell cycle slows down, which can make dead skin cells build-up. Too many dead skin cells can accumulate and make the complexion look dull.

Brighten skin - When AHA acids exfoliate the skin, dead skin cells are broken down. The new skin is brighter and more radiant. AHAs with glycolic acid can help break down skin cell accumulation, while products with citric acid can brighten the skin even further.

Promote collagen production - Collagen is a protein-rich fibre that helps keep the skin plump and smooth. With age, these fibres break down. Sun damage may also accelerate collagen destruction. This can result in a sallow, sagging appearance of the skin. When the upper layer of the skin is removed, AHAs can go to work on the dermis. It helps to promote the production of collagen by destroying old collagen fibres to make way for new ones.

Reduce the appearance of surface lines and wrinkles - AHAs are known for their anti-ageing effects. AHAs can cause significant improvements in overall skin texture. 

Boost blood flow to the skin - AHAs have anti-inflammatory properties that can help promote blood flow to the skin. This can help correct pale, dull complexions. Proper blood circulation to the skin also ensures that skin cells get the necessary nutrients needed via oxygen-rich red blood cells.

Prevent acne - Benzoyl peroxide and other acne-fighting ingredients present in AHAs helps to treat blemishes. Acne pimples occur when your pores are clogged with a combination of dead skin cells, sebum, and bacteria. Exfoliating the skin with AHAs can help to loosen and remove the clog.

Side Effects of using Alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs)on skin:

Usage of AHAs can cause minor side effects especially when somebody has not used it before.  Side effects may include burning, itching, blisters and dermatitis (eczema). But all these side effects are temporary. So, before using AHAs we need to take some precautions such as usage of extra caution when going out in the sun. The peeling effects of highly-concentrated AHAs may make the skin more sensitive to UV rays. Wear sunscreen daily and reapply moisturizers more frequently to prevent sunburn.

Also Read: Pimples to oily skin: 5 Things every teenager should know about their skincare routine

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