The Best AHA Serum– 2017 Reviews & Top Picks
In order to help you cope with the signs of aging and acne, we’re rounding up the best AHA serum products in this list. We’ve carefully picked these products based on their ability to cleanse and exfoliate deeply. We believe these products can help you win the battle with time, regain your confidence and support your beauty.
Reading various labels in skin care products, you might come across some acronyms or ingredients that sound straight out of a chemistry class.
You might be skeptical to try such products given their content seem a bit risky. Especially when the word acid is tacked right after.
Let’s take for example Alpha Hydroxy Acid.
For those who didn't pay close attention to chemical bonds and so, hydroxy may have a rather plastic ring to it. The acid may just escalate your fear since you have been taught not to touch acids with your bare hands for safety.
Now, why put an acid on your face?
A proper understanding of the ingredients is essential, and this is where we come in. We will correct common misconceptions and give light to the AHA serums available in the market.
We reviewed and ranked and here are our top 5 picks for the best AHA serums.
Quick Overview: Our Top 5 Picks for the Best AHA Serum
Our top pick for the best AHA serum is OZ Naturals Vitamin C Serum + AHA For Skin.
It combines vitamins C and E with alpha hydroxy acid. This can help reduce the visible signs of aging such as fine lines and wrinkles.
The top two pick is Alpha Skin Care Intensive Renewal Serum. As for this one, AHA is in the form of glycolic acid. This is important when it comes to collagen production.
Number three on the list is Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting AHA Gel Exfoliant. It contains 8% AHA and may be used up to twice a day. This is a good choice for cleansing and toning.
Coming in at number four is Best Glycolic Acid Serum with Salicylic Acid. AHA as glycolic acid is combined with a beta-hydroxy acid (BHA). It is enriched with kojic acid and licorice. This can lead to a better exfoliation.
And for the fifth spot, we have Serious Serum AHA BHA Liquid. This serum combines AHA and BHA. It may help remove ingrown hairs and even beards.
What is AHA?
AHA stands for Alpha Hydroxy acids and is now a common ingredient in skincare products. You can find it in lotions, scrubs, and serums.
Although it has the word acid in its name, there is nothing to worry about. This is not the kind of acid your chemistry class warned you.
It is another type of acid. Think of it the same way like the right kinds of fat and good kinds of bacteria.
AHA is a common subtype of hydroxy acid (HA). Scientifically speaking, it is an AHA because it is a carboxylic acid. It has a single hydroxyl group, attached to the alpha-position. The structure of this compound is what makes it an AHA.
Now this acid, contrary to the image that you may have conjured, is not just found synthetically.
In fact, it may be found naturally, for example in fruit and milk.
The type of AHA that is found naturally in milk is called lactic acid. It is a powerful ingredient in fighting acne breakouts. There are some additional precautions to be considered before applying it.
Keeping this in mind, you can greatly benefit from its usage, rather than lose anything.
Glycolic acid is another type of AHA. It is naturally found in sugar cane. From citrus fruits, we have citric acid. Tartaric acid comes from grape wine. We can even find acids in apples. These are called malic acids.
AHA may also be manufactured. Still, the effects and functions of AHA remain the same.
What can AHA do for your skin?
We won’t be making a mistake if we turn this question upside down.
So what can’t AHA do? It has surely become one of our favorite skincare ingredients. Given the fact that it possesses immense power, it has a lot to offer.
AHA is also commonly used in chemical peeling. This means AHA may be an excellent exfoliant for your skin. The extent of exfoliation may depend on the type, concentration, and pH level of the AHA used in the product. Generally, this is not so important, as all types of AHA may help you exfoliate.
AHA exfoliates through dissolving the intercellular bond that makes old and dead skin cells cling to the epidermis.
Dermatologists also claim that a handful of benefits are on your way for using AHA.
For instance, since the dead cells are removed, your skin is encouraged to produce a new, softer, and smoother layer. It is then capable of replacing the old. Thus, problems with fine lines and pigmentation may also be addressed.
Aside from these benefits, using AHA may also help stimulate the production of collagen. This may enhance your skin’s ability to retain moisture naturally.
Provided that hydration levels are high, skin regains its strength and suppleness.
So here comes the tricky part - is AHA dangerous to your skin?
While there are benefits, you should consider some eventual disadvantages, too. Please notice that precautionary measures are to be followed. Intelligent thinking and following instructions are what you have to do.
Then you can safely use AHA in your skincare routine, adding efficiency to your beauty support.
Although using AHA can’t be lethal, some effects are adverse. It depends on the length and amount of exposure to the acid.
The most common effect of AHA is an increased sensitivity to the sun. Be cautious about that and don’t apply it before sunbathing. If you do, this may lead to undesired effects.
As a result, your skin might appear reddish and over-exposed.
That is because of AHA’s extraordinary powers to reveal tender new skin.
Wearing a right amount of sunscreen and avoiding the sun are advised. Otherwise using AHA may be counterproductive.
You can even end up getting more wrinkles in the process.
Our advice is to use the AHA with care and diligence. It is highly therapeutical, yet you need to follow the instructions responsibly.
AHA may also cause pigmentary changes. This can happen if you don’t follow the protocol regarding sun rays.
Probably the biggest dangers of AHA’s improper usage are dermatitis and rashes. It’s vital to understand the logic behind this process. It is nothing more, but a chemical reaction. If you do not trigger it, you can make the most of AHA’s positive effects.
Before applying AHA make sure you did a patch test first. See if your skin may or may not tolerate AHA. Afterward, carefully select the dosage.
Also, follow the procedures after putting on AHA serums. Slab the sunscreen and use UV-protected umbrellas. Better yet, don’t get sunbathing for a week.
This is the safest way to avoid undesired results.
Product Review: Our Top 5 Best AHA Serum
Our top pick for the best AHA serum comes with a dropper. It makes it so easy for us to get the correct amount. It also helps to maximize the serum. Thanks to that dropper, it lasted quite long.
This serum may be used to reduce visible signs of aging. Long and frequent exposures to the sun can cause damage or hyperpigmentation. Free radicals cells are the guilty ones here.
With ingredients such as AHA, Vitamin C, and Vitamin E, this serum may add a lot to your anti-aging routine.
It may also be used to promote healthy cells production. This effect is due to regular skin turnovers which improve the skin’s tone and texture.
The AHAs in this serum are glycolic acid and citric acid. Both types may be gathered from plants, as we mentioned above, sugarcane and citrus.
It may also lighten the skin’s tone and may even boost on a cellular level. This is possible because of the increased moisture absorption. In turn, it stimulates collagen production.
That’s why AHA’s potential in repairing skin’s conditions is so significant.
As for vitamins C and E, both are antioxidants. They work harmoniously since they complement each other well.
The two antioxidants have the ability to trap free radical cells. These are the primary cause of premature aging.
What we also liked about this serum is how most of its ingredients are cold-pressed.
Cold-pressing is widely used in juicing. It has become common knowledge that this process is of great importance. When done adequately, it can keep all the powerful ingredients alive. Skin care products also adopt this method.
Cold-pressing the ingredients used in this serum may help deliver a higher potency of their healing abilities. It may just as well make it less possible for hypoallergenic reactions to occur. This is because no petrochemicals or other preservatives are used.
What we get is free of parabens and sulfates product.
What We Liked:
- No artificial fragrances
- Suitable for all skin types
What We Didn't Like:
- Takes longer for visible results
- A bit greasy
Top two on our list of the Best AHA Serum comes in a spray-type lid.
Serums may be on the thicker side than the typical liquid we see in spray bottles.
Surprisingly though, the spray lid worked well with the serum's rather watery consistency. It became helpful in keeping track of the amount we used.
Thus, you would be able to use the serum for a considerably extended period. And accordingly, this feature is very budget-friendly.
The product’s priority is renewal. Reduction of fine lines and boosting collagen production are at the top of its to-do list. What you can get in return is an evened-out skin tone, as well as a smoother texture.
The AHA in this serum is glycolic acid. Holding on 14%, it is the main ingredient of this serum.
Aside from the glycolic acid, the content is enriched with Aloe barbadensis juice and Green tea extract.
AHA in this serum may focus on helping the skin exfoliate. It may hack off the bindings that make dead, dark, and useless cells. Not only this, but it gets further by clinging them to the epidermis.
Since you are exfoliating, it may also mean that your collagen production is boosted.
Collagen is the primary protein responsible for a firm and supple skin.
So you may just as well get the hack to younger and healthier skin.
The aloe juice in the formula may help soothe the skin. Since it is known for its anti-inflammatory properties, the redness may be reduced and calmed.
Green tea extract may also assist the AHA in coping with the signs of aging. It may also protect the skin from the sun's rays. We liked this combination a lot.
What we also found pretty useful about this serum is how it dries out easily. This might have something to do with the watery consistency of the serum.
Still, we are satisfied with how our skin absorbed it fairly quick.
What We Liked:
- Skin absorbs it well
- Comes in easy-to-use spray bottle
What We Didn't Like:
- Possible tingling sensation
- May cause dryness
Top three on the list is a product that has more gel-like in consistency. This serum may address a variety of issues. You can consider using it to get rid of fine lines and wrinkles. It comes really handy treating dryness and uneven skin tone.
The formulation of this serum includes AHA in the form of glycolic acid. It is combined with Panthenol and Chamomile extract. This reduces the adverse effects of over-exfoliation, as these two ingredients are famous for their soothing abilities.
In simple words, you can get your skin exfoliated deeply and cleansed entirely. But then again, you don’t have to be worried for over-drying it.
Still, AHA may repair your skin's moisture retention capabilities. Collagen and moisture may do some serious help for your aging skin. They can add to its structure, elasticity, and suppleness.
As to panthenol, it may primarily help hydrate your skin. What it does is to attract water chemically. Furthermore, this could be beneficial for your cells. Given a lasting protection of drying is provided, you can finally just sit back and relax.
It is a humectant, meaning that it can reach down to the very last layer of skin cells. Only when you start to hydrate regularly, can you reach the desired results. Including this in your skincare routine, you can rely on a better appearance.
The Chamomile in this serum may help soothe dry and irritated skin. We already commented on the importance of balancing out the powerful AHA. It may also reduce the signs of aging as Chamomile is an antioxidant as well.
What we liked about this product was how it was absorbed by our skin quite well. It didn't feel greasy, and it left our skin looking dewy.
What We Liked:
- Absorbs well
- Balanced ingredients
What We Didn't Like:
- Natural scent may be off-putting
Number four on the list is an age defy serum that may clear, smooth, and brighten up the skin.
What we have here are three very powerful acids. The first one is AHA, the second is Beta Hydroxy Acid (BHA), and the third one is Kojic acid. AHA is in the form of Glycolic acid, while BHA is in the shape of Salicylic acid.
By now we’ve already discussed on the abilities of the Glycolic acid and AHA in general.
To summarize, it may smooth your fine lines and wrinkles. It can also contribute to brightening up your face and clearing pigmented spots. Provided we don’t forget to exfoliate between 2 and 3 times a week, we are one step closer to a bright and radiant skin.
So what about the Beta Hydroxy Acid?
AHA and BHA are practically relatives (BHA may also help exfoliate). One of the main differences is that BHA works best combined with oil. Therefore, a better effect is produced.
Salicylic acid may penetrate through the oil clogged pores and clear them.
BHA may be both anti-inflammatory and antibacterial. The acne and rosacea symptoms may be well treated. It can calm down the swelling and redness, or dry up the zit.
The last ingredient in this product is Kojic acid. This is yet another acid with a natural origin. It is produced by the Japanese fungus, koji.
Kojic acid is the milder AHA version. While still being a good exfoliant, it may brighten the skin tone.
What caught our attention most in this serum, is its character. It holds the traits of a multitasker.
Three acids are well-combined to aim not only deep exfoliation but also treating acne and rosacea conditions.
What We Liked:
- Treats acne and rosacea
- Good makeup base
What We Didn't Like:
- Visible results may be slower than
- Unpleasant scent
Last but not least is a serum that combines Glycolic and Lactic acids. What adds up to its quality are Willow bark extract and Peppermint.
This serum may help reduce dark spots and wrinkles. It holds an exceptional trait. It can be used to get rid of ingrown hair and beard bumps.
We have all encountered these nasty and totally uncomfortable issues. When a hair gets stuck, it eventually grows back, causing us pain.
Glycolic and lactic acid in this serum are both derived from organic products. We have sugar cane for the former and beetroot for the latter. This makes it a good vegan alternative.
Aging skin may be smoothed out because of the exfoliation. At the same time, collagen and moisture do their job. Once the skin is well hydrated, we’ve already made it halfway to the dreamed results.
AHA boosts collagen production, and the skin's ability to retain moisture is also encouraged. Your sagging skin may be given a lift and an extra "filler" so that the wrinkles and fine lines look smooth and full.
Willow bark extract may help cleanse oily skin and prevent further breakouts in the process. It may also exfoliate and soothe bumps as well.
As it contains flavonoids and tannins, Willow bark is also considered an antioxidant and may help combat the free radical cells. They may be causing pigmentation, as well as worsening the results of aging skin.
The last ingredient, Peppermint oil, may help control acne and excess sebum.
We liked how this serum may be useful not just for aging skin.
Problems such as acne and ingrown hair are common. Especially after wax sessions. We consider it a huge plus that this serum is able to win the fight against them.
What We Liked:
- Diminishes ingrown hairs
- Easily absorbed
What We Didn't Like:
- Visible results may take longer
- Strong scented
Latest Reviews and Comparisons of the Best AHA Serum
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The Bottom Line
The top spot for the best AHA serum goes to OZ Naturals Vitamin C + AHA Facial Serum.
This serum is mostly focused on exfoliation and reducing the visible signs of aging such as fine lines, wrinkles, and possible dark spots.
What we liked about this product is how it used two types of AHA. Both of them - Glycolic and Citric acid, can be found naturally in crops and fruits.
They are not alien to our organisms. Furthermore, they are embraced by our own cells easily, thus providing a high level of efficiency.
These AHAs were further combined with two antioxidants that are considered the perfect duo among all antioxidants - Vitamins C and E.
These ingredients were then cold-pressed, and this particular method caught our eye.
Cold-pressed essentials mean no artificial additives and preservatives. This is by far the best way for manufacturing quality products.
Bearing in mind our tips and advice on precautions with AHA, you can benefit a lot.
This is an extremely positively influential acid. It can become the cure for deep acne. Included for proper cleansing, it can maintain your skin’s youthful looks.