Smoother, brighter skin? Smaller-looking pores? Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs) can give you these and more. That’s why they’re a skincare staple. But because they’re also prime culprits for causing sensitivity, here’s how to use them the right way.

Apply your AHA the right way

Step 1: Pick the right formula


In the vast world of skincare, there are a few different AHAs to choose from.

Glycolic acid is the most effective, but it can also be the most irritating. The next best is lactic acid, which is gentler on the skin.

But it’s not just about what you choose, it’s also how much.

Using a product with an AHA concentration over 5% can make your skin more likely to peel, burn and even permanently discolour (especially if you have naturally darker skin). Yep, you heard that right.

That’s why many of these solutions typically include an alkaline ingredient to reduce acidity and irritation. However, that renders the AHA ineffective… and the alkaline could irritate your skin anyway! Doesn’t make any sense, does it?

To help, a general rule of thumb is to pick an AHA formula that has glycolic and lactic acid – with a combined concentration of 5% or less.

Step 2: Banish your AHA… until bedtime

As an exfoliant, AHA helps remove dead cells on the outer layer of your skin.

The result? Glowing skin that’s softer, but also more sensitive to the sun. That means when you’re out and about during the day, you’re more at risk of sun damage.

So a word of advice: apply your AHA before bed. That way, your skin can absorb the ingredient’s rejuvenating properties – and start restoring.

Once the sun has gone down and you’re ready to sleep, begin with a cleanser (like our Calming Cleanse). Once you’ve patted your face dry, apply 2-3 pumps to your face and décolletage.

If you have sensitive skin, stick to one pump every second day. You can gradually increase your dose and frequency as your skin gets more comfortable with your AHAs. And remember, if you’ve been sunburnt, hold off until your skin has had some decent R&R.

Step 3: Slather on the sunscreen

A simple step, but an important one: always (and we mean always) use sunscreen during the day.

That’s because it protects your precious skin from the sun after you’ve applied your AHAs and helps prevent the signs of aging too.

The bottom line?

AHA does good for your skin – in more ways than one.

It can give you a brighter complexion, more even skin tone and fewer acne breakouts. Research also suggests that AHA promotes collagen production, which improves the appearance of surface lines and wrinkles. Yes, please!

And finally, AHA can boost the effectiveness of Retinal, a Vitamin A we use in our Ultimate A night cream and just can’t recommend enough!

Ready to see how AHAs can transform your skin? Try our Smooth Serum today – and follow the three easy steps above.


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