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PHAs 101: What are they and how do they benefit the skin

Published on:1 June 2021, 14:58pm IST
PHAs or polyhydroxy acids are powerful exfoliating agents that will help you get a smooth and radiant skin tone.
Grace Bains
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Exfoliate your skin with PHAs! Image courtesy: Shutterstock
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There are numerous skincare regimes and products available at our disposal that can help with achieving brighter and wrinkle-free skin. And, if you are someone who likes to care for their skin, then you already know about the exfoliating powers of alpha-hydroxy acids (AHA) and beta hydroxy acids (BHA). PHA, short for polyhydroxy acids, is also an exfoliating acid that can help you get healthier and radiant skin.

What is pha

PHAs are an exfoliating acid that helps hydrate the skin and enhances skin cell regeneration. These properties are effective in reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Moreover, compared to other exfoliating ingredients such as AHAs and BHAs, they do not irritate the skin to a large extent. PHAs exfoliate the skin by removing dead skin cells on the surface and providing an even skin tone. PHAs are a group of plant and animal-derived acids that help reveal fresher, hydrated and refined skin.

PHAs help to exfoliate the skin. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

PHAs are found in a variety of skincare products such as serums and toners that are based on citric acids. However, ensure that you consult a doctor before using PHA based products, in case you want to use it on freshly shaved skin, areas with cuts or burns or if you notice rosacea (redness), psoriasis (bumpy red patches covered with white scales) or eczema (rashes) on your skin.

What’s the difference between PHA, AHA and BHA?

PHAs are different from other exfoliating acids such as AHAs and BHAs as they work better for people with sensitive skin. Additionally, the molecules of PHAs are much larger than AHAs and BHAs, and hence cannot be penetrated deeply, thereby not disturbing the deep layers of your skin.

How can PHA benefit the skin?
  1. Ideal for people with sensitive skin

PHAs are less likely to irritate your skin due to their bigger molecular size, anti-inflammatory properties and surface-level penetration. Therefore, people with sensitive skin or conditions such as rosacea or eczema can tolerate it and enjoy its benefits.

Use PHAs to maintain a healthy and glowing skin. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

2. Keeps the skin hydrated and reduces damage

PHAs ward off ‘glycation’, a process where digested sugar permanently attaches to the collagen in your skin, which can weaken it and adversely impact elastin levels. Also, this exfoliating agent is rich in antioxidants and hence promotes epidermal growth and repair. PHAs are humectants, hence they retain moisture and help you have a glowing look on your face.

3. Exfoliates the skin

This is the star property of PHAs as they prevent dead skin cell accumulation and protects your skin from wrinkles, age spots and acne. PHAs ensure that dead skin cells are broken down and new skin is generated, making the skin appear brighter and radiant. They also help promote collagen production, which is a protein-rich fiber that helps keep your skin smooth.

4. Fights acne

Acne breakouts happen when skin pores are clogged with a combination of dead skin cells, oil (sebum) and bacteria. Hence, PHAs exfoliating properties can help loosen and remove the dirt and may reduce the size of enlarged pores.

PHAs can help you reduce breakouts. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

5. Improves skin texture

PHAs are also known for their anti-ageing effects that can improve overall skin texture. Additionally, skin discolouration as a result of sun exposure can also be managed by PHAs as they promote skin cell turnover as the new cells generated are evenly pigmented.

Ladies, consider including PHAs in your skincare regime and get ready for a smooth and glowing skin tone.

Grace Bains Grace Bains

Grace is someone who likes writing enough to make a living out of it. When she isn’t writing, you will find her having chai and reading a book.