20+ Best AHA Products (+Ultimate Guide to AHAs)

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You’ve probably been hearing about AHAs and how they can help your skin, right?

They’re a big staple in the skincare world and are a part of a lot of people’s skincare routines.

But what the heck are AHAs? Can they TRULY help your skin? What are the best aha products?

We’ll talk about all of this and more, so keep reading! And bookmark this page anytime you’d like to come back to it for an AHA refresher.

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What is AHA (Alpha Hydroxy Acid)?

AHAs (the full name is Alpha Hydroxy Acids) are a group of acids that are used in skincare products as a chemical exfoliant.

These acids come from plants and animals and include acids and can be found in a lot of different skincare products. Some of the AHAs you might find are:

  • citric acid (found in citrus fruits)
  • glycolic acid (found in sugar cane)
  • lactic acid (found in milk)
  • malic acid (found in apples)
  • tartaric acid (found in grapes).

That’s just a small list of some of the different AHAs available.

How does AHA work?

Time to get a little science-y in here! I’ll try to explain this without the jargon.

Basically AHAs work by getting deep into your skin and separating the bonds between the dead skin cells (which helps our skin shed all that dead skin.

This is what makes AHAs such great chemical exfoliators.

What are the Benefits of AHA?

AHAs sound kind of interesting right?

There are also some other nice benefits to AHAs that will make you want to add them to your skincare routine pronto:

  • Help exfoliate your skin
  • Helps brighten your skin
  • Promotes collagen production
  • Helps reduce fine lines and wrinkles
  • Helps with hyperpigmentation and uneven skin texture
  • Helps with acne, blackheads, and whiteheads
  • Fades scarring

Best AHA Products

Now its time for the best AHA products!

I’ve done my best to sort this list into different product categories, first we have the cleansers and exfoliators, next is the serums, lotions, and toners, next are the masks, and the last are other AHA treatments.


AHA Cleansers and Exfoliators

First up are the cleansers and exfoliators!

Kate Somerville ExfoliKate Cleanser Daily Foaming Wash – Our Top Choice!

This Kate Somerville cleanser is our top pick and my personal favorite!

It’s great for my dry skin, and has a lovely papaya and pineapple scent! I use it daily and my skin has seriously never looked better.

According to an independent clinical study, after just one day of using this cleanser, 94% of people reported it thoroughly cleansed their skin and left their skin feeling soft and refreshed.

Pros:

  • Perfect for daily use
  • Has Glycolic and Lactic Acid
  • Has papaya, pineapple, and pumpkin enzymes

Cons:

  • May not remove all makeup

Where to buy: Amazon


Alpha Skin Care Face Wash

This gentle facial cleanser is perfect for people just getting into AHAs! You can use this pH-balanced AHA cleanser at night to help rid your skin of any makeup, and dirt.

Pros:

  • Good for all skin types
  • Used citric acid as the AHA ingredient

Cons:

  • Not great for incredibly sensitive skin (there were a very small number of reviewers that mentioned some skin irritation after using this product).

Where to buy: Amazon


Glycolix 10% Gentle Facial Cleanser

This one is for all the people that have sensitive skin!

The Glycolix Cleanser uses both glycolic acid AND salicylic acid for a 1-2 punch that helps exfoliate and unclog pores. This cleanser is also very gentle thanks to the aloe and the lightweight formula.

Pros:

  • Great for people with sensitive skin
  • Uses glycolic acid and salicylic acid

Cons:

  • Some people said it didn’t remove all of their makeup

Where to buy: Amazon


Paula’s Choice 8% AHA Gel Exfoliant

If you’re looking for an exfoliator, this is probably the best one on the list!

This product works for all skin types and helps smooth wrinkles and fine lines and helps even out skin tones.

This exfoliator also has no fragrance and no parabens! Perfect for sensitive skin.

Pros:

  • Good for sensitive skin
  • Has chamomile and green tea to help sooth skin
  • Also has hyaluronic acid to help skin retain moisture.

Cons:

  • The only options are 0.5 oz and a 3.3 oz bottle, some people thought this wasn’t a lot of product for the price.

Where to buy: Amazon


AHA Serums, Lotions, and Toners

Next up are the Serums, Lotions, and Toners!

Mizon AHA & BHA Daily Clean Toner

Where to buy: Amazon


Mario Badescu Glycolic Acid Toner

Where to buy: Amazon


Mizon AHA 8% Peeling Serum

Where to buy: Amazon


Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Framboos

Where to buy: Amazon


The Ordinary Mandelic Acid 10% + HA

Where to buy: Amazon


Alpha Skin Care Renewal Body Lotion

Where to buy: Amazon


Caudalie Vinoperfect Overnight Glycolic Cream

Where to buy: Amazon


AHA Masks

Next are the AHA masks.

Drunk Elephant TLC Sukari Babyfacial Mask

Where to buy: Amazon


Stivectin Advanced Acid Resurface Glycolic Acid Skin Reset Mask

Where to buy: Amazon


Andalou Naturals Pumpkin Honey Glycolic Mask

Where to buy: Amazon


Other AHA Treatments

Here are some great AHA treatments to consider:


How to Use AHA Products In Your Routine

New to AHAs and want to add them to your skincare routine?

I’ve got all the tips you need right here!

The first thing you need to know is that you should start SLOW. Depending on your skin type, AHAs could be quite irritating for your skin, so you want to introduce it slowly to see how your skin reacts (and to help build up tolerance).

The next thing you should consider is the type of product you’re using on your skin.

Different products have different concentrations of AHAs and some products will give you more exposure to AHAs depending on the application.

For example, a cleanser that’s just washed away won’t expose your skin to a lot of the AHAs as something like a serum will – since the serum is left on your skin.

Now that you have some food for thought, here are some ways to introduce AHAs into your skincare routine (according to the product):

AHA Cleansers

Cleansers usually have some of the lowest concentrations of AHAs and won’t stay on your skin for very long – which makes them easy to add to your routine!

You can grab an AHA cleanser that you like, and you can begin using it at night. Using it twice a day could be overkill.

**If you have particularly sensitive skin, you can use it nightly a few times a week, and build up from there.

AHA Serums, Lotions, and Toners

The first thing you should do is look at the instructions, some products will say to only use it 2-3 times per week. This is a great staring point!

**If you have sensitive skin, start with 1 day a week to see how your skin reacts!

AHA Masks 

Out of all the products mentioned, masks will most likely have one of the higher concentrations of AHAs in them!

You can start by using a mask 1-2 times per month and then working your way up to once per week – more than that could be too much for your skin. You don’t want to over-exfoliate!

**If you have sensitive skin I suggest skipping an AHA mask altogether, try starting with a different type of product first.

Possible AHA Side Effects

These are some possible side effects of using AHAs – you should definitely be aware of these!

  • Sun sensitivity
  • Itching or burning sensation
  • Flaky skin
  • Over exfoliation
  • Acid burn

FAQs

Which is best AHA or BHA?

It depends on your skin type and skin concerns! If you have more dry skin and you want more hydration and want brighter skin, AHAs could be good for you.
If you have more oily or acne-prone skin, BHAs could be a good choice for you.

What are the best glycolic acid products?

Some of the best glycolic acid products are the L’Oreal Paris Revitalift Derm Intensives 10% Pure Glycolic Acid Serum, the INKEY List Glycolic Acid Exfoliating Toner, and the The Ordinary Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution

What does AHA help with?

AHAs acts as a chemical exfoliator and helps your skin get rid of dead skin cells.


Conclusion

AHAs can be a great option if you’re looking for an exfoliator, and they can work for almost any skin type.

Make sure you do your research on AHA products before using!

Once you’ve decided to use an AHA product, make sure you introduce it into your skincare routine slowly.

Let us know if you decide to try an AHA product!

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