All about PHA

All about PHA

It’s not a PHAse, we promise

If you are well versed in the world of skincare acids, you have most definitely come across PHAs, otherwise known as Polyhydroxy acids. PHAs are naturally occurring polymers. There are three commonly known skincare acids: AHA, BHA and PHA. All of them serve their purpose when it comes to skin exfoliation. This means they clean the skin by removing dead skin cells or clearing the pores. All three acids are all chemical exfoliants which work in slightly different ways. The table below briefly goes into the main differences between AHA, BHA, and PHA and how they work.


Acid How it works


Alpha Hydroxy Acids work by removing dead skin cells from the top layer of your skin to make way for renewed, brighter skin


Beta Hydroxy Acids work by penetrating and clearing the pores of dead skin and bacteria to purify the skin


Poly Hydroxy Acids also remove dead skin cells from the skin, leading to a smoother and brighter complexion

So what makes PHA different from AHA?

The key difference is in the molecular structure of the acids. PHA molecules are much larger than AHA molecules and therefore do not penetrate as deeply into the skin. This means that PHA has a more gradual and gentle exfoliating effect on the skin, working primarily on the outer layers of the skin. PHA also has antioxidant properties, meaning it fights the effects of free radicals.


Because of their more gradual and gentle effect, PHAs are most effective in products that are left on the skin for some time. This allows time for the skin to absorb the PHA and reap the benefits of the acid.


Key Benefits of PHA

PHA has a number of great benefits for the skin. Firstly, it dissolves and exfoliates dead skin cells from the surface of the skin, helping to promote the regeneration of skin cells and cell turnover. This makes way for newer skin cells and a brighte, rejuvenated complexion. PHA also has humectant properties, meaning it attracts water and provides moisturization for the skin. On top of that, PHA also has antioxidant properties, meaning they can help to fight the effects of free radicals and prevent signs of aging.


Girl looking in the mirror applying skincare to her cheek

Are there side effects?

PHA is not known to have many side effects, as the acid itself is very gentle and doesn’t penetrate deeply into the skin, mostly working on washing away the dirt and dead skin cells on the surface. However, as with any skincare product, it is always safe to do a patch test to see if your skin reacts to the ingredient.


texture  shot of  a thick, clear gel on white background


We hope this blog has given you some insight into the benefits of PHA and has given you an idea of if you are going to include it as part of your skincare routine. And if you are, keep your eyes peeled as we have some very exciting news coming up for summer..

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