Polyhydroxy Acids vs AHAs

What is PHA?

Polyhydroxy acids are ingredients such as gluconolactone and lactobionic acid. They’re supposed to be as effective as AHAs, but less sensitizing. PHAs, also known as polyhydroxy acids, are the newest acid to take over ingredients lists and news feeds all over the beauty world. “PHAs (Poly-hydroxy acids) fall under the AHA family. They are much larger in size compared to the more common AHAs like glycolic and lactic acids.

Because of their larger structure, PHAs do not penetrate as deeply into the skin but rather work on the outer layers of the skin. PHAs tend to be less sensitizing and gentler as compared to other chemical exfoliants. PHAs are used on the skin for its exfoliating, skin smoothing, moisturizing, and anti-aging benefits… PHA may be a good alternative in patients with sensitive skin, including those with rosacea and eczema, who cannot tolerate AHAs and BHAs.


PHAs (polyhydroxy acids like lactobionic acid) are similar to alpha-hydroxyacids but they are more superficial—acting and less irritating.  A dry, sensitive skin type with pigment and a little sun damage, for example, might use PHAs followed by moisturizer (or combined) to brighten, smooth, hydrate and plump the skin quickly.



MAIN BENEFITS: Repairs skin, exfoliates away dead skin, reduces the appearance of skin damage.

WHO SHOULD USE IT: PHAs are usually safe for all skin types, but especially for those with oily or acne-prone skin.

HOW OFTEN CAN YOU USE IT: To start, try using PHAs three times a week. You can use it in the form of a toner, a face wash, or even a serum.

WORKS WELL WITH: Other acids in low concentrations.

DON’T USE WITH: Other acids in very high concentrations, retinoids if you’re particularly sensitive.

How to Use It

PHAs are best used in products that are left on the skin for an extended period of time to give them sufficient time to loosen the bonds between the outermost epidermis/skin cells. Products like liquid exfoliant, toner, mask, or moisturizer, always best to chose one that is organic and free of toxics and villain’s ingredients.

A must try the I’m Fabulous organic Renew serum with Polyhydroxy acids.