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 how often should I be using PHA beauty products and what exactly are the differences between PHAs and AHA/BHAs.

Brands With PHAs Products

  • BABOR
  • Nuxe
  • Weleda
  • Exuviance
  • Comfort Zone
  • Balance Me
  • Revlon Professional
  • L'Anza

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47 products found
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
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
Bumble and bumble Surf Infusion
Bumble and bumble Surf Infusion
$29.00
Exuviance Gentle Cream Cleanser
Exuviance Gentle Cream Cleanser
$30.00
Nuxe Super Serum [10] The Universal Anti-Aging Concentrate
Nuxe Super Serum [10] The Universal Anti-aging Concentrate
$90.00
Exuviance Overnight Transformation Complex
Exuviance Overnight Transformation Complex
$48.00
Revlon Professional Equave Hydro Nutritive Detangling Conditioner
Revlon Professional Equave Hydro Nutritive Detangling Conditioner
$12.75
Exuviance Illuminating Oxygen Facial
Exuviance Illuminating Oxygen Facial
$65.00
-20%
Weleda Wild Rose Smoothing Night Cream
Weleda Wild Rose Smoothing Night Cream
$27.40 $34.20
Exuviance SkinRise Morning Glow
Exuviance SkinRise Morning Glow
$45.00
Comfort Zone Remedy Cream To Oil
Comfort Zone Remedy Cream To Oil
$39.00
Murad Hydration Perfecting Day Cream SPF 30
Murad Hydration Perfecting Day Cream SPF 30
$56.00
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
Revlon Professional Equave Instant Detangling Conditioner For Fine Hair
Revlon Professional Equave Instant Detangling Conditioner For Fine Hair
$12.75
-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
BABOR Doctor Babor Lifting Cellular: Youth Concentrate Bi-Phase
BABOR Doctor Babor Lifting Cellular: Youth Concentrate Bi-Phase
$41.35
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 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 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
PIXI Hydrating Milky Makeup Remover
PIXI Hydrating Milky Makeup Remover
$24.00
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
BABOR Repair Ampoule Concentrates Active Night
BABOR Repair Ampoule Concentrates Active Night
$40.00
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 Editor

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