Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA) peels are a type of chemical peel that uses alpha hydroxy acids to exfoliate the skin and improve its texture, tone, and overall appearance. AHAs are a group of naturally occurring acids derived from various sources, including fruits, milk, and sugarcane. Common AHAs used in skincare and peels include glycolic acid (from sugarcane), lactic acid (from milk), mandelic acid (from bitter almonds), and citric acid (from citrus fruits).
AHA peels are typically considered to be more superficial compared to other chemical peels like trichloroacetic acid (TCA) peels or phenol peels. They work by breaking down the bonds between dead skin cells, helping to slough off the top layer of skin and stimulate the growth of new, healthier skin cells. As a result, AHA peels can:
Exfoliate: AHA peels effectively remove dead skin cells, helping to improve skin texture, smoothness, and radiance.
Unclog Pores: By exfoliating the skin's surface, AHA peels can help unclog pores and prevent acne breakouts.
Reduce Hyperpigmentation: AHA peels can help fade dark spots, sun spots, and uneven pigmentation, leading to a more even skin tone.
Diminish Fine Lines: Regular use of AHA peels can promote collagen production, which can help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
Improve Skin's Absorption: Exfoliated skin can better absorb skincare products, enhancing their effectiveness.
Enhance Overall Radiance: The removal of dull, dead skin cells can lead to a brighter and more youthful complexion.
AHA peels come in different strengths, with higher concentrations providing a deeper exfoliation. Some AHA peels are available for at-home use as well, although professional treatments conducted by a trained esthetician or dermatologist tend to offer more controlled and predictable results.
While AHA peels are generally considered safe, they can cause mild side effects such as redness, stinging, and flaking. It's important to follow post-treatment instructions and wear sunscreen to protect the newly revealed skin from sun damage.