Are cosmetic products with alpha hydroxy acids safe?

Alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) come from fruit and milk sugars. They are found in many creams and lotions. Many people buy products with AHAs, because they claim to reduce wrinkles, spots, sun-damaged skin, and other signs of aging. Some studies suggest they may work.

But are these products safe? FDA has received reports of reactions in people using AHA products. Their complaints include:
  • Severe redness
  • Swelling (especially in the area of the eyes)
  • Burning
  • Blistering
  • Bleeding
  • Rash
  • Itching
  • Skin discoloration
  • AHAs may also increase your skin's risk of sunburn.
To find out if a product contains an AHA, look on the list of ingredients. By law, all cosmetics have ingredients on their outer label. AHAs may be called other names, like glycolic acid and lactic acid.

This answer is based on the source infromation from the the National Cancer Institute.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.