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A guide to the best Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHA’s)

Glynis BarberBeauty, Skincare Leave a Comment

With AHAs, BHAs, PHAs and many other intimidating acronyms in between, here is a breakdown of six fabulous hydroxy acids from the Garden of Wisdom (GOW) range, with an explanation of how their chemical exfoliation properties work beneath the dermal layer to help with skin concerns. From blemishes to brightening, collagen production and anti-aging, there is the perfect one for you.

There’s a Garden of Wisdom Acid for everyone

This brilliant range is a firm favourite of mine as they are very efficacious and the pricing is amazing. It’s the best affordable range that I know of.

Hydroxy acids (AHA’s) are brilliant for exfoliating without the scrubbing of yesteryear. They are therefore much gentler than a physical abrasive exfoliator. There are three main types of hydroxy acids which are Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA), Polyhydroxy Acid (PHA) (see previous article to find out all about these) and Beta Hydroxy Acid (BHA). BHA’s go deeper into the pores to remove sebum whereas AHA’s work more on the surface to remove dead skin cells.

However, if you suffer from rosacea, be careful

AHA’s may cause irritation and are not really suitable for rosacea sufferers. I would definitely avoid.

The good news is that a polyhydroxy acid (PHA), is much less irritating for most users as it doesn’t penetrate as deeply. As you will see in the list below, there is a PHA serum in the GOW range. Read my previous article about PHA’s HERE.

And there is also a gold standard acid that is completely non-irritating and very skin friendly which is Azelaic Acid (find out more below). This is the one to use if you suffer from rosacea.

Use these acids at night on a cleansed skin and follow with a moisturiser or facial oil. Start by using twice a week.

Below is the full list of GOW hydroxy acids

Just click on the link under each product to find out more.

Salicylic 2% Serum, £11.50

This is a beta hydroxy acid (BHA) that deep cleanses pores, fights spots, fades scars and blemishes and leaves you with a clearer, more radiant complexion. BHA’s are oil soluble (AHA’s are water soluble) which its why BHA is great for removing oil from pores. Salicylic Acid is perfect for an oily or spotty skin.


Azelaic Acid PAD, £15.50

This acid is exceptional as it’s completely non-irritating and therefore suitable for all skin types. It will actually calm irritated or red skin and and can safely be used by people with rosacea. It does a bit of everything from improving the appearance of an uneven skin tone to helping to diminish blemishes. It’s anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory. It also has some retinol type properties that help with cell turnover so is great for ageing skin. It’s perfect for everyone but specially anyone who is very sensitive or has rosacea. A brilliant product!


Glycolic Acid Serum 5%, £13.50

This AHA is a firm favourite of mine. It’s one of the most potent AHA’s, so is only for people who tolerate them well. It exfoliates thoroughly and, with it’s very small molecules, penetrates deeply which helps to promote collagen production. It helps hydrate and treats uneven skin tone while reducing blemishes, targeting age spots and reducing fine lines. I use it at least twice a week in the evening.


Lactic Acid Serum, £11.50

This AHA is a more gentle version of Glycolic Acid due to it’s slightly larger molecule size which makes it easier to tolerate.  It has a gentle exfoliating action that improves your skin tone and texture, helps enhance collagen production and improves the appearance of age spots and blemishes. Sometimes one needs to experiment to see what can be tolerated but if your skin is slightly more sensitive then this could be the AHA for you.


Mandelic Acid 10% Serum, £11.50

This AHA is a good one to start with as, like Lactic Acid, the molecules are a little bigger and is therefore less irritating. It’s definitely the one to go for if you have a dark or olive skin tone. Some AHA’s can have a lightening effect of the skin but Mandelic Acid will not and so is safer for a darker skin tone. It’s a non-irritating AHA that gently exfoliates dead cells and effectively cleanses pores making it the ideal solution for sensitive skin. It also has anti-bacterial properties to help blemish-prone skin.


PHA Plus Serum, £15.50

This is a PHA serum which is the next generation of AHA’s specially designed with larger molecules so that they irritate less. It helps exfoliate, brighten, firm, hydrate and amplify the benefits of other anti-ageing products. This is good for slackening skin in those who are sensitive to AHA’s.


To find you more have a watch of the video:

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