Skincare

Ingredients Lab: Polyhydroxy Acids For Sensitive Skin

If you’re into skincare, then you probably already use an exfoliating acid in your skincare routine. But, just as we begin to understand how Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs) work, a new type of chemical exfoliant has become popular among skincare enthusiasts. The culprit? Polyhydroxy acids.

From exfoliating dead skin cells, reducing the appearance of skin damage and their antioxidant properties. Discover why polyhydroxy acids are the perfect acid for sensitive skin and why we use them in our transformative Facial Skincare Range. 

polyhydroxy acid cleanser

What Are Polyhydroxy Acids And How Do They Work?

Also known as PHAs, polyhydoxy acids are a group of chemical exfoliants and they are the newest acid to take over the skincare world.

They are part of the AHA family, however polyhydroxy acids have a larger molecule size when compared to other AHAs like glycolic and lactic acid. The most common examples of PHAs are galactose, gluconolactone and lactobionic acid and they can be found in resurfacing cleansers and serums.

Like AHAs, PHAs work by exfoliating dead skin cells on the upper layers of the skin, resulting in a more even skin texture and tone. Due to their larger molecule size, PHAs do not penetrate deeply into the skin and are therefore much gentler and less irritating when compared to other chemical exfoliants available. As they’re kinder to the skin,  polyhydroxy acids might be better alternatives for people dealing with sensitive skin conditions such as rosacea and eczema, who find regular AHAs too irritating to use.

Famed for their skin smoothing, anti-ageing and moisturising properties, PHAs can also help the rest of your skincare penetrate into the deeper layers of your skin, boosting their efficacy and providing more visible results. Convinced? We are too!

What Are The Benefits Of Polyhydroxy Acids?

PHA’s provide the skin with a plethora of benefits:

  • They’re Gentle: Polyhydroxy acids are a lot more gentler on the skin because of their larger molecule size. To simplify, this means that they take a longer amount of time to sink into the skin, and they will never penetrate as deeply as AHAs such as lactic and glycolic acid.
  • They Keep The Skin Moisturized: PHAs are also humectants, meaning they can retain moisture within the skin and give you a healthy, glowing complexion.
  • They Help Prevent Ageing: PHAs help fight glycation, which is a process that can weaken the collagen and elastin in your skin.
  • They’re Anti-Inflammatory: PHAs not only exfoliate the skin, but they’re also rich in skin-loving antioxidants.

polyhydroxy acid serum

The Best Polyhydroxy Acid Skin Care Products

Our transformative Facial Skincare Range has been expertly developed by dermatologists to help treat troublesome skin conditions and transform dull, tired complexions back to life with lasting hydration. Discover the products infused with Bio Honey Acids, a natural source of polyhydroxy acids to give gentle, yet effective exfoliation to help boost moisture levels, lock-in hydration and transform your skin confidence.

1. Resurfacing Facial Cleanser

Begin your gentle exfoliating routine with our Resurfacing Facial Cleanser; a creamy, pH balanced polyhydroxy acid cleanser infused with our iconic LaH6 Skin Hydration Complex and ultra-mild PHA therapy that gently resurfaces, melts away makeup and impurities whilst relieving dry and sensitised skin. Your skin will be left looking and feeling fresher, replenished and plumped with moisture.

Directions: Use twice daily in the morning and evening, massaging 2-3 pumps onto damp skin and leave on for a few moments to let the ingredients work their optimum. Add water to create a milky lotion and remove using a muslin cloth or cleansing pad.

90% agreed that their skin felt hydrated, comforted and relieved*

*Tested on 101 people with dry to very dry skin with dry rough patches in a 2-week independent consumer trial

2. Transforming Facial Serum

Next, lock-in hydration and provide your skin with an instant hit of moisture with this hydrating and exfoliating polyhydroxy acid serum. This effective facial serum is infused with our LaH6 Complex and is supercharged with high-performance actives including Probiotic Technology and PHAs to deeply hydrate and encourage surface skin renewal, improving the appearance of dry, rough skin. Your skin will be left feeling and looking smoother, softer and more radiant.

Directions: Use in the evening, applying 1 pump onto a cleansed face. You might experience a mild tingling sensation. Cleanse thoroughly in the morning and for best results, layer with the Replenishing Facial Cream or Restorative Facial Mask.

80% agreed that the appearance of their skin had improved and felt softer and smoother*

*Tested on 103 people with facial ‘chicken skin’ or dry to very dry skin with dry rough patches in a 4-week independent consumer trial

Sneak a peak into the products our Ameliorate Team is loving at the moment, here!



Heleayner Davies

Heleayner Davies

Writer and expert

Heleayner is an Online Content Editor with over four years' experience in the beauty industry. She has a Batchelor of Arts degree in Beauty Promotion and has interned at a number of media publications including British Vogue, Elle and Stylist. She has a passion for all things skincare, fragrance and loves being in nature.