We’re probably already using our fair share of alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) in our skincare routines without knowing it. (Insert solo high-five here). AHAs are food-derived natural acids and include the well-known glycolic acid (from sugar) and lactic acid (from milk), both of which are staple ingredients when it comes to anti-aging skincare. Queen Cleopatra supposedly bathed in sour milk for the sake of beautiful skin.

AHAs basically dissolve the top layer of dead skin, in turn allowing products to deeply penetrate the dermis, and making skin “glow.” That’s not a small feat…extreme micro-exfoliation, the main function of AHAs, also smoothes the skin, reduces the appearance of acne scars and discoloration, treats acne, and helps ease fine lines and wrinkles by stimulating collagen production and firming skin. Can we get an amen? If that isn’t enough to convince us, it’s NBD, the benefits of these miracle acids are backed by research and are certainly already lurking in our derm prescriptions and skincare products for that very reason. The only side effect, AHAs make skin extra sensitive to the sun, so slather up the SPF, although this should go without saying.

Try one of these AHA-featuring products for better skin…

Murad Rejuvenating AHA Hand Cream ($25) – Hands are often overlooked when it comes to anti-aging and unless wrinkly, discolored hands are your thing, treat those mitts to an AHA hand cream. This one makes hands soft without the greasy feeling. Skincare should not be restricted to our faces.

Mario Badescu A.H.A. & Ceramide Moisturizer ($20) – A lightweight moisturizing cream that treats skin discoloration and fights wrinkles with lemon extract (citric acid, also an AHA).

Peter Thomas Roth AHA/BHA Acne Clearing Gel ($54) – Those with acne-prone skin don’t need to pick a skincare battle anymore, this wash fights and treats acne and reduces the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and skin discoloration, like say acne scars. A true winner.

First Aid Beauty Resurfacing Liquid 10% AHA ($55) – A leave-on exfoliator powered by four AHAs to reveal smoother, brighter skin. Gentle enough for daily use, but do avoid contact with the eye area.

Dermadoctor KP Duty Lotion ($38) – Exfoliation and hydration in one. This cult-fave lotion was formulated to treat keratosis pilaris (KP), a common skin condition that causes dry patches and tiny bumps.

Herbivore Blue Tansy AHA + BHA Resurfacing Clarity Mask ($48) – A cooling gel mask that resurfaces skin with fruit enzymes (natural AHAs), also treating acne with salicylic acid and calms redness and irritation with its key ingredient “blue tansy oil.”

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Claudia Mercado is a beauty-obsessed writer living in Long Beach, CA.

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