Anything to do with 'acids' can set off alarm bells, but did you know that Alpha Hydroxy Acids, or AHAs, can actually be totally natural? These amazing ingredients come from natural fruits and sugars and are incredible in face masks, cleansers and exfoliators, so I've put together this guide to the different types of natural AHAs so you can choose the right one for you.
Guide to Natural Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs)
Have you heard of Alpha Hydroxy Acids? More commonly known as AHAs, they are amazing ingredients in natural skin care thanks to their brightening, stimulating and exfoliating abilities. But while the terminology makes AHAs sound like intimidating, manufactured ingredients, they are actually derived from many natural sources. Ideal for anyone with dull, tired or mature skin in need of a revival, Alpha hydroxy acids can be the perfect natural boost in any skincare regime. But how do AHAs work?
What are Alpha Hydroxy Acids?
AHAs, otherwise known as Alpha Hydroxy Acids, work to dissolve surface level dead and dry skin cells to leave you with a visibly brighter and smoother complexion. Known as 'chemical exfoliation', though the name sounds like aggressive, mainstream chemical peels, natural AHAs can be more gentle than a physical exfoliant, which manually scrub away dead skin using gritty ingredients. I know that anything to do with an acid can sound harsh, but AHAs are actually naturally derived!
Two different type of AHAs, Glycolic Acid and Lactic Acid, produced from sugars and enzymes are two of the most common AHAs found in natural skin care. Various types of natural fruit acids are also a great source of naturally occurring Alpha Hydroxy Acid. Fresh produce, such as Papaya, Lemon, Pineapple, Apple and even Pumpkin produce enzymes that can be used in natural AHA products. AHAs benefit skin by encouraging skin cell turnover and repair, helping to fade and reduce the appearance of scars, pigmentation and sun spots, making them great for all ages, including mature and acne prone skin. Acne prone skin can also make use of Beta Hydroxy Acids.
Natural Alpha Hydroxy Acid Exfoliators
The Beauty Chef Probiotic Skin Refiner
A long-time bestselling favourite, the The Beauty Chef Probiotic Skin Refiner contains fermented wholefoods, Probiotics and Lactic Acid which may help break down old skin cells, improve cell turnover and smooth and firm up the complexion. This liquid formula can applied to a cotton pad, swiped all over the face and left on the skin as a toner to work its magic. The formula can also boost collagen production to help plump and moisturise skin as well as Lactic Acid sloughing away dead skin, helping to unclog the pores of acne-prone skin.
Natural Alpha Hydroxy Acid Masks
Madara Brightening AHA Peel Mask
If you're after an instant brightening effect, you'll love the Madara Brightening AHA Peel Mask. This stimulating mask gets its AHA superpowers from active fruit acids, Vitamin C, Lactic Acid and soothing Elderflower to target dull and mature skin It may not only help fade age spots and pigmentation, but also encourage greater skin cell regeneration and turnover. To use, apply to the face, neck and décolletage for 5-10 minutes then remove to reveal fresh, bright and clear skin - the perfect AHA product for rapidly brightening skin before a big night out.
Andalou Naturals Brightening Pumpkin Honey Glycolic Mask
Another great brightener is the Andalou Naturals Brightening Pumpkin Honey Glycolic Mask. Pumpkin enzymes and Glycolic Acid work to melt away dry and dead skin cells, while Manuka Honey and Vitamin C soothe and brighten the skin's surface and even out tone and texture. Plumping and refining, it can be used by all skin types but is not recommended for very sensitive skin or those prone to redness.
Best natural AHA cleanser
100% Pure Berry Nectar Cleanser
If you want to continue enjoying the benefits of natural AHAs in other parts of your skin care routine, why not try an AHA cleanser? I love the 100% Pure Berry Nectar Cleanser as it relies on natural berry extracts from Strawberry, Raspberry, Blueberry and Green Apple to gently wash away makeup, bacteria and any impurities with gentle fruit enzymes without washing away those important natural oils. The thin consistency of this cleanser makes it ideal for use in conjunction with a Konjac sponge for a deeper cleanse.