A polyhydroxy acid skin care regimen provides antiaging effects comparable to an alpha-hydroxyacid regimen

Cutis. 2004 Feb;73(2 Suppl):14-7.


There have been numerous clinical studies conducted to evaluate the beneficial effects of the polyhydroxy acids (PHAs) in skincare. Although there is significant evidence that PHAs provide antiaging effects to skin, a direct comparison between alpha-hydroxyacids (AHAs) and PHAs for these effects has not been conducted. This 12-week clinical study evaluated gluconolactone-containing products (PHAs) in comparison with glycolic acid-containing products (AHAs). Clinical grading of photoaging, as well as objective and subjective irritation, was conducted on the face at baseline and after 6 and 12 weeks of product use. Pinch recoil, silicone replicas of the crow's-feet area, and self-assessment of product efficacy and tolerance were also collected. Both regimens showed significant antiaging benefits to skin as measured by silicone replicas, clinical grading, and pinch recoil for skin resiliency. There were only 2 statistically significant (P < .05) differences between the regimens in antiaging benefits: (1) sallowness showed greater improvement with AHA use at week 12 only (AHA, 17. 1%; PHA, 12.4%), and (2) pinch recoil showed greater improvement with AHA use at week 12 only (AHA, 13.5%; PHA, 10.2%). Irritation grading and subject self-assessment showed that the PHA regimen was better tolerated than the AHA regimen. Stinging and burning were significantly worse for subjects in the AHA treatment group at both week 6 and 12, and degree of sensitivity was rated worse for the AHA regimen as well. The present study shows the enhanced mildness of PHAs and their equivalence in providing antiaging benefits compared with an AHA regimen.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Controlled Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cosmetics
  • Female
  • Gluconates / pharmacology
  • Gluconates / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Hydroxy Acids / pharmacology
  • Hydroxy Acids / therapeutic use*
  • Lactones
  • Middle Aged
  • Skin Aging / drug effects*
  • Skin Care*
  • Skin Diseases / drug therapy
  • Skin Irritancy Tests
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Cosmetics
  • Gluconates
  • Hydroxy Acids
  • Lactones
  • beta-glucono-1,5-lactone