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Phytic acid: the gentle AHA taking the spotlight

It’s the acid you’ve probably never heard of, but can it make a difference to your skin? If you suffer from sensitivity or sun spots, the answer is likely to be ‘yes’

Found in plant-based foods including nuts, grains and seeds, phytic acid is a mild, grain-derived AHA that may not be as well known as the popular glycolic or lactic acids, but should still be on your radar.

Gentle yet potent and therefore a good choice for sensitive or reactive skin, its antioxidant properties are also beneficial for a number of other skin concerns, including redness, acne, clogged pores, unwanted marks and pigmentation.

Once you get going with this ingredient you can look forward to brighter, more even toned skin, while the antioxidants help to wage war against ageing and oxidative stress.

As well as brightening and resurfacing, phytic acid is also a chelator – this means it absorbs certain minerals from the skin, like calcium and iron molecules which would otherwise contribute to clogged pores and DNA damage.

If you’d like a steer on products containing this interesting active, we’ve rounded up some of our favourites, all of which are easy to introduce into your skincare regime at any stage.

Chantecaillie Rose de Mai Cleansing Balm

Treat yourself to this luxurious cleansing balm, which not only melts away makeup and grime, but the addition of phytic acid and hyaluronic acid work in synergy to remove dead skin cells while locking in moisture, ensuring skin stays hydrated. It's admittedly a little spendy, but your skin (if not your bank manager) will thank you for it.

Ole Henriksen Glow2OH Dark Spot Toner

Said to reduce the look of dark spots in seven days, this top rated toner works a treat on pigmentation: the tingle you get on application only means that it's working. It contains three powerhouse ingredients – phytic, lactic and glycolic acid – which work in tandem to target dark spots, fine lines and wrinkles, while brightening and reviving skin.

Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant 

Utilising phytic acid from rice bran, this cult exfoliator starts out as a powder before transforming into a foaming face wash when activated with water. The first powder exfoliant to launch in 2001, the rice-based formulation releases enzymes that help to gently exfoliate, along with phytic acid and salicylic acid to promote brighter, more even skin. It's also suitable for daily use.

Alphascience Phytic Acid TC Serum

Designed to stop acne in its tracks and tackle early signs of ageing, this skin healing serum neutralises pollutants, keeps pores clear, regulates skin pigmentation and normalises sebum production. Containing 2% phytic acid, use daily in the morning to encourage a healthy, radiant glow.

Malin + Goetz Resurfacing Face Serum

Suitable for daily use on even sensitive skin, this lightweight yet powerful gel serum contains a blend of glycolic acid, lactic acid, vitamin C, niacinamide, and phytic acid, all of which work to exfoliate, brighten, reduce excess oil and fight environmental stress.


Designed to be used at night when skin is in peak repair mode, this liquid exfoliator contains phytic, lactic and PHA lactobionic acid which work together to repair skin damaged by UV rays and pollution, while boosting hydration and helping protect skin cell DNA. Use it to help minimise pores, fade sun spots and blur fine lines.  

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