Cosmetic and dermatologic use of alpha hydroxy acids

J Dtsch Dermatol Ges. 2012 Jul;10(7):488-91. doi: 10.1111/j.1610-0387.2012.07939.x.
[Article in English, German]


Alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs), in particular glycolic acid, are a class of chemical compounds frequently used in cosmetics and dermatology. This review summarizes the current knowledge regarding chemistry, mechanism of action as well as the different indications ranging from cosmetic skin hydration to acne proven by clinical trials. Overall AHAs depending on the concentration used present an ingredient for cosmetic products or medical devices with proven efficacy.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cosmetics / chemistry*
  • Cosmetics / therapeutic use*
  • Dermatologic Agents / chemistry*
  • Dermatologic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Hydroxy Acids / chemistry*
  • Hydroxy Acids / therapeutic use*
  • Skin Diseases / drug therapy*


  • Cosmetics
  • Dermatologic Agents
  • Hydroxy Acids