Alpha Hydroxy Acids – what the hell are they?

Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs) are the bomb dot com when it comes to refining your skin. They exfoliate, hydrate and promote cell turn-over which leaves you with super smooth skin. If you have sensitive skin though – tread carefully. You definitely don’t want to overstimulate your skin. The main AHAs are Glycolic Acid, Citric Acid, Lactic Acid, and Mandelic Acid.

Glycolic Acid is derived from sugarcane. It’s made up of super small molecules which are able to penetrate the epidermis at a deeper level than any of the others. Glycolic is a great exfoliant – it works by breaking down the bonds between dead skin cells on the outer-most layer of the skin which contribute to clogged pores and a dull complexion. Long term use can reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and smooth out an uneven skin tone. At Esstudio Galleria, we offer a range of Glycolic Acid Treatments for both the face and body. We love La Clinica’s GlyC Refine range because it uses organic ingredients and leaves your skin as soft as a baby’s bum!

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Citric Acid is derived from a number of citrus fruits including lemons, limes, oranges and grapefruit. It is often used to adjust the pH of skin care products to allow other active ingredients to operate at their optimum capabilities. Like Glycolic Acid, Citric Acid also aid in cell-turnover and the refining of environmentally damaged skin, leaving you positively glowing!

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Remember how in History Class you learned that Cleopatra used to take baths in milk because she thought it made her skin softer? Turns out she wasn’t crazy! That was the effects of Lactic Acid kicking in and refining her skin’s texture and improving her hydration levels. It also promotes collagen production and helps even out skin tones and diminish acne scars! Can’t be bothered sitting in milk for a couple of hours every day? Don’t sweat it! there are plenty of moisturisers out there containing Lactic Acid to get you going!

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Mandelic Acid stems from bitter almonds. It has great antibacterial properties and is less harsh than Glycolic Acid meaning that it is a great option for those with sensitive skin! Like Glycolic, Mandelic Acid is great for sloughing off dead skin cells and reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

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Above all else, the one thing that always needs to be spot on is the pH of a product. Just bought a brand new 10% Glycolic Scrub with a pH of 9? Bad news, sweetheart. Your skin’s pH sits at around 5.5 – and your AHA product should sit between 2 and 5.5. If the products that you are using aren’t pH balanced to your skin you’ll be doing way more harm than good, regardless of what miracle-inducing ingredients are mixed together inside that tube.

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