Happy Asian girl touching her face.

Acids have taken over the beauty world – and not the kind your momma warned you about. These modern-day acids are good for your skin. When used correctly, they can keep your complexion smooth and blemish-free. You know of , which are in many exfoliating skincare products, but what is this newcomer called PHA? Read on to learn more.

What Is PHA? The Latest “It” Acid

Skincare enthusiasts have been raving about the transformative power of acids.AHAs, like small molecules and anti-inflammatory properties to even out the skin tone and reduce . Meanwhile, BHAs like work on the surface as well as deep within the pores to loosen skin cells and dissolve excess sebum. 

While these two acids work well on most skin types, they can still leave sensitive skin feeling tight and inflamed. That’s neither the acid’s fault nor yours — some things just aren’t meant to be. Enter PHA, also known as polyhydroxy acid. It falls under the AHA family but has much larger molecules than its sisters, which bodes well for those with sensitive skin. The larger the molecule, the less irritating the acid.

PHAs have the same benefits as AHAs but with added . This means adding a PHA to your routine can help strengthen the skin barrier. It also has antioxidant properties that help address signs of photoaging. Examples of PHAs are gluconolactone and lactobionic acid, a gentler version of lactic acid.

How to Use PHA

It’s typical of the beauty world to gift us with a shiny, new “holy grail” just when you were getting used to its predecessors. Dubbed the next-generation AHA, PHA is already a common ingredient in many skincare products, but it’s remained under the radar to consumers until now. Its claim to fame? Being an acid that’s suitable for sensitive skin, which means all skin types can use it. The best part? It doesn’t have any side effects like peeling skin.

PHA for Sensitive Skin

Most skincare acids are incorporated into toners, masks, moisturizers, and facial cleansers. Those with can try using products with PHA as a milder alternative to AHA. That said, don’t forget to do a patch test anyway, just in case. Moreover, build up your tolerance if you’ve never used an exfoliating acid. You can do this by instead of using the product daily.

PHA for Oily Skin

Another advantage of using PHA is its versatility. Generally, you can use it in conjunction with other treatments and active ingredients. If you have , try layering a salicylic acid cleanser with a PHA toner to address acne on the epidermis and within the pores. However, consult your doctor before doing so to rule out any contraindications.

PHA for Dry Skin

If your is also sensitive (it reacts to products quickly and is prone to redness and itching), you’re better off using PHAs than AHAs to even out the skin tone and address pigmentation. A PHA toner can help lift dead skin cells and remove flakes, revealing a healthy glow.

General PHA Aftercare Tips

Gentle aftercare is essential when using any exfoliating acid. Your skin can be more sensitive during this time, so switch to soothing, non-irritating products. Try POND'S Aloe Vera Jelly Cleanser, a gel formula with 100% natural origin aloe vera and vitamin B3 to hydrate the skin. It’s also alcohol and paraben-free.

Always follow with a moisturizer. Use POND'S Aloe Vera Jelly Moisturizer, which uses the same hydrating ingredients to nourish the skin. Finally, apply a with at least SPF 30 to protect your skin from UV rays.

If AHAs and BHAs have left your skin feeling more drab than fab, try products with PHA. It’s a gentler approach to exfoliating and is suitable for all skin types.