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WTF Are PHAs?

Beauty
Photo Courtesy of Glow Recipe.

And should you be using them?

I have a confession to make, but you can't spread it around. Here it goes: I don't think I like acids.

Or maybe it's that my skin doesn't like them, because almost every time I try to incorporate them into my routine, I break out—and viciously. I've tried them in face masks, wipes, and cleansers. It's likely I'm doing something wrong (I'm more than likely doing something wrong), but I was ready to accept that BHAs and AHAs wouldn't be a part of my skin-care alphabet until I was introduced to a newish three-letter ingredient: PHA.

PHAs are acids, but for those of us with sensitive skin. As Dr. Joshua Zeichner, director of Cosmetic and Clinical Research in Dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital, explains, "Polyhydroxy acids are structurally much larger than alpha or beta hydroxy acid. Because of this, they have a much gentler exfoliating effect on skin."

I hadn't heard of the ingredient until Glow Recipe introduced its new Avocado Sleeping Mask to the world last week. Co-founder Sarah Lee explains that she's seen the ingredient in Korean skin care before, but not too often Stateside. (Though, Glossier's Solution has it, it's still not as prevalent as AHAs and BHAs.) Lee tells us that she saw full shelves dedicated to PHA serums and moisturizers in Korea, but that she chose to feature the ingredient in a sleeping mask because overnight treatments are an effective way to treat the skin and that it was "the best way to introduce a gentle yet effective exfoliating mask to our customers."

Unlike other acids, PHAs can be used across a wide variety of skins types, including those with dry and rosacea-prone skin, Dr. Zeichner explains. It also won't leave your skin parched like other acids tend to do. "Polyhydroxy acids at the same time exfoliate, regenerate, and even hydrate the skin," he says.

It's not a perfect ingredient, though, and some things you should keep in mind is that it works slower than other acids, "so you have to stay with the routine," he explains. Depending on the product, he also doesn't recommend combining PHAs with temperamental ingredients like retinol and vitamin C. "If the product is used as a mask and fully removed, it certainly can be layered alongside these ingredients," he says. "However, in mixing them, they interfere with stability of other temperamental ingredients." You should always be doing this (and you should know to always do this if you've read anything on this site), but make sure to wear sunscreen in the morning when using any kind of acid.

For Glow Recipe's mask, the other ingredients that make up the product were selected with care. Avocado is the star ingredient (it makes up 74 percent of the formula), but it also includes kaolin clay, "to balance the texture and prevent the formula from feeling heavy or pore-clogging," co-founder Christine Chang explains. Manuka honey rounds out the list "for its antibacterial properties and its ability to heal and firm the skin."

Now, I've only used the mask a handful of times, so I can't label it a favorite just yet, but I haven't noticed a crop of inflamed pimples pop up either, so things are looking promising. And so if you, like me, find yourself bowing out of conversations about the wonders of AHAs or BHAs, try this out. You can think of PHAs as the Drake of the acid game: sensitive, yet impactful.

Cara Delevingne, Ashley Benson, and Agyness Deyn also star

Elisabeth Moss is trying to keep it together as punk rock artist Becky Something in the trailer for forthcoming movie Her Smell. She's surrounded by iconic faces who make up her band Something She, Gayle Rankin as Ali van der Wolff and Agyness Deyn as Marielle Hell, as she grapples with the fact that her musical prowess just doesn't draw as big a crowd as it used to.

In addition to the wavering fame, Becky is "grappling with motherhood, exhausted bandmates, nervous record company executives, and a new generation of rising talent eager to usurp her stardom," according to a press release. "When Becky's chaos and excesses derail a recording session and national tour, she finds herself shunned, isolated and alone. Forced to get sober, temper her demons, and reckon with the past, she retreats from the spotlight and tries to recapture the creative inspiration that led her band to success." And what's clear from the trailer, Moss is absolutely meant for this role, transforming into the punk on the brink of collapse.

Rounding out the cast are Ashley Benson, Cara Delevingne, and Dan Stevens. Watch the official trailer, below. Her Smell hits theaters on April 12 in New York and 14 in L.A., with "national expansion to follow."

Her Smell | OFFICIAL TRAILER HD www.youtube.com

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FROM THE WORLD WIDE WEB

Photo by Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images

In an acceptance speech at the BRIT Awards

As The 1975 accepted the BRIT Award for Best British group, outspoken frontman Matty Healy shared the words of journalist Laura Snapes as a way of calling out misogyny that remains ever-present in the music industry. Healy lifted a powerful quote from Snapes' coverage of allegations against Ryan Adams for The Guardian: "Male misogynist acts are examined for nuance and defended as traits of 'difficult' artists, [while] women and those who call them out are treated as hysterics who don't understand art."

Snapes reacted almost immediately on Twitter, saying she was "gobsmacked, and honoured that he'd use his platform to make this statement." Snapes had originally written the line for an interview she published with Sun Kil Moon singer Mark Kozelek back in 2015, in response to Kozelek publicly calling her a "bitch" who "totally wants to have my babies" because she requested to speak in person rather than via e-mail, which she brought up in the more recent piece on Adams. Kozelek's vile response, and the misogyny that allowed it to play out without real consequences, it could be argued, could have easily played out in the same way in 2019, which makes her reiteration of the line, and Healy's quoting it on such a large platform, all the more important.

It should be noted that back in December, Healy caught a bit of heat himself on Twitter for an interview with The Fader in which he insinuated that misogyny was an issue exclusive to hip-hop, and that rock 'n' roll had freed itself of it. He clarified at length on Twitter and apologized, saying, "I kinda forget that I'm not very educated on feminism and misogyny and I cant just 'figure stuff out' in public and end up trivializing the complexities of such enormous, experienced issues."