10 Best Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA) Lotions

From acne-prone skin to sun-damaged legs, Alpha hydroxy acids (AHA) are among the most effective ingredients for treating skin conditions. It reduces the size of clogged pores, boosts collagen production, and promotes blood flow in the skin. It’s such a favorite of doctors and beauty gurus that we created a list of the top 10 best alpha hydroxy acid lotions.

So, if you’re suffering sunburns, dry skin, acne, hyperpigmentation, or dull, uneven skin, this article will definitely help you. These products are guaranteed to give you the best results possible. But, before you start your journey for smoother, clearer, and toned skin, you need to understand AHA and its benefits. 

What Is AHA?

Alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) are a group of acids that exfoliate the skin, boost collagen production, and remove acne, leaving behind a newer and evenly pigmented skin cell. The best part about it is it is gentle on the skin and can be used by all skin types. Moreover, AHA is used in various skincare products such as serums, toners, and lotions!

Source: depositphotos.com
Source: depositphotos.com

There are several types of AHA. Some of the commonly used AHAs you can see on the market are:

  • Lactic acid which comes from lactose or other carbohydrates
  • Glycolic acid which comes from sugar cane
  • Citric acid which comes from citrus fruits
  • Tartaric acid which comes from grapes
  • Hydroxycaproic acid which comes from royal jelly
  • Hydroxycaprylic acid which comes from animals
  • Malic acid which comes from fruits

Lactic acid and glycolic acid are the most popular AHAs out of the six types of AHAs. They are also the commonly used AHAs in body lotions since they can easily penetrate the skin. Nevertheless, all AHAs work the same way. 

What Are the Benefits of AHA?

The benefits of AHA are endless! From exfoliating the skin to removing acne, AHA is such a wonderful acid that it’s not a surprise that many people rave about it. Here are some of the benefits you can gain from using AHA. 

1. It Gently Exfoliates the Skin

Thanks to its strong exfoliating effects, it clogs the pores and removes old cells, leaving moisturized, clean, and smooth skin. Exfoliation is the process of shedding dead outer skin cells to make way for new skin cells. 

Removing dead skin cells is important because when it accumulates, it will make your complexion look dull. Using a gentle exfoliating ingredient that doesn’t hurt the skin helps in achieving a clearer, brighter and smoother complexion. It also solves underlying skin conditions such as fine lines and wrinkles. 

2. Boosts Collagen Production

As we grow older, our collagen fibers break down, leaving dull and saggy skin. It doesn’t help that sun damage increases collagen destruction. It’s a good thing that aside from exfoliating the skin, AHA boosts collagen production

What it does is destroy old fiber allowing for new ones to grow. Hence, AHA increases cell renewal and reduces the signs of aging. To top it all, they are safe and suitable for all skin types. 

3. Treats Acne

If you have acne-prone skin, you will love AHA! AHA helps in removing dead skin cells in your skin which is very helpful in preventing acne. Acne is formed when your pores are clogged by dead skin cells. By removing these dead skin cells, it will help you from forming future breakouts.

4. Increases Blood Flow and Correct Discoloration of the Skin

Did you know that AHA can help increase your blood flow? It contains anti-inflammatory properties that ensure your skin receives the right amount of nutrients that will help correct dull and pale skin. Lastly, it removes rough and flaky skin to leave a smooth, bright, and even surface.

5. Increases Absorption of Other Chemicals

Layering different products to treat a certain skin condition is advisable. But you need to properly layer them and avoid mixing two contradicting ingredients to get the maximum benefits. AHA can help your skin properly absorb these ingredients. For example, glycolic acid, which is a type of AHA, can break through the layers of dead skin cells to reach the deeper layers of your skin that need hydration. So, if you want to get the best out of your products, you can use AHA.

You see, there are a lot of good and healthy benefits you can gain from including AHA in your routine.

10 Best AHA Body Lotions

Source: depositphotos.com
Source: depositphotos.com

The benefits of AHA are endless! From unclogging pores to exfoliating dead skin cells, AHA is like tiny soldiers that smoothen tired, dull, and acne-prone skin. So, if you are suffering from damaged, dull, and problematic skin, here are 10 AHA body lotions that will treat your problem areas.

1. Paula's Choice Skin Revealing Body Lotion 10% AHA

What we love about it:

  • Cruelty-free
  • Creamy, lightweight, and perfect for any skin type
  • Smoothens and exfoliates uneven skin tone

What we don’t like about it:

  • A bit on the expensive side

Get rid of bumpy skin, clogged pores, crepey skin, and rough patches with Paula’s Choice Skin Revealing Body Lotion. Thanks to a 10 percent concentration of glycolic acid, this creamy and antioxidant-rich body lotion help to exfoliate the skin and visibly improve the texture of uneven skin tone. Paula’s Choice is known for its AHA and BHA lines, so you can be assured that you can get rid of those red bumps and clogged pores in a non-abrasive way. 

Aside from its exfoliating properties, Paula’s Choice is packed with antioxidants that will protect your skin from dirt, pollution, and other environmental stressors. The leave-on body lotion is lightweight and hydrating without being too greasy. So, if you want to smoothen your dry skin, try out this exfoliating body lotion.

2. Donell AHA Body Lotion

What we love about it:

  • Cruelty-free
  • Perfect for mature and aging skin
  • Lightens freckles, sunspots, and hyperpigmentation

What we don’t like about it:

  • A bit on the expensive side

Suppose you have mature and sensitive skin. Donell AHA Body lotion is the right fit for you. The glycolic acid from the formula melts away dead skin cells while leaving a soft and even skin tone. It can also soften the rough areas on your body and lighten pigmentation, such as freckles and sunspots. 

If you have ingrown hair and small bumps from waxing or shaving, apply this body lotion in the area, and it will soften the areas without reducing moisture. You can definitely use this body lotion on any part of your body, but make sure to patch test and start on your knees to avoid irritation.   

3. CANE + AUSTIN 15% Glycolic Acid Body Retexture Lotion

What we love about it:

  • Keeps skin fresh, supple, and bump-free
  • Great consistency and fast-absorbing body lotion
  • Restores radiance and softness

What we don’t like about it:

  • Not cruelty-free

Cane + Austin 15% Glycolic body lotion is an ultra-hydrating and fast-absorbing body lotion that features advanced formula for restoring dull, dry, and uneven skin. The 15% glycolic acid exfoliates and lightens hyperpigmentation, while Vitamin A, C, and E plus Q10 provide strong protection against environmental damage and free radicals. 

This body lotion also helps in reducing wrinkles, increasing collagen production, and maintaining normal moisture levels. It doesn’t feel greasy since it quickly absorbs in your skin, so it’s perfect during dry, humid days. Continuously use the product to see desired results. 

4. REN Clean Skincare AHA Smart Renewal Body Serum

What we love about it:

  • Cruelty-free
  • It contains lactic acid and xylitol to gently exfoliate the skin
  • Keeps skin plump and hydrated
  • Protects skin from free radicals

What we don’t like about it:

  • A bit on the expensive side

If you want to exfoliate your body without scrubbing your body raw, this body serum is your answer. REN Clear Skincare Body Serum contains lactic acid and xylitol, which exfoliates the skin while keeping your skin hydrated. This body serum draws water molecules within the skin to the surface, hence, keeping your skin plump and hydrated

This body serum also contains probiotics that boost your skin’s ability to protect itself from free radicals. As for its consistency, it has a velvety smooth texture that is not greasy and sticky. It’s similar to the serums you apply at night, unlike the usual body lotion. Although the price is a bit expensive, we can tell that it’s a great investment for your skin. 

5. GLYTONE Exfoliating AHA Body Lotion – 17.5% Glycolic Acid

What we love about it:

  • Gluten-free, Oil-free. Non-comedogenic (will not clog pores)
  • Fast-absorbing and non-drying
  • Reduces the appearance of uneven skin tone 

What we don’t like about it:

  • Not cruelty-free

Glytone Exfoliating AHA Body Lotion is perfect for treating chicken skin, dry skin, acne, and hyperpigmentation. Simple apply on the areas that need treatment and monitor how it helps you reveal soft and brighter skin. The 17.5% glycolic acid is the main ingredient in brightening the skin tone and reducing the appearance of uneven skin tone. Don’t worry this is safe to use even though exceeds the 15% standard for AHA concentration,

It’s also fast-absorbing and non-drying. Aside from glycolic acid, this lotion contains green tea extract, Q10, and Vitamin E which fortifies your moisture barrier and protects it from free radicals. It also has aloe vera that calms and nourishes the skin. Since the glycolic acid concentration is high, make sure you do a patch test before applying it to your skin. 

6. Glycolix 15% Body Lotion – with Green Tea, Aloe Vera, Vitamin C, A, E, and CoQ10

What we love about it:

  • Best for dry skin and people with Keratosis Pilaris
  • Fortifies skin barrier
  • Removes dead skin cells

What we don’t like about it:

  • Not cruelty-free

Glycolic 15% Body Lotion is similar to Glytone Body Lotion due to its rich blend of antioxidants. Like the Glytone Body Lotion, this lotion contains vitamins A, E, C, and Q10 to protect your skin barrier. However, its glycolic acid concentration is not as high, but it can remove dead skin cells to reveal a softer and more youthful look. This body lotion is also best for Keratosis Pilaris patients.

7. Frank Body Smoothening AHA Body Lotion

What we love about it:

  • Cruelty-free, phthalate-free, paraben-free
  • Soothes irritated skin
  • Clears out acne and hyperpigmentation

What we don’t like about it:

  • Not fragrance-free

Frank Body Smoothening AHA Body Lotion is a chemical exfoliant that contains lactic and glycolic acid which smoothens and clears out acne and pigmentation while keeping your skin hydrated. Thanks to the mango seed butter, emu bush, Kakadu plum extracts, and quandong, this body lotion soothes irritated skin while giving you a glowing complexion. It’s also lightweight and non-sticky, thanks to the macadamia seed oil. So, if you want a non-greasy lotion that keeps your skin smooth as a baby’s bum, pick Frank Body Smoothening AHA Body Lotion. 

8. Drunk Elephant's AHA-Infused Body Lotion

What we love about it:

  • Gentle formula
  • Lightens uneven and dull skin tone
  • Restores radiance and softness

What we don’t like about it:

  • A bit strong for sensitive skin

Drunk Elephant is a cult-favorite skincare brand. One of their hyped products is the Drunk Elephant’s AHA-Infused Body Lotion. Formulated with 10% glycolic acid, this body lotion gently exfoliates dry and dull skin. Since it has 10% glycolic acid, do not apply it on open wounds and only use it every other day for the first week. Do not forget to apply sunscreen on top of the body lotion.

As for the results, you can instantly feel that your skin has softened after a few days of using the body lotion. Coconut fruit juice and sodium PCA also provide hydration to the skin while protecting it from free radicals. As for the consistency, it’s light and creamy but not greasy since it dries up quickly after application. Lastly, it’s fragrance-free.

9. Alpha Skincare Renewal Body Lotion 12% Glycolic AHA

What we love about it:

  • Cruelty-free, paraben-free, fragrance-free
  • Perfect for dry skin
  • Gentle to the skin

What we don’t like about it:

  • A bit greasy for oily skin

With 12% glycolic acid, this exfoliating body lotion is a perfect blend of acid and emollients that will keep your skin hydrated and moisturized. The 12% AHA aids in exfoliating the skin to reduce the appearance of fine lines while boosting your collagen products. It has effectively removed dead skin cells while keeping your skin moisturized. 

Aside from exfoliating the skin, it helps combat the early signs of aging. Also, it has a ph of 4. So, if you want to maintain a soft, glowing, and hydrated skin, pick Alpha Skincare Renewal Body Lotion. 

10. Village11factory AHA 12% Body Lotion

What we love about it:

  • Improve dull and dehydrated skin
  • Exfoliates dark spots, age spots, and blemishes
  • Moisturize and nourish your skin

What we don’t like about it:

  • May sting on sensitive skin, so conduct a patch test

This moisturizing body lotion works as a gentle exfoliator to rejuvenate your tired and texturized skin. It sloughs off dead skin cells, blemishes, age spots, and dark spots due to its 12% Glycolic Acid Solution while the mixture of green tea and Skullcap Extract helps in restoring your skin barrier, leaving a natural and radiant glow. Aside from these exfoliating ingredients, this body lotion helps in boosting collagen production making your skin plump and hydrated.

FAQs About Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA)

AHAs are powerful acids that are used to exfoliate the skin and improve skin texture. Since AHA is an acid, users must be aware of how to properly the product with this formula. We listed some of the commonly asked questions regarding the use of AHA and provided answers backed by science.

How Much Percentage of Aha Is Needed in Our Body?

Based on the FDA, you should use AHA products with a 10% concentration, while the Cleveland Clinic advises using products with less than 15% AHA concentration. This is to prevent any side effects on your skin. Products with 5% AHA can be used every day. However, AHA peels should only be used a few times a month. 

Are There Any Side Effects When Using Aha Products?

If it’s your first, you may experience some minor side effects. Some of them are red marks, burning, itching, and flakes. Hence, dermatologists recommend that you use AHA every other day and apply sunscreen for UV protection. If you experience consistent peeling and itching, then it’s time to consult with your doctor.

What Is the Difference Between AHA and BHA?

AHAs and BHAs are exfoliating acids that remove dead skin cells from the skin, leaving behind smooth and even skin tone. The difference is in their usage. AHAs work on the surface of the skin while BHAs penetrate the deep layers of your skin to remove sebum.

If you have normal to dry skin, AHAs are best for you. It can target skin concerns such as hyperpigmentation, fine lines, wrinkles, enlarged pores, and uneven skin tone. BHAs, on the other hand, work both on the skin’s surface and inside the pores. So, if you have bumpy and acne-prone skin, BHA is best for you. 

Can You Combine AHA and BHA?

Yes, you can use AHA and BHA together. This is only if your skin needs more exfoliation. If it does not, then it’s best if you use them at separate times in a day. You don’t need to use both in fear of missing out on their benefits. 

How to Use AHA?

AHAs are best used every other day until you get used to them. Make sure that you are using products with 5%-15% AHA. Anything more than that needs prior consultation with your dermatologist. 

Apply your AHA serum after cleansing and toning. You can immediately apply other products to your routine. You don’t need to wait for the AHA to dry. Just don’t mix AHA with Vitamin C and Retinol. You can mix AHA with Niacinamide. Don’t forget to wear sunscreen to avoid sunburns since exfoliation makes the skin sensitive to the sun. 

Final Thoughts

AHAs are truly heaven-sent. Without these exfoliating acids, we wouldn’t be able to achieve a clear, glowing, and bright skin tone. Just make sure that you thoroughly read our FAQs section for you to know how to properly AHA. 

Since we mentioned a couple of AHAs, we were able to pick our top AHA body lotion. Drunk Elephant’s AHA-Infused Body Lotion is the best overall AHA body lotion. It’s super affordable, and the results can instantly be seen in a day or two based on the reviews given by users. 

We hope you were able to learn a lot about AHAs and their benefits through this article. There may be a number of AHA body lotions in the market, but you can start with the list we have given you. If you also want to know more about glycolic acid and cruelty-free brands, you can check our other articles.

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