Most people who get acne as teenagers and young adults combat their pimples with over-the-counter benzoyl peroxide products, along with a good skin care routine. However, some victims, particular those with severe cases, need more help than that. So in this case, AHAs (alpha hydroxy acids) come into play. They are used as chemical peels which may assist those with severe acne in preventing new lesions from forming.
Acne results when the skin’s sebaceous glands produce too much oil or technically sebum, leading to clogged pores. Oily skin also provides a fertile environment for acne-causing bacteria to take hold and proliferate. Alpha hydroxy acids do not prevent the sebaceous glands from producing oil; instead, they work to regenerate or peel off the top layer of skin, removing dead skin cells and unclogging pores in the process. Once the skin’s top layer is gone, new clear skin forms.
The most common alpha hydroxy acids used in acne care are glycolic acids. Dermatologists themselves can use alpha hydroxy in much higher concentrations for in-office chemical peel procedures.
Users of over-the-counter alpha hydroxy acid products say they work best in combination with benzoyl peroxide to prevent pimples from forming. As a consolation, alpha hydroxy acid also helps combat flaky skin and can reduce the appearance of aging and fine lines. Meanwhile, using alpha hydroxy acids can help to reduce the number of pimples and loosen blackheads.
Finally, alpha hydroxy acid use can make your skin more sensitive to the sun, so be sure to use a sunscreen on any treated areas.