Polyhydroxy Acid

With a name like polyhydroxy acids (PHAs), it's no wonder that some of us are a little confused when it comes to knowing exactly what these key skin care ingredients do. But it's not as confusing as you may think. Essentially, these third-generation acids encourage mild peeling to gently strip away the surface layer of skin, revealing a healthier complexion beneath.

See our phas guide to answer your questions like what are PHAs and what do they do and what are the skin care benefits of PHAs.

Brands With PHAs Products

  • BABOR
  • Exuviance
  • Decléor
  • Paula's Choice
  • L'Anza
  • Medik8
  • NeoStrata
  • Davines

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126 products found
Paula's Choice Skin Balancing Oil-Reducing Cleanser
Paula's Choice Skin Balancing Oil-Reducing Cleanser
£20.79
Sculpted by Aimee Connolly Matte Finish Second Skin Foundation
Sculpted by Aimee Connolly Matte Finish Second Skin Foundation
£22.50
-25%
Nourkrin Woman
Nourkrin Woman
£97.95 £129.99
-20%
Dermalogica Phyto Nature Serum
Dermalogica Phyto Nature Serum
£104.95 £130.00
-15%
Comfort Zone Remedy Cream To Oil
Comfort Zone Remedy Cream To Oil
£22.95 £27.00
-10%
First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Hydra-Firm Night Cream
First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Hydra-Firm Night Cream
£31.62 £35.00
-7%
NIOD Flavanone Mud
NIOD Flavanone Mud
£29.12 £31.00
-6%
Weleda Wild Rose Smoothing Night Cream
Weleda Wild Rose Smoothing Night Cream
£23.51 £24.75
-6%
Mesoestetic Ultimate Micropeel
Mesoestetic Ultimate Micropeel
£47.49 £49.99
-3%
Murad Hydration Perfecting Day Cream SPF 30
Murad Hydration Perfecting Day Cream SPF 30
£41.75 £42.65
-38%
Alpha-H Protection Plus Daily Moisturiser SPF 50+ With Pomegranate Seed Oil
Alpha-H Protection Plus Daily Moisturiser SPF 50+ With Pomegranate Seed Oil
£24.97 £39.95
-35%
Wet Brush Pro Shine Enhancer
Wet Brush Pro Shine Enhancer
£6.95 £10.59
-33%
Pestle & Mortar Glow Drops
Pestle & Mortar Glow Drops
£23.72 £35.00
-17%
System Professional Colour Save Bi-Phase Conditioner
System Professional Colour Save Bi-Phase Conditioner
£20.95 £25.00
-16%
NeoStrata Mandelic Mattifying Serum
NeoStrata Mandelic Mattifying Serum
£28.50 £33.60
-7%
Pestle & Mortar Vitamin C 2 Phase Serum
Pestle & Mortar Vitamin C 2 Phase Serum
£63.33 £68.00
-11%
NeoStrata Tri-Therapy Lifting Serum
NeoStrata Tri-Therapy Lifting Serum
£71.25 £80.00
-6%
Nuxe Super Serum [10] The Universal Anti-Ageing Concentrate
Nuxe Super Serum [10] The Universal Anti-Ageing Concentrate
£56.62 £60.00
-8%
NeoStrata Exfoliating Wash
NeoStrata Exfoliating Wash
£30.40 £33.00
-6%
CosRx AC Collection Calming Liquid Mild
CosRx AC Collection Calming Liquid Mild
£26.59 £28.00
-6%
Exuviance Radiance Serum
Exuviance Radiance Serum
£58.89 £61.99
-6%
Mesoestetic Dermamelan Intimate Home Depigmenting Gel Cream
Mesoestetic Dermamelan Intimate Home Depigmenting Gel Cream
£80.74 £84.99
-6%
Exuviance Overnight Transformation Complex
Exuviance Overnight Transformation Complex
£40.84 £42.99
-6%
Mesoestetic Micellar Biphasic
Mesoestetic Micellar Biphasic
£41.79 £43.99
-5%
R+Co Dream House Cold Pressed Watermelon Wave Spray
R+Co Dream House Cold Pressed Watermelon Wave Spray
£23.75 £25.00
-5%
Oskia The Good Skin Edit
Oskia The Good Skin Edit
£41.80 £44.00
-5%
NeoStrata PHA Eye Cream
NeoStrata PHA Eye Cream
£34.20 £36.00
-5%
NeoStrata Bionic Lotion
NeoStrata Bionic Lotion
£38.00 £40.00
-5%
NeoStrata Dermal Replenishment
NeoStrata Dermal Replenishment
£57.00 £60.00
-5%
NeoStrata Cellular Restoration
NeoStrata Cellular Restoration
£52.25 £55.00
-5%
NeoStrata Sheer Physical Protection SPF 50
NeoStrata Sheer Physical Protection SPF 50
£28.50 £30.00
-5%
NeoStrata Mandelic Clarifying Cleanser
NeoStrata Mandelic Clarifying Cleanser
£25.65 £27.00
-5%
NeoStrata Problem Dry Skin Cream
NeoStrata Problem Dry Skin Cream
£28.50 £30.00
-5%
NeoStrata High Potency Cream
NeoStrata High Potency Cream
£34.20 £36.00
-5%
NeoStrata PHA Facial Cleanser
NeoStrata PHA Facial Cleanser
£26.60 £28.00
-5%
Medik8 r-Retinoate Youth Activating Cream Day & Night Eye Serum
Medik8 r-Retinoate Youth Activating Cream Day & Night Eye Serum
£90.25 £95.00
-5%
Medik8 Intelligent Retinol 10TR
Medik8 Intelligent Retinol 10TR
£44.65 £47.00
-5%
NeoStrata Redness Neutralising Serum
NeoStrata Redness Neutralising Serum
£49.40 £52.00
-5%
NeoStrata Dark Spot Corrector
NeoStrata Dark Spot Corrector
£28.50 £30.00
-5%
NeoStrata Bionic Face Serum
NeoStrata Bionic Face Serum
£42.75 £45.00
-5%
Medik8 r-Retinoate Youth Activating Cream Intense
Medik8 r-Retinoate Youth Activating Cream Intense
£204.25 £215.00
-2%
Clarins Hydra Essentiel Intensive Moisture Quenching Bi Phase Serum
Clarins Hydra Essentiel Intensive Moisture Quenching Bi Phase Serum
£35.48 £35.95
The INKEY List PHA Toner
The INKEY List PHA Toner
£11.62
Osmo Deep Moisture Dual Action Miracle Repair
Osmo Deep Moisture Dual Action Miracle Repair
£7.95
Exuviance SkinRise Morning Glow
Exuviance SkinRise Morning Glow
£38.94
Exuviance Skin Caring BB Fluid SPF 50
Exuviance Skin Caring BB Fluid SPF 50
£40.84
Exuviance Pore Clarifying Cleanser
Exuviance Pore Clarifying Cleanser
£34.19
Exuviance Illuminating Oxygen Facial
Exuviance Illuminating Oxygen Facial
£54.14
Exuviance Gentle Cream Cleanser
Exuviance Gentle Cream Cleanser
£33.24
Exuviance Daily Eye Smoother
Exuviance Daily Eye Smoother
£38.94
Exuviance Bright Eyes Dark Circle Corrector
Exuviance Bright Eyes Dark Circle Corrector
£60.79
Exuviance Anti-Pollution Renewal Mask
Exuviance Anti-Pollution Renewal Mask
£54.14
Exuviance Deep Clean AHA Cleanser
Exuviance Deep Clean AHA Cleanser
£31.34
Exuviance Age Reverse Night Lift
Exuviance Age Reverse Night Lift
£66.49
Exuviance Age Reverse Eye Contour
Exuviance Age Reverse Eye Contour
£61.74
Paula's Choice Skin Recovery Super Antioxidant Concentrate Serum With Retinol
Paula's Choice Skin Recovery Super Antioxidant Concentrate Serum With Retinol
£32.46
Guinot Sun Logic Water Bi-Phase Spray Body SPF 15
Guinot Sun Logic Water Bi-Phase Spray Body SPF 15
£29.95
Comfort Zone First Class Hydra Kit
Comfort Zone First Class Hydra Kit
£47.95
Thalgo Iles Pacifique Island Body Scrub
Thalgo Iles Pacifique Island Body Scrub
£36.95
Bondi Sands Buff N Polish Chemical Exfoliant
Bondi Sands Buff N Polish Chemical Exfoliant
£10.79
Paula's Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Lotion Exfoliant
Paula's Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Lotion Exfoliant
£29.96
Exuviance AntiRedness Calming Serum
Exuviance AntiRedness Calming Serum
£56.99
Bioderma Biphase Lipo Alcoolique Barrier Hand Care Double Action
Bioderma Biphase Lipo Alcoolique Barrier Hand Care Double Action
£8.00
Zelens PHA+ Resurfacing Facial Pad
Zelens PHA+ Resurfacing Facial Pad
£71.67
NeoStrata Bionic Face Cream
NeoStrata Bionic Face Cream
£38.00
Medik8 Sleep Glycolic
Medik8 Sleep Glycolic
£35.15
BeautyBio R45 The Reversal
BeautyBio R45 The Reversal
£120.00
Murad Hydration Refreshing Cleanser
Murad Hydration Refreshing Cleanser
£30.79
John Frieda Brilliant Brunette Colour Protecting Shampoo
John Frieda Brilliant Brunette Colour Protecting Shampoo
£5.30
John Frieda Brilliant Brunette Colour Protecting Conditioner
John Frieda Brilliant Brunette Colour Protecting Conditioner
£5.30
FOREO ESPADA BHA+PHA Blemish Solution
FOREO ESPADA BHA+PHA Blemish Solution
£29.90
-33%
GLAMGLOW Superserum
GLAMGLOW Superserum
£22.90 £33.95
-25%
The INKEY List Caffeine Stimulating Scalp Treatment
The INKEY List Caffeine Stimulating Scalp Treatment
£11.29 £14.99
-15%
Ole Henriksen PHAT Glow Facial
Ole Henriksen PHAT Glow Facial
£37.40 £44.00
Balance Me PHA Clarifying Mist
Balance Me PHA Clarifying Mist
£16.20
Goop G.Tox Himalayan Salt Scalp Scrub Shampoo
Goop G.Tox Himalayan Salt Scalp Scrub Shampoo
£38.00
Glow Recipe Watermelon Glow PHA + BHA Pore-Tight Toner
Glow Recipe Watermelon Glow PHA + BHA Pore-Tight Toner
£14.00
Charlotte Tilbury Super Radiance Resurfacing Facial
Charlotte Tilbury Super Radiance Resurfacing Facial
£52.00
La Mer The Renewal Oil
La Mer The Renewal Oil
£105.00
Weleda Sea Buckthorn Revitalising Body Lotion
Weleda Sea Buckthorn Revitalising Body Lotion
£13.46
111SKIN Advent Calendar
111SKIN Advent Calendar
£300.00
L'Anza Give The Gift Of Brighter Blondes Set
L'Anza Give The Gift Of Brighter Blondes Set
£47.50
Schwarzkopf Professional BC Bonacure Moisture Kick Spray Conditioner
Schwarzkopf Professional BC Bonacure Moisture Kick Spray Conditioner
£12.60
Balance Me Pre & Probiotic Radiance Cream
Balance Me Pre & Probiotic Radiance Cream
£23.40
Elemental Herbology Vital Glow Overnight Resurfacing Cream
Elemental Herbology Vital Glow Overnight Resurfacing Cream
£65.00
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PHAs

Frequently Asked Questions about PHAs products

What are PHAs and what do they do?

PHAs are a skin care trend that have taken 2018 by storm, and are just as effective (but less irritable) than their brother and sister exfoliating acids, AHAs and BHAs. PHAs gently break down that top layer of skin to reveal a vibrant finish.

A larger molecular structure means that they are less able than AHAs and BHAs to penetrate the skin – but this doesn't mean you're missing out. Instead of penetrating, PHAs dissolve the protein bond that keeps dead skin attached to your face, treating you to a revived texture.

What are the skin care benefits of PHAs?

The list is almost endless with this one. As PHAs have the ability to dissolve dead skin cells, the complexion is left looking and feeling noticeably brighter. Better still, PHAs are known to improve the skin's hydration levels due to their ability to attract moisture. Softer skin and a surge of hydration? We're sold.

Who should use PHA beauty products?

PHAs are suitable for most skin types, but if you suffer from acne then you may want to seek out more penetrative treatments, such as salicylic acid.

What other ingredients/products go well with PHAs?

Due to their gentle nature, PHAs can be mixed with other key skin care staples. When done properly, mixing PHAs with AHAs provides an out-of-this-world glow. Equally, mixing PHAs with 1% vitamin A can reduce pigmentation and generally brighten up your skin.

As with anything in life, it is important to not overuse these skin care acids, so bear in mind that the potency of formulas increases when you blend multiple acids.

How often should I be using PHA beauty products?

It's worth considering what form the PHAs are in. Toners, cleansers and serums often have a low concentration of PHAs, making these products safe to be used pretty much every day. However, we recommend always listening to your skin's demands above anything else.

Are there any drawbacks/side effects of PHAs?

The gentle stripping properties of PHAs can make skin more sensitive to UVA rays, making it paramount that you wear SPF daily.

What exactly are the differences between PHAs and AHA/BHAs?

It all comes down to the molecular structures. AHAs and BHAs tend to enter the skin's surface more aggressively because of their smaller molecules, which can quickly penetrate the skin. However, the larger molecules that belong to PHAs can't infiltrate the skin's surface quite so intensely, making them a softer alternative for sensitive skin.

As an eczema sufferer, can I use PHA-based beauty products?

As always, it's best to try out a patch test before committing to a regular routine. However, clinical studies have found PHAs to be compatible with very dry skin conditions, including eczema.

Hannah Liddle

Written by Hannah Liddle, Beauty Writer

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