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Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs) are derived from a variety of natural ingredients to help produce natural skin care products:

Examples of AHAs are :

  • Glycolic acid, which is found in brown sugar. 
  • Lactic acid is found in dairy products, such as yogurt and milk and, when mixed with powdered milk and honey, makes a great facial masque. 
  • Citric acid, found in citrus fruits, are often found in face washes and toners to restore pH balance to skin.  When combined with egg whites, it can be used as a restorative masque.

Over-the-counter skin care products containing AHAs  have become increasingly popular over the last five years.  In the U.S. alone, there are over 200 manufacturers of natural skin care products containing AHAs.  Creams and lotions with AHA’s  are said to help with fine lines, irregular pigmentation, and age spots.

But, are AHAs too good to be true?  Are there side effects?  The answer is, Yes, there are side effects for people with sensitive skin.  The FDA has received reports of problems such as itching, skin irritation, blisters, chemical burns, and an increase in sun sensitivity causing sunburn.  The most serious reactions seem to occur from products that are known as “peels”.  The good news is, damage caused from AHAs to people with sensitive skin is reversible and heals over time.

What can you do:

  • Limit sun exposure and when you do go out in the sun remember to use SPF sunscreen.
  • Start with a product with low concentrations of AHAs
  • Apply AHA skin products every other day and gradually work up to a daily application.

Related Articles:
The Danger of Sunburn on Brown Skin
Caring For Different Skin Types: The Basics of Facial Skin Care