Best AHA Products: Holy Grail AHA Skincare

Best AHA Products: Holy Grail AHA Skincare
August 13, 2021 Ellis James

If you’ve been looking for a skincare solution to help improve your skin tone, enhance the production of collagen, brighten your complexion, and reduce the appearance of age spots, scars, fine lines, and wrinkles, you may be considering trying an AHA product. AHA, which is short for alpha-hydroxy acid, is a chemical exfoliant. It works on the skin’s surface to remove dead cells and improve cell turnover for a better complexion. Read on to discover some of the best AHA products that you might just want to add to your skincare routine!

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What are AHA products?

Alpha-hydroxy acid products, commonly referred to as AHA products, are a water-soluble exfoliant. They work on the skin’s surface to remove dead skin cells and enhance cell turnover. This can result in an improved texture, enhanced blood flow, brighter complexion, and reduction of the appearance of large pore, wrinkles, fine lines, age spots, hyperpigmentation, and acne scars. Due to these benefits, AHAs can be found in a variety of skincare products such as cleansers, masks, serums, and toners.


What is the best AHA product?

If you’ve been wondering which AHA product is best for you, take a few minutes to read through our reviews below. We’ve highlighted AHA products in a variety of skincare categories to help you find the AHA exfoliant, mask, serum, moisturizer, or cleanser that will best suit your needs.

Criteria for Selecting the Best AHA Product

To develop our list of the best AHA products below, we considered a number of criteria. First, we looked for products from well-established companies that are trusted in the skincare industry. Next, we looked at the ingredient list to ensure only quality and effective ingredients were included in each AHA product. And, finally, we listened to reviews from real-life users of the product and looked to see how effective it was for meeting their needs and improving their skin.


Best AHA Products


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Best AHA Cleanser – Murad AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser

Murad AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser - Triple Action Exfoliating Facial Cleanser with Salicylic, Lactic and Glycolic Acid- Skin Smoothing Polish, 6.75 Fl Oz (Packaging May Vary)

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Why is this the best product for Cleansing?

Do AHA cleanser work? This top exfoliating cleanser from Murad certainly does. It is formulated with three different exfoliants (glycolic acid-AHA, lactic acid, and salicylic acid) to remove dead skin cells. Then the jojoba beads in the formula work to remove debris, soften skin, and leave it feeling smooth.

User Reviews

Most users love how gentle, yet effective this cleanser is. They have shared that it helps leave their face feeling smooth, eliminates black heads, and doesn’t irritate their sensitive skin.

Pros and Cons

  • Loosens and removes dead skin cells
  • Reduces dry and rough skin
  • Formulated with sodium PCA to attract water and hydrate skin
  • More expensive than some other AHA products

About Murad

Murad was started in 1989 by Dr. Murad with the goal of creating top quality skincare products that live up to the highest standards. The company has grown to be a trusted name in the industry.


Best AHA Mask – Fresh Vitamin C Glow Face Mask

FRESH Vitamin Nectar Vibrancy-Boosting Face Mask - 1 oz/30 mL

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Why is this the best product for evening skin tone and texture?

The Fresh Vitamin C Glow Face Mask is designed to improve the skin’s glow and radiance.  It is formulated using crushed citrus fruits with natural AHA fruit acids that work to exfoliate skin and leave it smooth.  The AHAs also work to provide a revitalizing chemical peeling effect.

User Reviews

Many people who have tried this AHA mask have shared that it helps keep their skin looking its best, improves its softness, and reduces pores.

Pros and Cons

  • It has a pleasant citrus scent
  • Improves skin texture and glow
  • Formulated with natural AHA fruit acids
  • Little challenging to remove once dry

About Fresh

Fresh was founded by Russian immigrants, Lev Glazman and Alina Roytber, who wanted to be able to offer customers safe and natural products from all around the world.  They soon switched to making their own products to ensure they were effective, safe, and natural.


Best AHA Serum – Mizon AHA 8% Peeling Serum

Mizon AHA 8% Peeling Serum for Smooth Exfoliation and Nourishing 1.69 fl oz

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Why is this the best product for exfoliating skin?

The Mizon AHA 8% Peeling Serum is designed for daily use.  It is formulated with glycolic acid, an AHA that exfoliates and firms skin to leave behind healthier, smoother, and more radiant-looking skin.  It offers a mild and moisturizing formula to nourish skin.

User Reviews

Overall, users are very impressed with how much this AHA serum helped exfoliate their skin and remove layers of dead skin.  They have also shared that it helped add a glow to their skin.

Pros and Cons

  • Firms and exfoliates skin
  • Removes layers of dead skin to add smoothness and glow
  • Gentle enough for daily use
  • Some users have shared that they don’t feel that the serum is strong enough since they haven’t seen any noticeable changes

About Mizon

Mizon is a Korean beauty company who strives to provide non-irritating, natural, and well-performing products to their customers.  They welcome customer feedback and use it to add new products to their line and enhance their current offerings.


Best AHA Moisturizer – Alpha Skin Care Renewal Body Lotion

Alpha Skin Care Renewal Body Lotion | Anti-Aging Formula |12% Glycolic Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA) | Reduces the Appearance of Lines & Wrinkles | For All Skin Types | 12 Oz

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Why is this the best product for moisturizing?

Alpha Skin Care’s Renewal Body Lotion offers an anti-aging formula featuring 12% glycolic AHA with a 4.0 pH.  This allows the lotion to help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles while increasing collagen production.  The natural formula gently removes dead skin cells and refreshes the skin to leave it smooth and soft.

User Experiences and Review

If you ask many users about their experience using this AHA moisturizer, you’re likely to hear a lot of positive things.  Individuals have shared how impressed with the improvement they’ve noticed in the appearance and feel of their skin after they started using the AHA lotion.

Pros and Cons

  • 12% glycolic acid to reduce appearance of fine lines and wrinkles
  • Softens skin and gives it a warm glow
  • Formulated with vitamins and nutrients to enhance the AHA effects
  • Getting the cream out of the dispenser can be a bit difficult due to how thick it is

About Alpha Skin Care

Alpha Skin Care is committed to finding the best ingredients and formulas for their product line.  They use only natural ingredients that are clinically proven to deliver healthier skin.


Best AHA Cream – SOME BY MI Aha.Bha.Pha 30Days Miracle Cream

SOME BY MI Aha.Bha.Pha 30Days Miracle Cream 60g

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Why is this the best product for soothing and firming?

The SOME BY MI AHA/BHA/PHA Miracle Cream is designed to help rejuvenate damaged skin and firm up the skin barrier.  It offers a very soothing formula that can help reduce the appearance of scars and reduce pores and sebum.

User Reviews

Many users agree that this truly is a “miracle cream.”  They have noted that after using it their skin is cleared, healthier, and feels much smoother.  Users with sensitive skin even shared that they could use the cream without issue.

Pros and Cons

  • Helps clear up acne
  • Improves skin texture
  • Firms the skin’s barrier
  • If you have acne-prone skin, it may make your skin a bit oily


SOME BY MI is a Korean Skincare company.  Their name is a combined word that stands for “something by a miracle,” since their aim is to deliver a personal miracle to each user’s skin.  Their products feature naturally-sourced ingredients for safety and effectiveness.


Best AHA Exfoliant – Summer Fridays Soft Reset AHA Exfoliating Solution

Summer Fridays Soft Reset AHA Exfoliating Solution

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Why is this the best product for exfoliating skin?

The Soft Reset AHA Exfoliating Solution from Summer Fridays is formulated with 16% AHA and niacinamide for effective exfoliating and reducing the appearance of pores.  It can help brighten skin, reduce fine lines and wrinkles, and even the skin tone.  This exfoliant is designed for normal, dry, combination, and oily skin types.

User Reviews

Users of this AHA exfoliant love how it has softened their skin and cleared up their acne.  Many also shared that it has helped brighten their skin tone.

Pros and Cons

  • Effective with 16% AHAs
  • Reduces acne flare-ups
  • Suitable for use on all skin types
  • You may experience a tingle when you put the exfoliant on your skin

About Summer Fridays

Summer Fridays was founded by Marianna Hewitt and Lauren Ireland.  The pair was tired of looking for skincare products that were easy to use, effective, and formulated with clean ingredients.  So, they decided to make their own to help others who were looking for the same solutions.


Best Alpha Hydroxy Lotion – Neutrogena Healthy Skin Face Moisturizer Lotion

Neutrogena Healthy Skin Face Moisturizer Lotion with SPF 15 Sunscreen & Alpha Hydroxy Acid - Anti Wrinkle Cream with Glycerin, Glycolic Acid, Alpha Hydroxy, Vitamin C, Vitamin E & Vitamin B5, 2.5 fl. oz

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Why is this the best product for moisturizing and nourishing skin?

The Neutrogena Healthy Skin Face Lotion features a powerful list of ingredients including AHAs, vitamin C, vitamin E, and pro-vitamin B5.  These ingredients work together to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and smooth and soften the skin.  The lotion also offers SPF 15 protection from the sun.

User Experiences and Review

Customers who have tried this lotion rave about how it keeps their skin looking.  Many mature users also noted that they receive compliments about their skin on a regular basis.

Pros and Cons

  • SPF 15 sun protection
  • Dermatologist recommended and allergy-tested
  • Oil-free formula that won’t clog pores
  • Some users didn’t experience any noticeable results after trying this lotion

About Neutrogena

Nearly everyone has heard of Neutrogena.  They are the number one brand recommended by dermatologists and offer many skin care products.  The company was first founded in 1930 and has grown considerably since its early beginnings.


Best AHA Products for Acne – Skinfix Resurface+ AHA/BHA Enzyme Exfoliating Pads

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Why is this the best product for acne?

The Skinfix Resurface exfoliating pads are a leave-on exfoliant that work to target acne, fungal acne, fine lines, dark spots, and rough skin.  They can be used by individuals with normal, dry, combination, or oily skin.

User Experiences and Review

Individuals with acne who have tried these exfoliating pads have noted that they work to prevent their pores from getting clogged to improve the overall appearance of their skin.  Users also shared that their overall skin tone has improved and their skin looks brighter.

Pros and Cons

  • Exfoliates skin to keep pores from clogging
  • Resurfaces the skin
  • Reduces acne and fungal acne breakouts
  • Some users with sensitive skin noted that these pads were too harsh for their skin

About Skinfix

Skinfix got its start all the way back in 1870 when Thomas Dixon created their original healing balm to treat skin irritations he noticed on his patients.  Now, as with the original healing balm, Skinfix aims to find the most effective ingredients to deliver the greatest benefits possible to their customers.


Best AHA Face Wash – EXUVIANCE Deep Clean AHA Cleanser

EXUVIANCE Deep Clean AHA Cleanser, 7.2 fl. oz.

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Why is this the best product for cleansing?

The Exuviance Deep Clean AHA Cleanser is designed to provide a deep clean to the face to help remove makeup and other impurities without drying the skin.  The foam-free cleanser can be used twice each day.

User Experiences and Review

Overwhelmingly, users who have tried this AHA cleanser have noted that it leaves their skin feeling revitalized without drying it out.  Many other users also shared that it was very effective at removing makeup.

Pros and Cons

  • Gives a deep cleaning to the face
  • Can be used to remove makeup
  • Evens skin texture
  • A few individuals shared that this AHA cleanser left their skin too dry and irritated

About Exuviance

Exuviance considers it their mission to help customers improve their skin tone, reverse signs of aging, and prevent potential skin problems.  They place a high emphasis on choosing ingredients that are scientifically proven to be effective.


Best Drugstore AHA Products – COSRX AHA 7 Whitehead Power Liquid

COSRX AHA 7 Whitehead Power Liquid 3.38 fl.oz / 100ml | Removing Dead Skin Cells | Korean Skin Care, Vegan, Cruelty Free, Paraben Free

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Why is this the best product for removing dead skin cells?

The COSRX AHA 7 Whitehead Power Liquid features 7% glycolic acid (AHA) and nine other safe and effective ingredients that work to mildly exfoliate the skin.  The exfoliant is designed to be easy to use and is hypoallergenic, dermatologist-tested, cruelty-free, and free of parabens, sulfates, and phthalates.

User Experiences and Review

Those who have tried this exfoliant have shared how effective it is at removing whiteheads and how much better their skin looks since starting it.  They also love how well it performs given its cheaper price tag compared to many other more expensive options.

Pros and Cons

  • Clears up whiteheads
  • Simple ingredient list with only 10 ingredients
  • Doesn’t contain any parabens, phthalates, or sulfates
  • Some users with sensitive skin shared that this liquid exfoliant irritated the skin


COSRX is a K-Beauty company that offers eight different skincare lines to help users find the right solution for their specific skin and beauty needs.  The company first got its start in 2013.


AHA Cleanser for Sensitive Skin – Wishtrend Mandelic Acid 5% Skin Prep Water

[BY WISHTREND] Mandelic acid 5% Skin prep water, gentle facial exfoliate, aha toner, 120ml, 4.06oz | Smooth skin texture, Helping pigmentation

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Why is this the best product for gently cleansing sensitive skin?

If you’re wondering, “which is the most gentle AHA,” the Wishtrend Mandelic Acid 5% Skin Prep Water may be just what you need.  Mandelic acid is an AHA that can help improve your skin tone, texture, and pigmentation.  It gently exfoliates the skin and is safe to use on sensitive skin due to its larger molecular size.

User Reviews

Customers who have tried this AHA cleanser for sensitive skin are amazed by how much better the skin looks and feels.  Many have shared that they have noticed a drastic decrease in scaring, hyperpigmentation, and other imperfections.

Pros and Cons

  • Very gentle on sensitive skin
  • Reduces hyperpigmentation
  • Improves the tone and texture of skin
  • The formula is a bit watery

About Wishtrend

Not to be confused with the online retailer Wish, Wishtrend aims to help users regain their natural beauty by enhancing the look and feel of their skin.  Since being founded in 2010, the company has been making a global name for itself.


Best AHA Toner – SOME BY MI AHA.BHA.PHA 30 Days Miracle Toner

SOME BY MI Aha.Bha.Pha 30Days Miracle Toner 150ml (5oz) Anti-acne Exfoliation Hydration Brightening

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Why is this the best product for toning skin?

The 30 Days Miracle Toner from SOME BY MI is formulated with AHA, BHA, and PHA to exfoliate and revitalize skin.  The AHA toner tightens pores, hydrates skin, and brightens your complexion.  It offers a pH of 5.5 and is formulated with 10,000 ppm pof teatree extracts.

User Reviews

Even after only using this AHA toner for a short period of time, many users were shocked by the positive results they noticed.  They have shared how it has helped improve their acne, brightened their complexion, and left their face feeling wonderfully.

Pros and Cons

  • Tightens pores
  • Reduces wrinkles
  • Irritation-free formula
  • A few users didn’t think this toner performed as well as some other AHA products they’ve tried


Best AHA Body Lotion – Paula’s Choice Skin Revealing Body Lotion

Why is this the best product for moisturizing the body?

The Skin Revealing Body Lotion from Paula’s Choice is formulated with 10% glycolic acid (AHA) that works to exfoliate dry and rough skin.  It works gently, yet effectively, and leaves skin hydrated, nourished, and smooth.  The AHA body lotion can be used by individuals with all skin types.

User Experiences and Review

After trying this AHA body lotion, individuals couldn’t believe the difference they noticed in their skin.  They shared how the lotion helped transform their skin and left it feeling soft and supple.

Pros and Cons

  • Works to gently exfoliate skin
  • Formulated with a pH between 3.5 and 3.9
  • Reduces appearance of red bumps on arms and legs
  • While many users said this lotion helped reduce their Keratosis Pilaris, some shared that they didn’t notice any improvement

About Paula’s Choice

Paula’s Choice believes in creating clean and safe beauty products that will help each user feel and look their best.  Their products are all cruelty-free, fragrance-free, and environmentally conscious.


AHA Night Cream – Tutta La Pelle Renew & Nourish Facial Cream

Glycolic Acid Cream 20% AHA Facial Cream, Vitamin Complex – Acne Cream, q10 Anti Aging wrinkle cream, KP - Keratosis pilaris / Fine Line Cream - Day and Night Cream - Oil Free - Renew & Nourish 1.6 oz

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Why is this the best product for night use?

Using Tutta La Pelle’s Renew & Nourish Facial Cream at night can help exfoliate your skin as you sleep letting you wake up to smooth and renewed skin.  The formula contains 20% glycolic acid, a powerful dose, to deliver impressive results, brighten skin, and enhance your complexion.  This cream is non-comedogenic and can be used by individuals with all skin types.

User Experiences and Review

Customers who have used this cream speak very highly of it.  Most have noticed that their skin feels much smoother and looks clearer after adding the cream to their skincare routine.

Pros and Cons

  • Can be used as a day or night cream
  • Non-greasy
  • Can reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles
  • The 20% glycolic acid concentrate may be too strong for some users

About Tutta La Pelle

Tutta La Pelle offers a skincare line formulated with top-quality ingredients.  They believe in scientific research and testing different formulations to find the right mix to deliver the results their customers expect.


Alpha Hydroxy Body Wash – Alpha Skin Care Moisturizing Body Wash

Alpha Skin Care Moisturizing Body Wash | Anti-Aging Formula | Glycolic Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA) | Vitamin E & Aloe Vera | Conditions & Soothes | For All Skin Types | 12 Fl Oz

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Why is this the best product for cleansing the body?

If you’ve been looking for the best AHA body wash, this Moisturizing Body Wash from Alpha Skin Care is a top choice to consider.  It is formulated with glycolic acid (AHA), aloe vera, vitamin E, and a special blend of vitamins to not only cleanse skin, but exfoliate it and deliver anti-aging benefits.  It will also enhance the body’s production of collagen and leave skin revitalized with a radiant glow.

User Reviews

Users have shared how much this alpha hydroxy body wash has helped reduce bumps on their skin to leave behind smooth and soft skin.  Many users with Keratosis Pilaris shared how effective this body wash was at improving their skin as well.

Pros and Cons

  • Special anti-aging formula to leave skin feeling smooth
  • Enhances the body’s production of collagen
  • Soothes and moisturizes skin
  • Some individuals didn’t feel like the body wash was as exfoliating as they were hoping it would be


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What is AHA

As we shared above, AHA stands for alpha-hydroxy acid, which is a chemical exfoliant.  AHAs and BHAs are often confused, but there are a few key AHA vs BHA differences.

AHAs are water-soluble, and work at the skin’s surface to exfoliate dead cells.

BHAs, on the other hand, are oil-soluble, which means they are able to penetrate into the skin’s pores.  For these reasons, BHAs are typically a better exfoliant for those with oily or acne-prone skin.


How does AHA work?

AHAs dissolve the substances (desmosome) on the skin that hold the dead cells together.  When you use an AHA, you’ll likely feel a tingly sensation as the desmosome is broken down.  By breaking down the desmosome, they are able to remove these dead cells from the skin’s outer layer (epidermis), which works to resurface the skin and improve one’s complexion and texture without the need for abrasive scrubbing.

AHAs offer additional benefits for the skin, such as enhanced collagen production and reduction of pigmentation.


What is AHA good for?

Using AHAs can deliver a multitude of benefits for the skin.  When the skin is exfoliated and dead skin cells are removed, it results in a more even and smooth skin tone, reduction in the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, pigmentation, age spots, and scars, improved collagen production and blood flow, and a brighter complexion.

Why is AHA good for the skin?

So, what does AHA do for your skin?  AHAs exfoliate the skin.  Exfoliation is good for the skin and removes dead skin cells.  AHAs offer a great alternative to using more abrasive scrubbers to exfoliate skin.

Is AHA good for acne?

Since AHAs are water-soluble and only work on the surface of the skin, they are not always the most ideal choice for individuals with acne.  BHAs (beta-hydroxy acids), on the other hand, are often a better choice for acne.  These oil-soluble exfoliants are able to penetrate into pores more.

Is AHA good for POC skin?

When used correctly, AHAs should be fine for those with darker skin tones.  However, you’ll want to take care not to overuse your AHA products, as it could potentially lead to post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.


Which is best AHA or BHA?

So, AHA vs BHA, which is best?  If you’ve been asking should I use an AHA or BHA, you’ll want to look at your skin type.  BHA’s are generally best for those with oily or acne-prone skin since they are oil-soluble and able to exfoliate beyond the surface of the skin.  If you don’t have oily skin and large pores, you may find a water-soluble AHA that works on the skin’s surface will offer what you need to improve your skin texture and complexion.


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Is it OK to use AHA everyday?

You probably won’t want to start using an AHA product every day, as it could cause irritation.  Begin by introducing your skin to new products by using them every other day, then you may be able to switch to using them every day once your skin has gotten used to them.  Also, be sure to check the manufacturer’s directions for use for the specific product you choose.

What percentage of AHA should I use?

Avoid using a product with an AHA percentage greater than 15%.  In most cases, you’ll want to stick to those with a concentration lower than 10%.  Ultimately, the frequency with which you’ll be using the product can help you determine the appropriate percentage of AHA.  For example, if you’re going to use something every day, an AHA concentration closer to 5% may be better.  However, if you’ll only be using the products every few weeks or months (such as a glycolic acid peel), you can choose options with a higher AHA percentage.

Is 8% AHA too much?

No, 8% AHA should not be too concentrated for most users since the FDA’s recommendation is to try to stick with products that are less than 10% AHA.

How long should you leave AHA on face?

Consult with the manufacturer’s directions for the particular product you’re using, as they can vary.  However, when you’re first starting with AHAs, you may want to only leave the products on your skin for a few minutes at a time to work up to the full leave-on time recommended by the manufacturer.  This can help reduce irritation.

Can you apply moisturizer after AHA?

Yes, moisturizers can be applied after using an AHA.

How long does it take for AHA to absorb?

Most of the time, AHAs need about 30 minutes to be fully absorbed by the skin.

What should you not use with AHA?

You should not mix vitamin C and AHA since it could irritate your skin.  The AHA can also decrease the vitamin C’s effectiveness.  Retinol also shouldn’t be combined with AHAs.  The AHA can deactivate the benefits of the retinol, and the combination may cause irritation.

How do you put AHA on your face?

You should apply AHA after cleansing your face.  You can either apply it using your fingers, for gels or lotions, or with a cotton pad, for liquid AHA products.  Take care to avoid getting the AHA on your eyelid or right along your lower lash line.



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Choosing the Best AHA Product For You

Now that you’ve learned more about AHAs, their benefits, and how to use them, you should be ready to make a decision about which AHA product is best for you!  Which of our top picks stood out to you?  We’d love to hear about which AHA you’re excited to try and how it helps you skin!

Take some time to read these related posts on our blog:

Comments (2)

  1. Tay Ribeiro 10 months ago

    I loved the article. Acids are being a great ally in the search for more beautiful skin

    • Ellis James Designs 10 months ago

      Happy you found this post useful, Tay!

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