Use of Nonprescription Alpha-Hydroxy Acids

W. Steven Pray, Ph.D., R.Ph.


US Pharmacist. 2002;27(5) 

In This Article

Sources of AHAs

Sugar cane contains glycolic acid, and sour milk contains lactic acid.[4] Malic, citric, and tartaric acids are found in fruits. Because these AHAs occur in natural and organic sources, there is a widespread misconception that commercial products containing AHAs are somehow more natural than other cosmetic products. "Natural" can be a misleading term, since it is frequently used to give the appearance of efficacy and nontoxicity. Its use in relation to AHAs is deceptive, since the chemicals used in commercial AHA-containing preparations are usually prepared synthetically.[2] However, synthetic AHAs function as well as those derived from organic sources.


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