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In the skincare world, chemical exfoliation is often hailed as the answer to everyone’s clear-skin woes. From glycolic acid AHAs to salicylic acid BHAs, these exfoliators promise to do it all: resurface, clarify, and even eliminate acne-causing bacteria. While these skincare big guns may bring real results, they can be tricky for acid rookies and those with sensitive skin. 

Enter PHA: the new kid on the acids block. More than another buzzy trend, PHA is a game-changer because of how effective yet gentle it is. Let’s get to know PHA, one of the star ingredients of our Ease Up Watery PHA Oil Cleanser.

What are PHAs?

PHA, or Polyhydroxy Acids, are super gentle exfoliants. Similar to their AHA cousins, PHA sloughs away dead skin cells on the surface — resulting in a brighter complexion and more even texture. The most common types of PHAs are gluconolactone, galactose, and lactobionic acid.

Why should you use PHAs? 

  • Gentle and non-irritating

On a molecular level, PHAs are larger in structure and don’t penetrate as deep into the skin. As a result, PHAs are less likely to sensitize, irritate, and disrupt the skin barrier compared to BHAs and AHAs. No stinging or redness here! 

  • Great for hydration and barrier support

PHAs are multi-tasking heroes. It’s not just an exfoliant, but also a humectant. That means they help skin retain moisture and support barrier health, unlike other acids that may leave your face feeling parched for moisturizer. 

  • Fight inflammation and free radicals

Studies have found that PHAs are armed with several anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, helping to reverse and prevent damage to skin cells from pollution and UV rays.  

  • Brightens and boosts radiance

Although PHAs are gentler, they aren’t any less effective as other stronger exfoliants. As mentioned, PHAs can slough away dead skin cells, fade hyperpigmentation, improve skin texture, and reveal a more radiant, brighter complexion. 

Who can use PHAs? 

Everyone! Again, dipping into acids can be hard if you’ve got sensitive or dry skin, or are simply new to this skincare step. Fortunately, PHAs are so gentle that even those with rosacea and eczema can use it! Nonetheless, don’t forget to do a patch test.

Do PHAs increase sun sensitivity?

You may have heard that using AHAs like glycolic acid, lactic acid, and tartaric acid increase your skin’s sensitivity to the sun. So if you’re a regular acid exfoliator, you definitely need to double up on sun protection. The good news with PHA is that it’s less likely to make you more vulnerable to UV damage and sunburn. However, the same rule still applies: wear sunscreen!

How do you incorporate PHA into your skincare routine?

PHA products come in many forms: liquid toners, serums, masks, and more. What makes our Ease Up Watery PHA Oil Cleanser so great is that it ticks so many boxes. As an oil cleanser, it effectively removes grime, residual make-up, and SPF. And as a gentle exfoliant, it uses a tri-acid complex of PHA + Mandelic Acid + Lactic Acid to polish your skin in one wash and leave it noticeably clarified. No tight, squeaky-clean feel; just softer, spotless skin. Because it’s so lightweight and watery in texture, there’s no need to double-cleanse unless you’re wearing stubborn, waterproof make-up. 

If you’ve got normal to oily skin, you can use it up to 5 times a week, and up to 3 times a week for sensitive skin. Follow with your serum, moisturizer, and SPF, and you’re good to go! Remember, when integrating acids in your routine, steer clear of other potent actives such as vitamin C and retinol, as this may affect the efficacy of your products and cause irritation.

Shop Ease Up Watery PHA Oil Cleanser on

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