Polyhydroxy Acid

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.

See our phas guide to answer your questions like how often should I be using PHA beauty products and what exactly are the differences between PHAs and AHA/BHAs.

Brands With PHAs Products

  • Lancôme
  • BABOR
  • Exuviance
  • Glow Recipe
  • Balance Me
  • L'Anza
  • Neutrogena
  • Ole Henriksen

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59 products found
Hum Nutrition Flatter Me
Hum Nutrition Flatter Me
$26.00
GLAMGLOW Superserum
GLAMGLOW Superserum
$65.00
La Mer The Renewal Oil
La Mer The Renewal Oil
$140.00
Dermalogica Phyto Nature Serum
Dermalogica Phyto Nature Serum
$145.00
Glow Recipe Watermelon Glow PHA + BHA Pore-Tight Toner
Glow Recipe Watermelon Glow PHA + BHA Pore-Tight Toner
$15.00
-49%
GUERLAIN Beaute Des Yeux Bi Phase Eye Makeup Remover
GUERLAIN Beaute Des Yeux Bi Phase Eye Makeup Remover
$28.55 $55.00
-16%
Decléor Green Mandarin Exfoliating Bi Phase Peel
Decléor Green Mandarin Exfoliating Bi Phase Peel
$39.00 $45.89
Kiehl's Daily Refining Milk Peel Toner
Kiehl's Daily Refining Milk Peel Toner
$47.00
Ole Henriksen 3 Mega Wonders
Ole Henriksen 3 Mega Wonders
$22.00
Neutrogena Skin Balancing Clay Cleanser For Oily Skin
Neutrogena Skin Balancing Clay Cleanser For Oily Skin
$10.79
Lancôme Bi-Facil Double-Action Eye Makeup Remover
Lancôme Bi-Facil Double-Action Eye Makeup Remover
$15.00
The INKEY List PHA Toner
The INKEY List PHA Toner
$11.99
L'Anza Healing Nourish Stimulating Conditioner
L'Anza Healing Nourish Stimulating Conditioner
$26.88
Nuxe Super Serum [10] The Universal Anti-Aging Concentrate
Nuxe Super Serum [10] The Universal Anti-aging Concentrate
$90.00
Neutrogena Skin Balancing Gel Cleanser
Neutrogena Skin Balancing Gel Cleanser
$10.79
Neutrogena Skin Balancing Milky Cleanser
Neutrogena Skin Balancing Milky Cleanser
$10.79
Neutrogena Bright Boost Brightening Gel Moisturizing Face Cream
Neutrogena Bright Boost Brightening Gel Moisturizing Face Cream
$26.69
Clarins Hydra Essentiel Intensive Moisture Quenching Bi Phase Serum
Clarins Hydra Essentiel Intensive Moisture Quenching Bi Phase Serum
$60.00
PIXI Hydrating Milky Makeup Remover
PIXI Hydrating Milky Makeup Remover
$24.00
Bumble and bumble Surf Infusion
Bumble and bumble Surf Infusion
$29.00
BABOR Repair Ampoule Concentrates Active Night
BABOR Repair Ampoule Concentrates Active Night
$40.00
-20%
Weleda Wild Rose Smoothing Night Cream
Weleda Wild Rose Smoothing Night Cream
$27.40 $34.20
Balance Me PHA Clarifying Mist
Balance Me PHA Clarifying Mist
$24.90
111SKIN Advent Calendar
111SKIN Advent Calendar
$420.00
Balance Me Pre & Probiotic Radiance Cream
Balance Me Pre & Probiotic Radiance Cream
$35.90
-45%
Exuviance Professional Total Correct Night
Exuviance Professional Total Correct Night
$38.35 $68.85
Regenerate Enamel Science Advanced Toothpaste
Regenerate Enamel Science Advanced Toothpaste
$11.50
Glow Recipe Fruit Babies 3.0
Glow Recipe Fruit Babies 3.0
$32.00
Clé de Peau Beauté Eye & Lip Makeup Remover
Clé de Peau Beauté Eye & Lip Makeup Remover
$60.00
BABOR Doctor Babor Lifting Cellular: Youth Concentrate Bi-Phase
BABOR Doctor Babor Lifting Cellular: Youth Concentrate Bi-Phase
$41.35
Glow Recipe Watermelon Glow Up Set
Glow Recipe Watermelon Glow Up Set
$49.00
Exuviance Age Reverse + Rebuild-5 Cream
Exuviance Age Reverse + Rebuild-5 Cream
$88.00
Lancôme Bi-Facil Face Makeup Remover
Lancôme Bi-Facil Face Makeup Remover
$40.00
Exuviance SkinRise Morning Glow
Exuviance SkinRise Morning Glow
$45.00
Exuviance Skin Caring BB Fluid SPF 50
Exuviance Skin Caring BB Fluid SPF 50
$42.00
Exuviance Radiance Serum
Exuviance Radiance Serum
$72.00
Exuviance Pore Clarifying Cleanser
Exuviance Pore Clarifying Cleanser
$34.00
Exuviance Overnight Transformation Complex
Exuviance Overnight Transformation Complex
$48.00
Exuviance Illuminating Oxygen Facial
Exuviance Illuminating Oxygen Facial
$65.00
Exuviance Gentle Cream Cleanser
Exuviance Gentle Cream Cleanser
$30.00
Exuviance Daily Oil Control Primer & Finish
Exuviance Daily Oil Control Primer & Finish
$43.00
Exuviance Daily Eye Smoother
Exuviance Daily Eye Smoother
$40.00
Exuviance Bright Eyes Dark Circle Corrector
Exuviance Bright Eyes Dark Circle Corrector
$60.00
Exuviance AntiRedness Calming Serum
Exuviance AntiRedness Calming Serum
$68.00
Exuviance Anti-Pollution Renewal Mask
Exuviance Anti-Pollution Renewal Mask
$65.00
Exuviance All-Out Revitalizing Eye Mask
Exuviance All-Out Revitalizing Eye Mask
$45.00
Exuviance Deep Clean AHA Cleanser
Exuviance Deep Clean AHA Cleanser
$30.00
Exuviance Age Reverse Night Lift
Exuviance Age Reverse Night Lift
$79.00
Exuviance Age Reverse Eye Contour
Exuviance Age Reverse Eye Contour
$80.00
Exuviance Performance Peel AP25
Exuviance Performance Peel AP25
$79.00
Lipstick Queen Altered Universe Lip Gloss
Lipstick Queen Altered Universe Lip Gloss
$22.00
L'Anza Healing Blonde Bright Blonde Shampoo
L'Anza Healing Blonde Bright Blonde Shampoo
$34.50
Exuviance Professional Vespera Bionic Serum
Exuviance Professional Vespera Bionic Serum
$41.35
BABOR HY-OL & Phytoactive Sensitive Gift Set
BABOR HY-OL & Phytoactive Sensitive Gift Set
$38.25
PHAs

Frequently Asked Questions about PHAs products

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.

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.

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 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.

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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