PHA Polyhydroxy Acids

A new family of chemical exfoliators has taken skincare by storm; but what are PHAs—polyhydroxy acids—and why include them in our beauty rituals?

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About PHA Polyhydroxy Acids

PHAs are second-generation skincare acids that help to resurface and retexturize for a softer, plumper appearance and reduced fine lines. Locking in moisture, they build natural defenses and protect against external aggressors while their large molecular weight is slow-penetrating and gentler on sensitive skin.
Frequently Asked Questions
  • Technically speaking, PHAs are considered second-generation AHAs, which means they are simply a more advanced version of chemical exfoliant. Gluconolactone is the most common PHA, which you can find in our Micellar Gentle Peeling Water. The thing that makes them different to their AHA and BHA counterparts, though, is the molecular structure. PHAs have a large molecular size and so it stays on skin surface – which is where their power lies, while respecting the skin barrier.
  • Although they don’t penetrate as deeply, polyhydroxy acids such as gluconolactone still work in a similar way to both AHAs and BHAs. At Garnier, we use in Micellar Gentle Peeling Water the PHA gluconolactone that exfoliates dead skin cells on the surface of skin, giving it a more even tone and improving its overall texture, minimizing pores. And that’s not quite everything – gluconolactone plays a role on the epidermis barrier, which 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. Their large molecular structure allows them to stay on the skin's surface while respecting its barrier.

    For example, our Micellar Gentle Peeling Water powered by gluconolactone (PHA) and glycolic acid (AHA) can be used daily on face, eyes, and lips, is allergy tested and suitable for sensitive skins, while gently peeling skin and delivering clinically proven efficacy on skin tone and texture.

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