Proven Ingredients / Anti-ageing / Guide to Skincare Ingredients / Acne/oily/enlarged pores / Pigmentation / Rosacea/Redness

A Guide to Polyhydroxy Acids (PHAs) in Skincare


Ingredients such as gluconolactone and lactobionic acid are types of polyhydroxy acids (PHAs). Made up of larger molecules than traditional AHAs, PHAs are typically gentler on the skin, causing less irritation. Unlike some AHAs which can dry out the skin, PHAs are ideal for sensitive (Rosacea) or dry (eczema) skin types.

What are the similarities and differences between AHAs and PHAs?

PHAs (Gluconolactone) are similar to AHAs in that they have both been shown in clinical studies to have anti-ageing benefits when topically applied to the skin. AHAs contain only one hydroxyl group and have been known to produce stinging, burning and tingling sensations in some people. In contrast, PHAs have multiple hydroxyl groups - providing the same age defying benefits as conventional AHAs, but without the irritation. Even very sensitive skin types can tolerate PHAs, including atopic and rosacea skin. It's thought that the gentle, non-irritating action of PHAs may be partially related to a larger molecular composition than that of conventional AHAs. Larger molecules are believed to penetrate the skin at a slower rate, causing less irritation. This reduced irritation, coupled with natural antioxidant properties, gives PHAs a gentle, competitive edge over other anti-ageing treatments. PHAs are the ingredient solution for providing renewed exfoliated softness and clarity, but doing so in a gentle, hydrating way for all skin types.

Gluconolactone (PHA): is found naturally in the skin and provides anti-ageing and gentle exfoliating benefits without sun sensitivity. Sensitive skin types as well as those who have had recent superficial cosmetic procedures will find comfort in this molecule’s gentle nature. Gluconolactone strengthens the skin’s moisture barrier leaving it more resilient, while also providing potent antioxidant benefits. Gluconolactone is a welcome choice following recent superficial cosmetic procedures where the skin can be more sensitive.

Benefits of Polyhydroxy Acids (PHAs):

  •  Promotes cell turnover by sloughing off dead skin cells, revealing smoother, healthy new cells underneath.

  • PHAs have humectant effects that allow for increased moisturisation. When skin is sufficiently moisturised, it looks smoother and healthier.

  • Enhancing skin smoothness and elasticity.

  • Antioxidant effects. Gluconolactone is an antioxidant known for its free radical-fighting ability, protecting skin from harmful UV exposure. 

  • Increased skin barrier function. Our skin barrier, or stratum corneum, plays a vital role in keeping out irritating chemicals and substances. 

  • Improving skin clarity and brightness; reducing the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and pore size.

  • Reduce flare-ups in inflammatory conditions. PHA products can lower inflammatory episodes of acne, rosacea, dermatitis, psoriasis and melasma.

PHAs in your skincare routine:

NeoStrata Facial Cleanser 4 PHA

  • Soap-free, oil-free cleanser that gently exfoliates to thoroughly clean and remove make-up.

  • 4% gluconolactone.

  • Ideal first step before applying any other NeoStrata product.

VIEW MORE PHA Cleansers 




  • A lightweight moisturiser for night and daytime use (with additional sunscreen).

  • 4% PHA , Vitamin E + Lilac Plant Cell Extract

  • Suitable for all skin types, including sensitive skin.

Neostrata RESTORE ULtra Moisturising Face Cream 

  • Moisturising cream ideal for night and daytime use (with additional sunscreen).

  • 10% gluconolactone, Vitamin E (anti-oxidant) and Vitamin B Complex Factor.

  • Suitable for all skin types, including sensitive skin

  • Wanting a more rich and creamy moisturiser than PHA daily moisturiser



PHA Lactobionic Acids:

The NeoStrata Bionic Range contains lactobionic acid. 

Lactobionic and Maltobionic Acids (PHAs): are part of the PHA family and are also non-irritating. These patented ingredients are known as “Bionic Acids” andare derived from natural sugars. They help to reduce the appearance of lines and wrinkles, discolouration, enlarged pores and roughness through gentle exfoliation.
The Bionics are potent antioxidants that have been shown to target naturally occurring, skin-degrading enzymes to help maintain a youthful look. The Bionics are medically coveted because they are super-powered chelators and humectants, protecting skin and attracting moisture to the delicate barrier for an added hydration boost and comfort. The Bionics are the key choice for very dehydrated, parched and dry skin types.

How do the Lactobionics work?

  • Strongly attracts and binds water, producing a natural gel matrix.

  • Exfoliates to enhance cell turnover.

  • Plumps the skin.

  • Enhances wound healing.

Benefits of Lactobionics

  • Ideal for pre- and post-procedure care (peels, lasers, rollers).

  •  Ultra-moisturisation, anti-ageing, evening of pigmentation, skin smoothness and brightness.


NeoStrata Daytime Protection Cream SPF 23 10 PHA

  • 10% PHA Blend (8% Gluconolactone and 2% Lactobionic Acid), Vitamin E and Grape Seed Extract

  • Suitable for all skin types including sensitive skin.

  • Provides sun protection, moisture, antioxidant benefits, and exfoliation all in one!

NeoStrata Bionic Face Cream12 PHA

  • 8% gluconolactone, 4% lactobionic acid, Vitamin E (anti-oxidant).

  •  A soothing anti-aging cream to moisturise, calm and restore.

  • Good for dry, sensitive or reactive skin 

  • Need more hydration than RESTORE Ultra moisturiser face cream

bionic lotion

NeoStrata Bionic Lotion 15 PHA

  •  12% Gluconolactone, 3% Lactobionic Acid, Meadowfoam Seed Oil, Vitamin E

  • A light fragrance-free lotion for face and all-over-body use

  • Helps relieve dry, scaly, and reactive skin

  •  Suitable for all skin types

  •  Night and daytime use (with additional sunscreen)

  • Delivers moisture to dry, sensitive skin in a light lotion format

  • Ideal for those living in hot or humid climates

bionic serum

NeoStrata  Bionic Face Serum 10 PHA

  •  10% Lactobionic Acid, Vitamins A, C and E

  • Suitable for all skin types, including sensitive skins.

  •  Night and daytime use (with additional sunscreen).

  • A radiance enhancing antioxidant face serum designed for sensitive skin

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Andrea Patel Dermatology Nurse Practitioner & Director Author
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