Beauty Dictionary: PHA

Consider this the ABCs of beauty.

ByCaitlin M.

You've likely heard of AHA and BHA, but unless you're a skincare fanatic or regularly visit the spa, you might not be as well-versed in the other exfoliating acid that works wonders on skin. Get the full scoop on polyhydroxy acid otherwise known as PHA below.

The word: polyhydroxy acid

Also known as: PHA, gluconolactone acid, lactobionic acid

What it does: Similar to AHA and BHA, PHAs have the same chemical exfoliating properties that slough out impurities from skin, making them great for acne-ridden or clogged pores and even reducing fine lines and wrinkles. The main difference comes in the molecular size: PHA molecules are larger than those of AHAs or BHAs. The larger molecule size might seem counteractive at first, as small molecule size is what makes AHAs like glycolic acid so great at exfoliating, but the larger molecule size of PHAs mean they're less likely to be tough on skin. Therefore, PHAs are supposed to be better for more sensitivity-prone skin!

Shop it: 

NeoStrata Eye Cream PHA ($50)

neostrata eye cream pha

With Polyhydroxy Acid Gluconolactone as the main ingredient, this eye cream boasts reduced fine lines and wrinkles as well as reduced dryness around the eyes.

Exuviance Hydrating Eye Complex ($44)

exuviance hydrating eye complex

Gluconolactone and lactobionic acid get to work on this product, while lipids and vitamins A, C, and E moisturize and provide antioxidant support to the skin barrier.

Nu Skin 180° Cell Renewal Fluid ($75.50)

nu skin 180 cell renewal fluid

This lightweight fluid helps to promote deep exfoliation and cell turnover, which in turn helps skin appear more youthful and radiant. Pores, fine lines, and lack of firmness are all tackled with this do-it-all.

Have you tried a PHA? What products do you use that contains this ingredient? Share with us!