Alpha hydroxy acids or AHAs help to improve the appearance of skin in two ways; by moisturizing and exfoliating. What makes AHAs function differently is the pH level of the formulation. When used as a humectant or moisturizer, the pH level is higher than 4.0. At this level, AHAs help to increase the water content of skin making it softer, smoother and more flexible.
As an exfoliant, the most effective pH level is 4.0. This is the level where AHAs begin to dissolve the glue-like bonds that hold dead cells to the surface. This stimulates cellular renewal and regeneration and allows newer, fresher cells to emerge. Products with a pH level of 3.5 or below can be too irritating and may leave skin feeling dry and tight.
Most people do not realize the importance of the pH level in skin care formulas. AHAs are extremely effective ingredients but it is important to know how they function in a product. Products like Alpha Hydrox put the percentage of AHA and the pH level on the box. Be a savvy consumer. Next time you are shopping for skin care products, be sure to look for the pH level. It will help you to know what products are best for you.