AHAs, BHAs, and PHAs, these are new skincare jargons that could be unfamiliar if you’re just starting in your skincare journey. Commonly known as acids that are found in chemical peels, the thought of it going on your skin may sound scary but with the right products, these can change your your skin for the better!

Here’s a short glossary we got from Paula’s Choice:

  • Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs): They can be derived naturally from various plant sources and from milk, but 99% of the AHAs used in cosmetics are synthetically derived. The most effective and well-researched AHAs are glycolic acid and lactic acid, then occasionally you’ll find products with Malic acid, citric acid, and tartaric acid too. Depending on the concentration of the AHAs, it could cause skin sensitivity to certain skin types. However, it’s widely used for improving signs of aging, dry skin and an uneven skin tone, all of which lead to younger-looking skin.
  • Beta Hydroxy Acids (BHAs): BHA is the structural name for salicylic acid and is completely unrelated to the preservative ingredient BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole). Salicylic acid has the ability to penetrate into the pore lining and exfoliate inside the pore as well as on the surface of skin, it is especially effective for reducing breakouts, including blackheads and whiteheads. It also has soothing and hydrating properties.
  • Polyhydroxy Acids (PHAs): Most common PHAs are Gluconolactone and lactobionic acid  which are chemically and functionally similar to AHAs but the difference is that those two have larger molecular structures, which limits their ability to penetrate the skin, resulting in less potential for sensitizing side-effects. These can also function as antioxidants and may promote some amount of improvement in skin’s surface strength. Hence, it’s claimed PHAs are the gentler acids and is better for sensitive skin.

In short, AHAs, BHAs, and PHAs are chemical exfoliators that are great for reducing dead skin cells, blackheads, whiteheads, acne, uneven skin tone which in turn gives your smoother skin and helps your following skincare absorb better into your skin. Since physical exfoliators could cause micro tears to your skin if the scrub granules have a sharp surface, the more safer approach are chemical exfoliators. Start by gradually using once a week to see how your skin reacts to it, and most importantly, wear SPF 30 and higher especially after using a chemical peel.

We have 7 #PamperPicks of the latest AHAs, BHAs, and PHAs products that you can check out to explore this ap-peeling category of exfoliating skincare.

1.Sephora Collection Glow Peel Pads, RM72 for 60 pieces (AHA)

Formulated with 96% ingredients from natural origin, these Sephora Collection glow peel pads contain natural glycolic acid and peptides to exfoliate and smooth the skin in the simplest way. It also contains Natural aloe vera to soothe your skin. Clinically proven for sensitive skin, these pads are formulated without animal-based raw materials and come in an Eco-design packaging (86% of the plastic in this jar is made from sugar cane residuals). Find it here.

2.Nightlabs 11 Berries Peeling Gel, RM89 (AHA)

This peeling gel is formulated with extracts from 11 types of berries (Blackberry, Blueberry, Strawberry, Cranberry, Acai Berry, Bilberry, Lingonberry, Goji Berry, White Mulberry, Golden Himalayan Raspberry) and natural exfoliants to effectively remove dead skin and moisturise it to make your skin brighter and softer. Find it at Sasa stores nationwide.

3.Biossance Squalane + Glycolic Renewal Facial, Price unavailable (AHA)

This skin refining peel, exfoliator & mask-in-one contains fine mineral spheres and super hydrators that work in minutes to leave skin smooth and bright with healthy-looking radiance. With AHAs blend such as Glycolic, lactic, malic and tartaric acids, this 3-in-1 product helps to renew and brighten your skin. It’s dermatologist tested, cruelty free, vegan, and EWG VERIFIED™ so this is an earth-friendly product. Find it at Sephora.my.

4.Neogen Deep Clear Bright Calming Peeling Gel, RM52 (PHA)

Credits: hermo.my

With Centella and its hypoallergenic formula, this cellulose-free clear peeling gel is suitable for sensitive skin because its formulated with a natural PHA ingredient called Bio Honey Acids™. This brightens, evens out and improves your skin tone without drying out the skin, leaving the skin supple and moist. It also contains Cica and Tea tree ingredients to soothe while improving skin elasticity. Find it here.

5.The Inkey List Beta Hydroxy Acid, RM50 (BHA)

This BHA serum has an oil soluble molecules that can penetrate deep into pores rather than acting at surface level to gently remove dry skin cells and de-clog pores to make skin appear brighter and feel smooth. This highly efficient serum contains both anti-inflammatory benefits and anti-bacterial properties which help to keep the skin clean, calm and prevent future breakouts. It contains:

  • 2% Salicylic Acid helps gently exfoliate the skin and inside pores
  • 1% Zinc Salt compound that helps to reduce excess sebum
  • 1% Low Molecular Hyaluronic Acid to help hydrate and avoid dry skin.

Find it on Sephora.my.

6.innisfree Green Barley Peeling Toner, RM60 (AHA)

The new Green Barley Peeling Toner draws its potency from green barley vinegar, made from the fermentation of chemical-free green barley cultivated on Gapa Island in Jeju. The vinegar contains three AHAs that are excellent exfoliators to help smooth and clarify skin.
This toner is especially effective for dehydrated, yet still oily skin. When your skin is dehydrated, it naturally produces excess sebum to prevent further moisture-loss. This
product combats this issue with its fast working, watery formula that contains essential ingredients for gentle exfoliation, hydration and soothing. It also contains a low molecular weight hyaluronic acid which helps to quench the inner skin’s thirst. It has been hypoallergenic and eye irritation tested. Find it at innisfree stores nationwide.

7.Peter Thomas Roth PEPTIDE 21™ Amino Acid Exfoliating Peel Pads (60 Pads) – RM225 (AHA & BHA)

Packed with peptide-building Amino Acids and a 20% Exfoliating Complex, these peel pads help exfoliate your skin for a natural glow and prepare it for peptide treatment products. Amino Acids help optimize absorption of peptide treatments applied after use, while a powerful 20% Exfoliating Complex of Phytic Acid, Salicylic Acid and Sodium Lactate exfoliates to help reduce the look of pores, uneven skin tone, texture, fine lines and wrinkles. Then you have Vitamins A and E deliver antioxidant benefits, while Chamomile and Green Tea help calm and soothe your skin’s appearance. You’ll be left with skin looking younger, radiant, smooth and revitalized. Find it at Sephora stores.

Will you be adding AHAs, BHAs, or PHAs to your skincare routine?