In recent years, I’ve noticed that we’ve all become a lot savvier to different skincare ingredients. We are way more eager now to research what’s in the products we put on our face (THANK GOD!). By now, you should know what exfoliation means, at least in broad terms. But, with so many new ingredients emerging, we’re forced to step up our knowledge of skincare terminology almost every day.
The main ingredients I’ve noticed that people are eager to include in their regime are AHAs and BHAs. As you’re probably aware, Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs) and Beta Hydroxy Acids (BHAs) speed up cell turnover and gently exfoliate the skin without being abrasive or stripping, gently resurfacing and improving skin texture. AHAs (such as Glycolic Acid) are water-soluble, while BHAs (like Salicylic Acid) are oil-soluble, making them more effective at clearing out clogged pores.
Recently, a new acid family became increasingly popular, a family that is commonly referred to as LHAs – Lipo Hydroxy Acids (you may also see them listed on the label as capryloyl salicylic acid). The ingredient is increasingly found in creams, cleansers, toners and spot treatments thanks to its gentle exfoliating powers.
So what are LHAs?
Lipohydroxy acid is a derivative of Salicylic Acid and has skin renewing, exfoliating, and acne-treating properties. Its gentleness comes from its slower cell penetration compared to Salicylic Acid, due to a higher molecular weight. LHAs are also more lipophilic than Salicylic Acid, this resulting in an individual cell-by-cell exfoliation that is associated with excellent tolerability. And while Salicylic Acid has a pH around 3, LHA’s has a PH around 5 which is much closer to the natural pH of the skin. This means it’s less harsh to the skin natural barrier and even suitable for sensitive skin. Lipo Hydroxy Acids are also a great alternative to BHAs for oily skin that is prone to sensitivity or dehydration.
As an anti-aging ingredient, the use of LHAs use has been proved to result in dermal thickening and has been found to be an excellent hyaluronic acid, collagen, and elastin booster.
It also has gentle astringent properties, making it great for those with acne-prone skin, clogged pores, or uneven skin texture. It penetrates the skin less than Salicylic Acid, with proprieties similar to those of Glycolic Acid.
WHAT TYPE OF INGREDIENT IS: Acid
BENEFITS: Ensures individual cell-by-cell exfoliation, Perfect BHA for oily skin that is prone to sensitivity or dehydration, Epidermal thickening (Hyaluronic acid, collagen, and elastin booster), Gentle astringent properties and increased tolerability compared to Salicylic Acid.
WHO SHOULD USE IT: Generally, LHAs are safe for all skin types. Those with sensitive/reactive skin or eczema should do a patch test on the inside of the wrist before use, just to be safe.
HOW YOU CAN USE IT: Ideally, LHAs would be best used in a cleanser, toner or spot treatment.
PLAYS WELL WITH SPF, Niacinamide, Hyaluronic acid.
DON’T USE WITH: Retinol, Vitamin C, Multiple different acids (During your nighttime routine stick to only using it with one other to avoid dryness).
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LHA was first developed by L’Oreal researchers in the 1980s, and as such, is found exclusively in L’Oreal or L’Oreal-owned skincare products.