I’ve been writing about skincare for over a decade, and I’d like to say that I definitely know my fair share about ingredients. I’ve written about vitamin C, niacinamide, aloe vera, mugwort, green tea, AHAs, BHAs. But I’ve recently come across a new-to-me ingredient that seems really promising. Want to know more? Let’s take a deep dive into LHAs.
What Are LHAs?
So we know what BHAs and AHAs are—they’re two of the best, most effective chemical exfoliants on the market now. LHAs are short for lipohydroxy acid, and they are actually a derivative of salicylic acid (aka *the* most popular BHA ingredient). Studies have shown that lipohydroxy acids exfoliate, renew your skin, balance oily skin, and help calm acne.
LHAs have a higher molecular weight and are more oil soluble than salicylic acid, so they actually work a little better at breaking through oily skin and getting deep into the pores for a good exfoliation. And while salicylic acid is treated as a medical ingredient by the FDA, lipohydroxy acids are not.
LHAs have a higher molecular weight and are more oil soluble than salicylic acid, so they’re actually better at breaking through oily skin and getting deep into the pores.
Oh, and as a bonus, LHAs have the same pH as your skin (5.5) so they do a really good job at keeping our skin’s pH in check without damaging our precious moisture barrier.
Benefits of Using LHAs
1. Gentle exfoliation
LHAs are a gentler version of salicylic acid, and are a really good choice for people with sensitive skin, or those who want to maybe get the benefit of a good exfoliation without excessive damage to the skin.
2. Reduces dark spots and hyperpigmentation
LHAs gently slough away dead skin cells and help to reduce those pesky dark spots and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.
3. Improves skin texture and appearance
Like BHAs, LHAs can also smooth and soothe skin. As an exfoliant, they help speed up cell turnover and renewal, revealing brighter, more smooth skin.
4. Excellent pH
As mentioned above, LHAs have the same pH as your skin (5.5), so they won’t damaging our precious moisture barrier.
What Skin Types Can Use LHAs?
Lipohydroxy acids are great and suitable for all skin types that want a nice chemical exfoliation, but if you have sensitive, acne-prone skin, make sure to patch test first. If you’ve used salicylic acid and found it too harsh for your skin, you might want to think about incorporating an LHA product into your routine.
Any Downsides to Using LHAs?
Even though lipohydroxy acids might not be as harsh as salicylic acid, there is still a chance that you can overexfoliate your skin. If you do decide to incorporate a product with LHAs in your routine, I’d recommend that you use them at most two to three times a week.