Ever since I was a child, I loved to make people feel and look beautiful.

Cheeky’s Guide to PHA’s

You may remember one of our latest posts on beta & alpha hydroxy acids. We’ve actually written about these bad boys a couple times, which I’ve referenced below just in case ya need a refresher. But basically, here’s a great summary:

AHA’s Basics – Dry, pigmented, acne (bumps), maturing skin

There are actually several different kinds of Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs). Glycolic acid being one of my most favorites (I’ve probably mentioned it 40 times by now)! Glycolic acid is derived from sugar cane or made synthetically in a lab and is actually the most common type of AHA.

AHA’s & specifically glycolic acid works by simply exfoliating. Yup, that’s it! Once applied, glycolic acid penetrates the top layer of the skin, weakening the goodies that hold the layers of skin down, allowing them to slough off smoothly and easily. And you know what that results in right!? Yup, smoother more evenly pigmented skin. In addition to removing dead skin cells, glycolic acid helps to bind water to the skin to increase skin hydration leading to a healthy glow.

BHA’s Basics – Acne, oily, large pores

Beta Hydroxy Acids (BHAs) are another class of goodies commonly used in skin care products. The best-known BHA, but not as popular as glycolic acid, is salicylic acid. More often than not, BHAs are used for people with acne-prone or oily skin types because of how well BHAs get deep into the pores to help remove blackheads, acne gunk & oil on the surface. So basically if you suffer from acne, BHAs should be your go-to!

How to Add Acids Into Your Routine!

What Are Alpha & Beta Hydroxy Acids?

But the title of this blog post contains neither BHA or AHA, so you may be thinking what’s the connection. In today’s post, we’re gonna be talking about their darling cousin, PHA. PHA’s is short for polyhydroxy acids. So clever, huh!? 😉 Let’s think of PHA’s as a direct decendent of the AHA’s of the world! That should help us get it straight. Plus, I’m pretty sure I have a learning disability in some capacity, so being able to relate things together certainly helps me remember ’em. While PHA is the new buzzword hitting the streets in 2019, you may not have heard of too many of them, like gluconolactone, galactose, and lactobionic acid.

What are PHA’s

PHAs work by exfoliating dead skin cells, resulting in a more even skin tone & overall better texture. PHA’s also help skin-care ingredients penetrate deeper into the layers of your skin. When this happens, that results in better efficacy for the other products that you’re using. And their benefits don’t just stop there…

PHA’s also help fight glycation (new word for me) which is a process that takes place when digested sugar actually attaches to the collagen in your skin, thus weakening it as well as the elastin in your skin. Plus, they’re full of all the good stuff our skin craves, like antioxidants which is something our bodies love for epidermal growth & repair.

Lastly, PHA’s are considered a humectant. Meaning they can retain moisture, and actually help hydrate the skin while gently exfoliating.

How are BHA’s, AHA’s & PHA’s different?

PHA’s are gonna be the least irritating of the group! The differences come down to the molecules within each acid group. PHA’s special molecules are really big and are unable unable to penetrate like BHA’s & AHA’s, BUT they kick ass on the surface of your skin without disrupting those deeper, more delicate layers. See!? Skincare can be so easy…. throw in some curse words, use normal human language & bada boom! We get it! Oh and since these PHA’s don’t penetrate deep into the skin, you’re not compromising your skin as much in UVA/UVB light exposure. Of course, wear your sunscreen, but your skin is surely not as sensitive to the damaging rays.

Will my skin love it?

Since this is considered such a basic & safe acid, most skin types can benefit greatly. Because BHA’s can be so invasive, those guys make your skin dry & irritated if used improperly (or even sometimes when used correctly) So if you have sensitive skin or you’re just starting out, PHA’s may be your jam. However, if you’re unsure which acid to use on your skin, just holler at yo girl!

#CheekyConfidential Anytime you’re working with acids in your routine, it’s important that you give them time to work on the skin before applying anything else. I’d say wait 3-5 minutes before applying your next product.

Top benefits

  • Improved rosacea symptoms
  • Less eczema flare-ups
  • Smoother skin
  • Less wrinkles & fine lines
  • Sensitive skin folks benefit greatly
  • More hydrated skin
  • Anti-inflammatory effects
  • Faster healing skin
  • Tighter & brighter skin

#CheekyConfidential Pair a PHA with your retinoid and you have a winning combination!

Our favorite PHA’s

Omorovicza Blue Diamond Resurfacing Peel

^ Not gonna try to pronounce….

‘Lactobionic acid provides a mild exfoliation to brighten complexion and stimulate cellular turnover without irritation.’

Neostrata Bionic Face Serum

‘Developed by dermatologists, it features lactobionic acid, a potent antioxidant that protects collagen and promotes firmness without irritating the skin. Together with pro-vitamins A, C and E, this lightweight formula provides intense moisturization while reducing the appearance of fine lines, pore size and hyperpigmentation.’

Make P:rem Radiance Peeling Booster

‘Radiance Peeling Booster is a watery, radiance-boosting daily hydrating toner that gently retextures skin with exfoliating PHA while calming and hydrating.’

Bakel Antioxidant Serum

‘Bakel Antioxidant Serum restores, rejuvenates, tones and tightens the face, neck, eyes and chest area with an innovative complex of 3 anti-aging ingredients. Antioxidant-rich lactobionic acid neutralizes free radicals and promotes firmness while hydrating vegetable glycerin revives dull, dry skin. Toning gluconolactone protects skin from environmental aggressors for a radiant and revitalized complexion.’

Images & some information provided by their respective brands. 

I’ve looked high and low and these were my favorites. Have a PHA in mind that you’re considering, hit me up! I’ll take a look.

Leave a Reply