First came alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs), next was beta hydroxy acids (BHAs) and now, the newest member of the liquid exfoliant family is polyhydroxy acids, also known as PHAs.

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More about PHA Polyhydroxy Acids

The gentle of the bunch, until recently it’s an ingredient that couldn’t be incorporated into many skincare formulas because they were patented by the two doctors who discovered them back in the mid-90s. But now they are free to be used, and that’s exactly why you’re suddenly seeing more and more products that incorporate them. Here, we’ve broken down what is PHA in skin care and why they’re such an underrated hero in the skincare sphere.

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  • Technically speaking, PHAs are considered second-generation AHAs, which means they are simply a more advanced version of chemical exfoliants. Gluconolactone is the most common PHA, you can find it in our PHA Micellar Water The thing that makes them different from their AHA and BHA counterparts, though, is the molecular structure. PHAs have a large molecular size so they stay on the skin surface – which is where their power lies, while respecting the skin barrier.
  • Although they don’t penetrate as deeply, PHA exfoliants such as gluconolactone still work in a similar way to both AHAs and BHAs. At Garnier, we use in our PHA Micellar Water PHA gluconolactone that exfoliates dead skin cells on the surface of the skin, giving it a more even tone and improving its overall texture, minimizing pores. And that’s not quite everything – gluconolactone plays a role in the epidermis barrier, it provides your skin with a gentle exfoliation while respecting the skin barrier. PHAs are true miracle workers with a multitude of benefits.
  • Yes! PHAs are a good choice for those with sensitive skin, and the reason why comes down to the molecule size; as mentioned earlier they have a large molecular structure and so stay on the skin's surface while respecting the skin barrier.

    For example, gluconolactone (PHA) and glycolic acid (AHA) can be used daily on the face, eyes, and lips, are allergy tested, and are suitable for sensitive skin, while gently peeling skin and delivering clinically proven efficacy on skin tone and texture.