Alpha hydroxy acid is a type of natural acid found in a variety of foods.

These kind of acids have proven to be successful in treating a number of skin conditions ranging from dry skin, to acne, to improving the overall condition of the skin and promoting new skin cells growth.

They are used in a wide variety of topical skin treatments from chemical peels to alpha hydroxy lotions or moisturizers and depending on the amount (strength) of the acids, they can have huge advantages as well as some side effects for your skin.

Benefits of Alpha Hydroxy Acid For Skin

AHAs are used to treat a number of skin conditions and problems including the following:

  • Acne.
  • Moisturizing dry skin.
  • Improving skin tone and helping reduce the appearance of dark skin spots.
  • Treating a number of skin conditions such as eczema, xerosis, ichthyosis, keratosis Pilaris and Dermatitis.
  • Exfoliating the skin by removing dead skin cells and giving you a brighter complexion.

You should always be aware of the percentage of Alpha hydroxy acids that are present in your skin care product to ensure that they will do what you want them to do with as few side effects as possible.

Is Alpha Hydroxy Acid Good For Skin?

Alpha Hydroxy acids work very effectively with a number of skin conditions as I have mentioned above but you should also keep in mind some of the negative side effects they can have.

Sometimes those side effects appear in the beginning of the treatment when your skin is not yet used to them and they can gradually subside while in other cases of sensitive skin they may remain and become unaffordable for your skin.

In that case, you should stop the use and consult with your dermatologist. The two most often occurring side effects of those acids when applied topically is irritation and sun sensitivity.

Because they slough off the top layer of the skin so that new one gets revealed, this new layer is often more sensitive to the harmful rays of the sun. When using any topical solution containing an AHA, you need to protect your skin from the sun.

Keep in mind that many skin care products containing these acids also include sun block or protection in their ingredients though this may not be enough to protect your sensitive new skin.

Skin irritation caused by using these acids is less likely to occur when the percentage of Alpha Hydroxy acids is small. Irritation may include:

  • Redness
  • Burning
  • Itching
  • Dryness

More serious skin irritations occur with higher strengths of these acids such as chemical peels (Both over the counter and those used by your dermatologist.) These irritations may include:

  • Scarring
  • Hyper or Hypo pigmentation
  • Flaking
  • Oozing

Lower amounts of these acids, 5% to 10% are used in over the counter skin products while slightly higher amounts are often used in prescription skin care medications and treatments.

High levels of these acids can only be safely recommended by your dermatologist. The higher the strength of an Alpha Hydroxy acid, the greater a chance of more intense side effects.

While Alpha Hydroxy acids can do wonders to help your skin’s appearance, moisturizing dry skin and effectively treating certain skin conditions, it is important that you choose carefully the best skin care product available to achieve the results you are looking for.