Which AHA Exfoliant is Right for Me?
Paula’s Choice Skincare is known worldwide for our extensive selection of gentle, leave-on chemical exfoliants, many of which contain AHAs (alpha hydroxy acids). The most thoroughly researched AHAs, glycolic acid and lactic acids, are an important part of a best-in-class skin care routine—particularly for normal to very dry, sun-damaged skin.
AHAs can benefit all skin types and share certain properties with BHA (beta hydroxy acid): Both diminish the look of lines and wrinkles, make skin look and feel firmer, improve dull, uneven skin tone, and smooth rough texture. But AHAs’ standout features are their ability to enhance skin’s natural moisturising factors, and their stellar results in reducing the visible signs of sun damage.
Choosing the AHA exfoliant best for your skin depends on your skin type, degree of skin concerns, preferences regarding product texture and how your skin responds to various strengths of AHAs.
The Differences Between Our AHA Products
Paula’s Choice Skincare offers several AHA exfoliants. Although all deliver beautiful results, each has its own distinctive qualities. It’s perfectly OK to use more than one, alternating between products based on your skin’s needs and what works best for you. That’s the approach many of us at Paula’s Choice Skincare take!
AHA Exfoliants for Your Face:
SKIN PERFECTING 8% AHA Gel Exfoliant: Our original AHA exfoliant, this sheer gel is suitable for all skin types, especially oily to combination skin. It contains an 8% concentration of glycolic acid plus soothing chamomile, antioxidant green tea, and hydrating panthenol. Replenishing ingredients such as sodium PCA and hyaluronic acid replenish and strengthen skin’s surface against moisture loss.
SKIN PERFECTING 8% AHA Lotion Exfoliant: This skin-refining, lightly emollient, moisturising lotion is suitable for all skin types but a definite favourite of those with normal to dry skin. Just like our 8% AHA Gel, the 8% AHA Lotion contains glycolic acid. The lotion formula also contains soothing burdock root, allantoin, and licorice plus naturally replenishing lipids dry skin needs to visibly improve.
RESIST Daily Smoothing Treatment with 5% AHA: Part of our targeted anti-ageing line, this silky, lightweight lotion exfoliant contains 5% glycolic acid plus an advanced mix of antioxidants, peptides, ceramides, and soothing ingredients to help look and feel smoother, firmer and more radiant. This is the daily-use AHA to choose if you have normal to dry skin and your primary concerns are wrinkles and uneven skin tone.
RESIST Advanced Smoothing Treatment 10% AHA: With its combination of four different alpha hydroxy acids (glycolic, lactic, malic, and tartaric), this ultra-light thin serum is effective enough to use once weekly, but gentle enough for daily use. Ideal for those with normal to dry skin showing advanced signs of ageing and sun damage, flaky, crepey skin looks smoother and brighter after one use. Fortified with anti-ageing peptides, skin-strengthening ceramides, soothing plant extracts, and just a touch of BHA (salicylic acid) to visibly minimise pores.
When to apply: All of our facial AHA exfoliants should be applied after cleansing and toning. Follow with your other skin care products, applying them in order from the lightest texture to the heaviest texture. ALWAYS, ALWAYS: Protect exposed skin with a broad-spectrum sunscreen rated SPF 30 or greater. This is critical to the success of any AHA exfoliant, not to mention your skin’s overall health.
AHA Exfoliants for Body:
Skin Revealing Body Lotion 10% AHA: This creamy-smooth lotion with 10% glycolic acid, shea butter and antioxidants is perfect for all skin types. It glides over skin, immediately working to visibly improve multiple signs of ageing from the neck down. Regular use improves the appearance of crepe-like skin, revives a firm feel, and leaves a lasting, radiant softness. Apply to cleansed skin, and, if needed, follow with a regular body lotion on very dry areas.
References for this information:
Journal of Dermatological Science, June 2017, pages 238–248
Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology, October 2015, pages 21–26
Clinical, Cosmetic, and Investigational Dermatology, December 2014, pages 9-17 and November 2010, pages 135–142
Jundishapur Journal of Natural Pharmaceutical Products, January 2012, pages 9–10
The Journal of Dermatology, January 2006, pages 16–22
Food and Chemical Toxicology, November 1999, pages 1,105–1,111
About the Experts
Paula Begoun is the best-selling author of 20 books about skincare and makeup. She is known worldwide as The Cosmetics Cop and creator of Paula’s Choice Skincare. Paula’s expertise has led to hundreds of appearances on national and international radio, print, and television including:
The Paula's Choice Research Team is dedicated to busting beauty myths and providing expert advice that solves your skincare frustrations so you can have the best skin of your life!