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What is "P.H.A." and what is its utility?

What is "P.H.A." and what is its utility?

Belonging to the AHA family, PHA or Polyhydroxy Acid is a gentle chemical exfoliant. It smoothens and evens out the skin by getting rid of dead cells on its surface. The main difference between PHAs and AHAs is the molecule size. The question that arises is: what is the utility of PHA? Let's focus.

Published November 17, 2021, updated on February 3, 2024, by Stéphanie, Doctorate in Life and Health Sciences — 3 min read

P.H.A., what is it?

Similar to A.H.A. and B.H.A., P.H.A. or polyhydroxy acids are chemical exfoliants. There are several types:

  • The gluconolactone or gluconic acid: this active ingredient is naturally present in skin cells;

  • The galactose : naturally present in the deep layers of the skin, this active ingredient has an effect on collagen production;

  • Thelactobionic acid : this active ingredient derived from lactose has soothing and moisturising properties.

P.H.A.s are suitable for all skin types, particularly sensitive skin. They are used to exfoliate the upper layer of the skin, without increasing its sensitivity to the sun. These are gentle ingredients due to the large size of their molecules. Therefore, they take time to penetrate the skin. They primarily act on the outer layers of the skin and tend to be less irritating.

P.H.A.s, such as lactobionic acid and gluconolactone, function similarly to A.H.A.s. Responsible for the gentle exfoliation of the skin, the P.H.A. also hydrates it. Furthermore, it improves its texture as well as its tonicity.

P.H.A.s can be combined with other active ingredients such as vitamin C or retinol. Their side effects are minimal. Even if you have sensitive skin, the application of this active ingredient is unlikely to cause tingling or irritation.

PHA, what is its utility?

When used regularly, P.H.A.s smooth and soften the skin. Moreover, they restore its radiance. P.H.A.s perform numerous functions:

  • They remove dead skin cells and deeply cleanse the pores;

  • They enhance the appearance of the skin;

  • They stimulate the skin renewal process;

  • They soften the skin and promote its hydration;

  • They strengthen the skin barrier.

Thanks to the size of their molecules, P.H.A.s perform a gentle exfoliation and are suitable for sensitive skin. In addition to their exfoliating virtues, they possess moisturising properties. They can be used during pregnancy. Moreover, these active ingredients are suitable for acne-prone skin as they help to even out the complexion and improve the texture of the skin.

Furthermore, P.H.A.s also have the advantage of retaining moisture. They even help to combat glycation, a process that weakens the collagen and elastin in the skin.


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