Alpha Hydroxy Acid
Alpha hydroxy acid (also referred to as AHA) is a key ingredient in an increasing number of skin care products that are available on the market today, including peels, creams, exfoliants, cleansers and toners.
A lot of questions about alpha hydroxy acid goes unanswered, this means most people don’t know the true potential and benefits of alpha hydroxy acid as a skin care ingredient.
I’m writing today to hopefully clear up a few of these questions and show you their true potential.
What are Alpha Hydroxy Acids?
Alpha hydroxy acids are extracted from milk and fruit sugars – the most commonly used are glycolic acid and lactic acid because of their unique ability to penalty to penetrate the skin’s surface.
There are 5 key alpha hydroxy acids that are commonly used in skin care products:
- Glycolic Acid is extracted from sugar cane and is used in a large range of the most popular skin care products on the market today. Whether as a moisturizer, toner, cleanser, peel or moisturizer it penetrates the skin and exfoliates to treat many common skin conditions.
- Citric Acid is a derivative of lemons and oranges, it is extremely high in vitamin C and is used in a large amount of shampoos and home and commercial skin remedies. It is extremely effective at neutralizing pH levels.
- Lactic Acid is one of the most gentle AHA ingredients. Derived from milk sugars it is known for its hydrating and moisturizing abilities. It also exfoliates the skin as it works.
- Malic Acid is formed during metabollic cycles of skin cells in many plants and animals (including humans). In the use of skin care it is primarily extracted from apples and pears and is used to rejuvenate and improve skin conditions.
- Tartaric Acid is extracted from grapes and berries. The properties of these fruits cause tartaric acid to be an extremely potent anti-oxidant and extremely useful in skin care ingredients as an exfoliant.
Why are Alpha Hydroxy Acids good for my skin?
Alpha hydroxy acids are an extremely effective natural exfoliant. They break down the ‘glue’ that holds dead skin cells to your newer, more natural skin allowing for the new skin to regenerate and produce healthier skin cells.
Indepentant studies of alpha hydroxy acids have shown their effectiveness in the improvemant of wrinkles, hyperpigmentation, photodamanged skin and acne. They can even stimulate the bodies natural production of collagen and elastin, which makes your skin smoother, more even-toned and more supple.
Alpha Hydroxy Acid Products
Alpha Hydroxy Acid Cream
Alpha hydroxy acid creams are a readily available resource that remove the top layers of dead skin to get to the root of skin care problems. They penetrate the pores of the skin and work on a base level to treat blackheads, pimples, hyperpigmentation, wrinkles and other skin problems.
Alongside AHA moisturizers, AHA creams are one of the most popular products due to their easy application and use in an everyday skin care regime.
Alpha Hydroxy Acid Toner
The main goal of a skin care toner is to restore the skins pH balance, to remove dry and flaky skin or slick, oily skin. Because of the natural pH levelling abilities of alpha hydroxy acids, AHA toners are one of the best options as a toner treatment.
Alpha hydroxy toners are fast acting and gentle on your skin and are great for treating flaky or oily skin.
Alpha Hydroxy Cleanser
The usefulness of an alpha hydroxy acid cleanser is debated, as many critics claim that the true usefulness of AHAs is their ability to exfoliate the skin.
I find however, that because of the capability of alpha hydroxy acids to ‘unglue’ dead skin cells and other gunk from the top of the skin, they make an effective skin cleanser.
Alpha Hydroxy Moisturizer
Because of their ease of use in an everyday skin care routine, alpha hydroxy moisturizers sit alongside AHA creams as the most popular of the alpha hydroxy skin care treatments. As the last step in any good skin care regime they remain on the skin and are allowed to work as a long lasting exfoliater – continuing to work throughout the day and long after application.
Alpha Hydroxy Skin Peel
AHA peels are possibly the gentlest and most effective products in the chemical skin peel line of products available. Nowhere near as harsh on your skin as TCA chemical peels and more effective than beta hydroxy peels alpha hydroxy acid peels work deep within your skin to remove visible signs of aging, wrinkles, acne and a large variety of other skin care conditions.
An AHA peel does its real work in the days following the treatment, easily removing the top layers of dead skin in the days following the treatment.
What else do I need to know about Alpha Hydroxy Acids
All in all alpha hydroxy acid products are a safe and effective skin care product, that should be a part of your daily routine to achieve clearer, more beautiful skin. There are a few things to keep in mind however:
- When purchasing any of the products listed make sure you patch test a small amount of the product on a section of your arm skin to ensure you don’t have an adverse reaction to any of the ingredients.
- Always follow guidelines and instructions provided by the products manufacturer.
- Try to buy alpha hydroxy acid products that are manufactured in an FDA approved lab.
- If you have any problems with treatments consult your physician or general practitioner.