Why do alpha hydroxy acids (AHA) help you look younger? If you want younger looking skin, alpha hydroxy acids can help. Here’s why.
As you grow older, it takes old skin cells longer to fall off, which means it takes longer for your new, younger skin cells to reach the surface of your skin.
However, exfoliating can help. When you exfoliate, you slough away those dead skin cells so the new, younger skin cells can shine through.
Two types of exfoliation exist – chemical and physical exfoliate.
This type of exfoliating uses an acid, such as milk or fruit acid, to eliminate the substance that attaches those dead skin cells to the skin. The acids can leave you with a burning or tingle sensation when used, especially in high concentrations. Sometimes the process of exfoliating with chemicals is called a chemical peel or a chemical peeling mask.
When physical exfoliation is used, a grainy substance is used to actually rub the dead skin cells away. Popular ingredients for physical exfoliation include salt, ground apricot pits and sugar. Gentler ingredients include ground oatmeal, corn starch and cornmeal.
6 Natural Sources of Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHA)
The great news is that you don’t have to turn to products containing harsh chemicals if you want to slough away dead skin cells. Many natural foods have natural alpha hydroxy acids in them, which will help exfoliate skin gently.
Here are some excellent natural sources of alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs):
Keep in mind, even natural alpha hydroxy acids will result in some sun sensitivity. If you exfoliate using these acids, be sure you apply sunscreen before you head out in the sun (which you should be doing anyway).
Not only does papaya taste amazing, but it includes alpha hydroxy acids that are wonderful for exfoliating your skin. While you can puree papaya and use it as a mask, I prefer to actually enjoy the papaya. Then, I take the inside peel with a bit of flesh still attached and rub it right on my face.
② Grapefruit and Lemons
Both grapefruit and lemons have alpha hydroxy acids, and they happen to contain the strongest acids of the natural sources on this list. Lemon juice even helps to lighten dark spots and evens out your skin tone.
However, since these acids are so high, you must apply them carefully. Apply the juice directly or rub a pulpy peel right on the face. Just make sure you avoid using these acids near your eyes. Citrus fruits, in particular, make the skin more sensitive to the sun, so please wear a sunscreen after using this treatment!
③ Plain Yogurt
Lactic acid is found in plain yogurt, and lactic acid is a natural alpha hydroxy acid. It’s best to use plain, organic, full-fat yogurt when using it to exfoliate your skin. Apply the yogurt directly on skin or mix some yogurt with a bit of lemon juice, pineapple or papaya.
Pineapple also contains these essential acids, but you don’t want to rub the prickly peel on your skin. Instead, add some fresh pineapple to a blender or food processor. Process the pineapple until you have some juice and apply to skin like a mask.
Tomatoes also work wonderfully for exfoliating and offer some wonderful benefits for skin. It’s best to take the seed pulp of the tomato, making it into a mask. This way you get to eat the rest of the delicious tomato.
When you use natural hydroxy acids, pay attention to how your skin feels. If you start feeling a strong burning or tingling, wash off right away. You should start using acids with the shortest amount of time.
You can increase the time if needed once you know how your unique skin will react to the acids. Start with about 10 minutes and avoid leaving these natural acids on skin for more than 30 minutes.
No matter what type of exfoliation you use, removing those dead skin cells helps to reveal the smooth, new skin cells. These cells generally have a nice glow and a beautiful texture, which makes skin look younger.
While the effect is only temporary, it still works wonderfully. You just have to exfoliate regular, since the skin regularly produces new skin cells.