PHAs are the up-and-coming ingredient about to make it big in skin care

Move Over AHAs and BHAs, PHAs Are The Latest Skin Care Ingredient To Try

First there were AHAs and BHAs, now there are PHAs

Beauty Crew Digital Content Editor / August 15 2019

Any skin care junkie worth their salt will be able to rattle off all the glorious things AHAs and BHAs do for skin. But now there’s a new skin care ingredient joining the ranks and it’s creating quite a stir.

You may have already heard murmurings of PHAs (polyhydroxy acids). In fact, they’ve been quietly popping up in skin care products for a few months now, and they’re now starting to take off in a big way – for good reason! 

But before we get into that, we should first address the question that’s likely burning at the forefront of your mind:

What the heck are PHAs?

They’re essentially second generation AHAs (AHAs are alpha hydroxy acids such as glycolic acid, lactic acid and mandelic acid). They’re chemical exfoliants derived from fruit, dairy and sugar cane and they work to exfoliate dead skin cells on the surface of your skin.

However, unlike AHAs and BHAs (BHAs are beta hydroxy acids – salicylic acid is the most common), PHAs have much larger molecular structure and for that reason, they can’t penetrate the skin as deeply as AHAs and BHAs, so they work on the surface of the skin instead. They’re also rich in antioxidants, stimulate epidermal growth and repair skin cells to reverse the effects of ageing, and they’re humectants – meaning they attract water to intensely moisturise your skin. 

Plus, as they work exclusively on the skin’s surface, they’re suitable for sensitive skin types whose skin may not tolerate AHAs or BHAs.

In short? PHAs are anti-ageing, skin-refining and moisturising. SIGN US UP.

PHA skin care products to try

If you’re keen to get on board the PHA bandwagon, let us fill you in on some of our fave skin care products with PHAs.

Some By Mi Miracle Toner

If you’d like to try a toner, we’ve previously waxed lyrical about Korean beauty brand Some By Mi’s Miracle Toner. This heavy-hitting toner is said to rival Glossier’s Solution and contains AHAs, BHAs and PHAs so you’re getting the best of ALL of the worlds.

Glamglow Good In Bed™ Passionfruit Softening Night Cream

For an overnight treatment moisturiser, we’re nothing short of obsessed with Glamglow’s Good In Bed™ Night Cream right now. This cheeky little red jar contains AHAs, BHAs and PHAs, along with passionfruit oil, squalane and hyaluronic acid, and is designed to be slathered on before bedtime. The result? Juicy, GLOWING skin when you wake up in the morning.

Ole Henriksen Phat Glow Facial Mask

This anti-ageing mask is the next best thing to a professional facial – at home. The massage-activated formula (how nifty is that?) contains potent PHAs and Nordic birch sap to exfoliate your skin in a flash, leaving it plumped-up and flawless.

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Have you tried any skin care products with PHA acids yet? Do you have any other products to recommend? Let us know your thoughts on them the comments.

Main image credit: @josephineskriver

Isobel is a Digital Content Editor at BEAUTYcrew, marie claire and InStyle. When she's not busy hunting for the latest beauty news, you’ll find her arranging her skincare collection in search of the perfect “shelfie.” Isobel was previously BEAUTYcrew's Junior Beauty Writer.