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Association des PHA avec d'autres actifs.

With Which Ingredients Can PHA Be Combined?

PHAs (polyhydroxy acids) are generating a growing interest in cosmetology. Together with AHA ("alpha hydroxy acids") and BHA ("beta hydroxy acids"), they belong to the family of hydroxy acids. They are known as the new generation of AHAs and are particularly appreciated for their gentle exfoliating action. Discover the best combinations of active ingredients with PHA in this article.

Published March 11, 2024, by Sandrine, Scientific Editor — 12 min read

A Few Words About P.H.A.

Polyhydroxy acids or P.H.A. are organic acids. They are considered the new generation of A.H.A. and are known for their keratolytic action, meaning they remove dead skin cells and accelerate cell renewal. Unlike AHAs, P.H.A. have the advantage of being gentle and not increasing the skin's sensitivity to the sun. Likewise, they exhibit moisturizing properties. They offer the same properties as A.H.A., but without being irritating. For these reasons, they are suitable for dry, reactive or sensitive skin.

There are three types of polyhydroxy acids commonly used in cosmetology:

  • Gluconolactone: Also called gluconic acid, gluconolactone is one of the active ingredients naturally found in skin cells. This exfoliant has both moisturizing and antioxidant effects.

  • Lactobionic acid: This lactose derivative has antioxidant, soothing and moisturizing effects. It softens wrinkles, fine lines, pigmentation spots and scars. Lactobionic acid also helps protect the skin barrier.

  • Galactose: This active ingredient stimulates collagen production and also gently removes dead skin cells.

P.H.A.: Good Combinations

P.H.A. can be combined with other active ingredients to enhance their effects. Find out which active ingredients they can be combined with:

  • P.H.A. and Retinol:

Retinol, a vitamin A derivative, is the key active ingredient in the fight against skin aging. It stimulates the synthesis of elastin and collagen, the fibrous proteins in the dermis that are crucial for skin firmness and elasticity. When combined with P.H.A., it enhances anti-acne and photoaging action.

However, retinol is a molecule that can be irritating and drying. If you have sensitive skin, you may want to turn to Bakuchiol instead, which is a natural alternative to retinol with fewer side effects.

  • P.H.A. and moisturizing active ingredients:

P.H.A. are mainly appreciated in cosmetics for their moisturizing properties. If you combine them with other moisturizing substances such as hyaluronic acid, inulin or aloe vera, you can reduce the loss of moisture from the skin that causes feelings of tightness and discomfort. Your skin will feel good again. Our exfoliating cleansing gel combines gluconolactone with inulin and aloe vera. It exfoliates the skin while moisturizing it and strengthening the skin barrier.

  • P.H.A. and Vitamin C:

Polyhydroxy acids act at a similar pH as vitamin C. They allow better penetration and optimize their action on the skin. As a reminder, vitamin C promotes collagen synthesis, neutralizes free radicals and gives an even complexion. It also helps fight signs of aging and blemishes (such as pigmentation spots). It is worth noting that both PHA and vitamin C are acids. However, they can be used simultaneously, as PHAs are non-irritating.

Our Products Based on P.H.A.

At Typology, we have developed a range of P.H.A.-based skin care products, which include the following:

  • The Exfoliating Cleansing Gel with P.H.A. (gluconolactone), which provides gentle chemical micro-exfoliation. It unclogs pores and promotes skin hydration. It also contains aloe vera, which further moisturizes and soothes the skin, and inulin, which rebalances the skin microbiota. The contained sweet orange essential oil has antibacterial properties that are ideal for fighting pimples.

  • The Peeling Mask consists of an exfoliating complex with AHAs and PHA, which opens pores and exfoliates the skin. The gel is used once or twice a week and helps reduce blackheads in the long term.

  • The Anti-blackhead Serum improves the appearance of superficial, closed and shallow scars due to the depigmentation-promoting action of P.H.A. combined with the regenerating action of Centella asiatica. It also contains licorice root extract, which reduces melanin production to fight hyperpigmentation of acne scars. Apply a drop to the affected areas in the evening only.

  • The Scalp Scrub provides a double exfoliation of the scalp: chemically with P.H.A. and mechanically with jojoba beads and silica powder. The scalp is healthy, balanced and freed from dead skin cells. The mechanical exfoliating action combined with peppermint essential oil accelerates hair growth by stimulating microcirculation. In addition, the contained essential oil of Eucalyptus globulus soothes irritation of the scalp and limits the appearance of dandruff. Finally, P.H.A. and aloe vera stimulate the natural moisture balance of the scalp. This scrub should be used once or twice a week on dry scalps.


  • EDISON B. & al. The use of polyhydroxy acids (PHAs) in photoaged skin. Cutis (2004).

  • SIGLER M. & al. A polyhydroxy acid skin care regimen provides antiaging effects comparable to an alpha-hydroxyacid regimen. Cutis (2004).


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