Alpha hydroxy acids (AHA) are a class of compounds that are in the media frequently. the AHA most commonly used are lactic acid and glycolic acid. Other AHA inlcude malic acid, citric acid, mandelic acid, and tartaric acid but all of these have not been as extensively studied as lactic and glycolic acids. The AHA are commonly known as "fruit acids" since they are commonly derived from various fruits. Some are derived from sugar can and milk. Because they are derived from organic products, patients often think that they represent a natural form of treatment. However,AHA used in practice are chemically created.
Uses of this medication class
Dermatoheliosis (Photoage skin)
Acne Vulgaris and related- in addition to the bacteria P.Acnes and excessive sebum production, another cause of acne is abnormal desquamation of the sebaceous epithelium in the pilosebaceous unit. AHA can produce a superficial conrtolled desquamation which is has been useful in the treatment of acne since 1989. There is data that monotherapy with glycolic acid is less effective than combination therapy. For example using tretinoin nightly along with glycolic acid in the mornings is a good combination. Superficial peels are also used on a monthly basis
Actinic Keratosis- in 1995 the status if AHA in the treamten of actinic keratosiswas still investigational.