I discovered polyhydroxy acids (PHAs) tangentially because of my research on hair & beard care. TWIST! Over the last 3 years, I've been studying natural hair conditioners so that I can test what implications could potentially carry over to more efficient beard care. I started by looking at some of the most popular leave-in conditioners for natural hair. Combing over the ingredients list of conditioners that customers described as incredibly moisturizing, I discovered a few had a small amount of alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) in them. (Without getting too boring-- in hair care, AHAs function as a humectant, but in skin care, they mainly function as an exfoliatant.) But when I analyzed my favorite conditioner of bunch with AHAs, I found that it had a very interesting ingredient that I eventually found out was a PHA (Okay, moment of truth: at first I thought it was a typo, but then I went back to double-check #DontJudgeMe). I read that a PHA was a new-age AHA, so I decided to add a PHA to JAUNT MAN's VAGARY: Oil-Free Conditioning Gel because I loved that it did in my conditioner--Simple as that (or so I thought)....
After the release of JAUNT MAN, I started getting so much positive feedback from men, telling me how great their skin was feeling. While their beards were softened and more moisturized (*wink), they were more surprised at how great the skin underneath their beard felt. I think I just assumed that the men didn’t know what good skin care felt like LOL. I knew the PHA would work wonders on hair and just assumed that it was delivering the same benefits as an AHA for skin. And, because the women's skin care treatments already had AHAs, I didn't think to add PHAs to the women's line, too.
Months go by.... Lol
One night, I was making more of the oil-free conditioner for my dad at the same time I needed to make a little toning elixir for myself. So, I decided to toss in a little PHA into my toning concoction. I wanted to see what the men were experiencing and compare the PHA to the AHA for myself. I tried some of what I mixed up that night, but when I woke up, my skin was so much smoother. I used it again that night. And, the next morning, my complexion was more even. A few days later as I was looking at myself under unforgiving fluorescent lights-- my skin was so smooth & even that I looked as though I was wearing foundation! Visible results in a less than week! Let me find out this PHA got me G-L-O-W-I-N-G!!!! That night, I started researching the effects of PHAs on skin and how they compare to AHAs.
I found that while PHAs deliver the same benefits of alpha hydroxy acid, they do it with less irritation (burning/tingling) and do not increase skin's sensitivity to sun exposure. They fight environmental stressors and internal bodily processes that breakdown collagen and skin's elasticity, softening fine lines. They decongest pores, reducing acne & blackheads. Even more, PHAs offer additional moisturizing (dry skin), anti-inflammatory (redness), and antioxidant (protection) properties. What-the-What!!!
First, PHAs have humectant properties like AHAs, meaning that they draw moisture from the air until the skin, but unlike AHAs, PHAs strengthen the barrier function, which reduces water loss.
Second, PHAs dissolve the bonds that bind annoying dead cells to the surface layer of skin just like AHAs. But, because of their molecular size, PHAs are less irritating because they penetrate the skin at a much lower rate. In other words, PHAs can still get you to your glow!
Third: Before you think about throwing all the AHAs away for PHAs, know that they're better together. AHAs are more potent exfoliators than PHAs, which makes them great for weekly treatments or moments when you feel you need a little extra boost. However, because PHAs repair & restore the skin, they reduce the negative side effects some can experience when using AHAs alone. Additionally, PHAs is gentle enough for daily use. That means that when you use an AHA, a PHA would maintain the benefits of stronger AHAs for longer, which means you end up using less of the heavy-hitters over time.
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