AHAs 🌳

📸 : @aggie_cherrie saatchiart.com

#5 on our most researched products list… AHAs 🙌🏼

AHA stands for Alpha-Hydroxy Acid. Although the word ‘acid’ may seem scary😈, AHAs are nothing to fear💁🏻‍♀️. These acids are (when used correctly) more gentle than using a traditional ‘scrub’ to exfoliate. AHAs have benefits like reducing fine lines, evening out skin texture, reducing acne scarring, improving the appearance of pigmentation, and reducing inflammation✨. Just like BHAs, they are more gentle than a physical exfoliant and is Ksenia’s go-to👌🏻.

So what’s the difference between BHAs and AHAs🕵🏻‍♀️? AHAs are water-soluble and will act on the surface of the skin, while BHAs are oil-soluble, going deeper into the pores! Both act in very different ways, but the one left that differentiates them on a product makes it really confusing to understand the real difference🤦🏼‍♀️. In addition, AHAs can be confusing as they exist in different forms such as Glycolic Acid, Lactic Acid or Mandelic Acid🙃.


  • Reduce fine lines

  • Even out skin texture

  • Improve the appearance of pigmentation

  • Reduce inflammation

Which AHA is right for you?

  • Glycolic Acid: Best for mature skin to target fine lines and wrinkles, great for resurfacing.  But beware, although this AHA works the quickest and penetrates the deepest, it can also be one of the most irritating.  Suitable for normal to dry skin not reactive/sensitive. 

  • Lactic Acid: More gentle than Glycolic, can help to brighten skin, does have hydrating properties, but make sure when using this acid you are wearing your SUNSCREEN! Suitable for dry skin, but not reactive/sensitive skin. 

  • Mandelic Acid: Suitable for sensitive skin as it breaks down more slowly than Glycolic/Acid.  

  • Poly-Hydroxy Acids:  This is really its own category, but we are going to include it here as an alternative to AHAs if you have sensitive skin or a skin condition like rosacea.  As the second generation of AHAs, these acids are the most gentle and are best for very dry, reactive, skin. They hydrate and exfoliate at the same type (pretty genius we know).


  • AHAs are stimulating ingredients. Therefore, it is better to use them at night as they can make the skin more sensitive to the sun.

  • These can be mildly drying, so it is important to moisturise in conjunction.

  • Know your limits! If your skin gets red or burns, then remove the product immediately.

  • Always introduce slowly to your regime!

  • You must be aware of the formulation you are using. Anti-acne products will often be paired with alcohols…making them too aggressive and harsh for sensitive skin.


Can you combine Acids? For example Salicylic and Glycolic Acid ? 

It really depends on your skin! We wouldn’t recommend using an AHA or strong mix of acids on a young/delicate skin, as it can be both drying & irritating. 

The keratinocyte cycle of the skin (renewal of the skin surface) takes approximately, in a healthy skin, 28 days. As we age, this cycle takes more and more and time! This is why the mix of Acids, as well as the usage of retinoids, helps to boost skin’s regeneration process and “reactivate” this cycle. A mix of Acids can be very beneficial for mature skin, but not essential in young skins. We like the Dr. Dennis Gross AHA/BHA peel pads. 

Thoughts on the REN steady Glow Daily AHA Tonic? It says to use morning and night .

This product contains lactic Acid, which is a great Acid for sensitive skin. HOWEVER, using it twice daily could potentially irritate the skin overtime. Applying an acid on skin in the morning is similar to exfoliation - meaning that you are removing a layer of dead skin cells and therefore making your skin more “sensitive” to the sun, increasing the risk of photo damage. 

The skincare industry makes you believe that you absolutely need an AHA or BHA in your skincare routine. It is true that both can provide incredible benefits to your skin, but you have to know what your skin needs and apply accordingly. Otherwise, you could be stripping your skin from its vital nutrients and increase the risk of sensitivity and irritation.

If this product works on your skin, then that’s great! However, we wouldn’t recommend using it twice daily as mentioned before it could make your skin more sensitive throughout the day.

I’m allergic to Bakuchiol (swelling) what AHA would you recommend for a dry to combination skin? 

If you are searching for an alternative to bakuchiol, we would recommend trying a very gentle retinoid such as the Shani Darden Texture Reform or the Medik8t 3TR serum.

If you have a combination skin, we wouldn’t recommend the usage of an AHA but advise you try a product with low amounts of BHAs. BHAs exfoliate the skin into the pore to keep them clean. However, since you have a combination skin only use the BHA product on your oil prime areas as it could irritate the rest of your skin. If this is still too much, look for a PHA! 

PHAs, poly hydroxy acids are great for sensitive skin and exfoliate while also hydrating.