The clinical studies report that these acids help increase the epidermal thickness, the amounts of glycosaminoglycans and collagen and elastin density in the dermis. The cons of alpha-hydroxyacids is the fact that it prolonged use can sensitize the skin and make it more vulnerable to the UV radiation.
Also known as Salicylic, is very similar to the alpha-hydroxy acids with the main difference being that it attacks the oil in the skin, instead of the water. In other words: it is lipid-soluble. The way this acid enters into the skin is through the sebaceous folicles, making it suitable to treat oily skin types, comedons, acne and other problems related to excess of skin oil. The other good aspect of this kind of chemical peel, is its anti-inflammatory activity.
A third less known kind of acids are the poly- hydroxy acids, being them the gluconolactone and the lactobionic acid. They are structurally identical to alpha-hydroxy acids with the main difference in the bigger molecular size. This bigger size makes them more secure as the acid cannot penetrate deep into the skin, but also less effective, as it can only reach certain layers of the epidermis. The good part of these acids is that they are apart from secure, very moisturizing to the skin.
If you choose to exfoliate chemically, you can choose how gentle or aggressive is the product you’re using, so you should pick the right acids depending on your type of skin and whether you are using it for your face or your body.