What are PHAs?

You’ve almost certainly heard of AHAs. It’s likely you also know about BHAs. But are you aware of PHAs? Poly-hydroxy acids, known as PHAs, is the new kid on the block in the skincare world. 

PHAs are chemical exfoliants that even out skin tone and texture by exfoliating away dead skin cells. Compared to AHAs and BHAs, they have a larger molecular structure, so they take longer to penetrate the skin and also don’t penetrate as deeply. This means they work on resurfacing the top layers of the skin. As a result, this could mean the risk of sun damage is less after using a PHA than it is after using AHAs and BHAs. 

For some, chemical exfoliants are a big no-no, as they cause irritation. So, for those whose skin is too sensitive for AHAs and BHAs, then PHAs could be the answer. However, beware, as some skincare products even contain a combination of AHAs, BHAs, and PHAs. 

When you use PHAs at the start of your skincare routine, they help the products that follow to penetrate the skin so that they work more effectively. Unlike AHAs and BHAs, they can also be used in conjunction with retinol.

The most common types of PHAs are gluconolactone, galactosen and lactobionic acid. 

Benefits of PHAs

  1. Resurface the skin: As a chemical exfoliant, PHAs work to gently resurface the skin, leading to an even texture and tone. For those looking for that much coveted glowing complexion, PHAs could be the answer!
  2. Hydrating: PHAs are humectants, which means they attract water. This means they’re a good option for those with dry skin, as, ultimately, they have moisturizing properties.
  3. Balance: Another benefit of PHAs is that they help to balance sebum production, which means they’re beneficial for oily or acne-prone skin.
  4. Suitable for sensitive skin: Given that PHAs are a lot gentler on the skin than other chemical exfoliants, they’re a great option for sensitive skin sufferers who are looking for an exfoliant that will cause little to no irritation.
  5. Antioxidants: As if they don’t do enough already, PHAs also have antioxidant properties, which means they help to protect the skin against free radical damage.

PHAs can be found in a variety of products, from cleansers and toners to masks and moisturizers. If you’re a skincare brand that’s interested in using PHAs in your products, we can help you bring to life a high-quality formula with our contract manufacturing services.

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