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  4. Aha serums
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The 10 Best Aha Serums

results are based on 19,312 reviews scanned

1 The Ordinary The Ordinary The Ordinary Peeling Solution 30ml AHA 30% +
238 reviews
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2 Paula's Choice Paula's Choice Paula's Choice SKIN PERFECTING 8% AHA Gel Exfoliant
314 reviews
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3 Body Care Body Care Pai Copaiba Deep Cleanse Aha Mask
72 reviews
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Babyface Strong AHA Serum Glycolic Hyaluronic Acid Exfoliating
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5 Murad Murad Murad® Aha/bha Exfoliating Cleanser
72 reviews
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6 MIZON MIZON Mizon AHA 8% Peeling Serum 50ml
138 reviews
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Glycolic Acid 10% AHA Serum Chemical Peel Face
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ETUDE HOUSE Berry AHA Bright Peel Boosting Serum
4 reviews
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Dermadoctor® 'Kp Duty®' Dermatologist Formulated Aha Moisturizing Therapy
72 reviews
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10 OZ Naturals OZ Naturals OZNaturals Vitamin C Serum + AHA For Skin
751 reviews
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A Guide to the Best AHA Serums

By Yehudah Posnick

“AHA” stands for Alpha Hydroxy Acid. It is actually a class of different acids that are derived from sugar cane. Many cosmetic products will use AHA in different concentrations, either to break down dead skin cells and perform exfoliation, filling in fine lines and stimulate new skin production, treat acne and acne scars, and even to perform chemical peels.

Okay, so what is an AHA serum? In skincare, a serum is a formula with active ingredients that are designed to penetrate deeply into the skin. You apply a serum after cleansing the skin, and before moisturizing. You should apply a lotion or cream to the skin after a serum, so as to keep these beneficial ingredients in the skin. Serums can be water- or oil-based. Water-based serum will go under skin cream and nourish the inner layer of the skin. Oil-based serums remain on top of moisturizers, to keep the skin moist.

We’ve composed this buyer’s guide to help you make the right decision when selecting an AHA serum. It'll help you:

  • Choose the right type of AHA serum,

  • See useful tips about that particular type of AHA serum,

  • Read reviews of different AHA serums, and what customers are saying,

  • Select the right brand of AHA serum, and

  • Compare prices and find the best deals.

Types of Aha Serums

Skincare products containing AHA will be distinguished by the concentration of AHA in the formula. Chemical peels will have high concentrations of AHA, to essentially strip off the upper layer of skin. Lower concentrations of AHA will just be enough to stimulate the skin to produce more collagen. This will remove fine lines and wrinkles. Let’s go into more detail:

  • Chemical peels: In concentrations greater than 20%, AHA will be employed as a chemical peel. It is applied to the skin, left on for no more than 10 minutes, and then washed off. An example is the Ordinary Peeling Solution, with 30% AHA in the form of Glycolic Acid.

  • Renewal serum: These are products that are touted as “anti-aging”. This will be enough to remove dead skin cells and reduce wrinkles and lines.  These serums have a concentration of AHA from 10-20%. An example is Alpha Skin Care, with a concentration of 14 % Glycolic Acid. It will promote collagen and elastin synthesis in the skin. Added collagen makes the skin look firmer and smoother, while elastin will increase the suppleness of skin. It helps skin bounce back to its previous state, after being stretched.

  • With antioxidants: There are serums with antioxidants such as Vitamin C and Vitamin E, as well as AHA to improve the appearance of wrinkles and skin tone while smoothing the skin.  An example is the OzNaturals Vitamin C Facial Serum.

  • Acne treatment: Dermatologists and beauticians say that certain concentrations of salicylic acid (a Beta Hydroxyl Acid--BHA) can kill the bacteria that cause acne. The skin’s pH is usually slightly acidic, to protect against microbes. Applying a bit more acid, such as an AHA or BHA, can do the trick in eliminating the infection in acne pimples.

What Reviewers Say

  • Work up to higher concentrations of AHA: Experts suggest working with products with low concentrations of AHA first, before employing a chemical peel with over 20% AHA. More specifically, use a product with 8% AHA at first, and work upwards, to make sure that your skin can tolerate it. Otherwise, it can cause unsightly burns and irritation on your face.

  • Apply AHA at night: Experts recommend applying AHA at night before going to sleep. This is because AHA can increase sensitivity to the sun, making you more prone to sunburn or other sun damage.

Important Features

  • Difference between pH and concentration: As a reminder: pH is a number ranging from 0 to 14. It tells us the concentration of hydrogen ions in a substance. Water is neutral, with a pH of 7. A substance with a pH from 0 to 7 is acidic--it has a higher concentration of hydrogen ions. If the pH is from 7 to 14, it is alkaline. In a skin care product, that acid or alkaline can be diluted in other ingredients--that will be given as a concentration, in percent.

  • Four stages of skin care: Alpha Skin Care identifies 4 different stages in treating your skin (that means using four different products!):

  1. Skin cleanser: This is a product, like non-soaps, that cleanses the skin from impurities and restore skin to its natural pH level.

  2. Serum: This is applied to exfoliate--to remove dead skin cells--and to polish skin. A serum has strong nutrients and therapeutic ingredients that penetrate skin. After you apply a serum, let it dry before moving on to the next stage of applying a moisturizer.

  3. Moisturizer:  This is to keep skin from drying out due to sun, wind, or low humidity.

  4. Sunscreen: Skin can become sensitive to sunlight when you use AHA products. So you should protect your skin from sunlight by means of a sunscreen. Sunscreens have vitamins and light-diffusing ingredients that protect against sun damage.

  • Storage: Serums have compounds that can break down when exposed to air or sunlight. Typically, serums will be stored in an opaque or dark colored bottle, so as not to let sunlight in. And they will be in a tube or a pump, so that very little of the cream gets exposed to the air at any one time. As for where you should keep a serum, keep it in a cool, dry place, and preferably use it up within 6 months, for maximum effectiveness.

Top-Rated Brands

  • Alpha Skin--is based in Denver, Colorado, and was founded in 1992, but changed their name to Alpha Skin Products in 2016. Their parent company is Neoteric Cosmetics, Inc. They make high-quality anti-aging skin care products containing ingredients such as Glycolic AHA, retinol, and hyaluronic acid. They make anti-aging products, cleansers and toners, moisturizers and more.

  • OZ Naturals--was founded by Angela Irish, who was seeking to make a series of skin care products that are naturally-derived and yet highly effective. They use raw, natural ingredients with cold-process manufacturing to preserve the natural compounds.

  • Eva Naturals--are makers of natural skin care products, making serums, moisturizers, eye gel, toner, facial scrubs, and more. They are located in Lafayette, Louisiana.

  • The Ordinary-- is a brand of powerful skin treatment products, under the company Deciem. Their products include antioxidants, hydrators, suncare products, foundations, and more. They try to make products free of heavy metals, animal oils, coal tar dyes, and other potentially harmful ingredients.

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