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Skin Care

Alpha-Hydroxy Acids
By Dr. Rick Lin and Dr. Dan Ladd
Jun 18, 2003, 23:22

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Keywords: alpha hydroxy acids, glycolic acid, reduce fine line, wrinkle cure

 

Ever since the early 1990s, there has been a lot of media coverage about alpha-hydroxyacids (AHA’s).  AHA’s have revolutionized the skin care industry.  In this article, we will discuss alpha-hydroxy acids.

 

Alpha-hydroxyacids are clinically proven to be effective for treatment of fine wrinkles and rejuvenating the skin.  These benefits are supported by placebo-controlled clinical testing.  Glycolic acid, one of the first alpha-hydroxyacids used in facial moisturizers, remains the most common AHA today.  Alpha-hydroxyacids reduce wrinkles, eliminate fine lines, and improve skin texture.  In addition, some of the associated changes of photo-damage can be reversed.

 

AHA’s are utilized as an ingredient in many moisturizers for its anti-aging effect.  Dermatologists also use this compound for rejuvenating chemical peel procedures.  Glycolic acid proves to be very effective as a rejuvenating agent.

 

The effectiveness of alpha hydroxyacids depends on the concentration and the acidity of its vehicle.  Therefore, all cosmetic care products containing alpha hydroxyacids are not created equal.  When working properly, AHAs produce a healthier and more effective outer protective layer for your skin.  The main benefits of AHAs are manifested as noticeable improvements of the touch, look, and feel of the skin.

 

There are two main benefits of AHA’s: moisturization and wrinkle reduction.  The wrinkle reduction properties were emphasized during this second wave of marketing.  These products are effective for reducing the visible signs of the photo-damaged skin and thus they are referred to as “anti-aging” cream.  AHA products benefit many skin conditions such as ichthyosis (dry skin) and dermatoheliosis (photo-damaged skin).  AHAs are also beneficial in the treatment of acne.  Although AHAs are not as effective as the current prescription retinoid creams (Retin-A, Differin, Tazorac), AHAs work through a different mechanism and may work synergistically with the retinoids.  Also, products containing AHAs are over the counter while the retinoid creams are prescription medicine.  This makes products containing AHA much more accessible to the general public.

 

The following are the products we recommend with AHA:

 

SkinMedica 15% AHA/BHA Face Cream - A profound exfoliating formulation that removes dead skin cells while assisting fresh, young cells to the surface of the skin. Added vitamins and antioxidants nourish and protect the skin from free radical damage while reducing visible fine lines and wrinkle depth.

 

Gly Derm Cream 5% - Cream - 5% AHA* Indication: Dry or mature skin. Used to continue to improve skin appearance or to keep the results of the in-office applications lasting longer.

 

Gly Derm Cream Plus 10% - Cream Plus - 10% AHA* Indication: Dry or mature skin. Used to continue to improve skin appearance or to keep the results of the in-office applications lasting longer. 

 

Gly Derm Cream Plus 12% - Cream Plus 12 - 12% AHA* Salicylated Indication: Dry or mature skin. Used to continue to improve skin appearance or to keep the results of the in-office applications lasting longer. 

 

Glytone Day Cream for Dry Skin 1 - Used to help hydrate dry skin and enhance skin tone for a healthy, revitalized complexion. This product has a pH of 3.2 and free glycolic acid percentage of 9.7%. 

 

Glytone Day Cream for Normal Skin 1 - Used to help hydrate normal skin and enhance skin tone for a healthy, revitalized complexion. This product has a pH of 3.2 and free glycolic acid percentage of 8.0%.      

 
Glytone Day Cream for Oily Skin 1 - Use this non-comedogenic hydrator to enhance skin tone for a healthy, revitalized complexion. This product has a pH of 3.2 and free glycolic acid percentage of 8.0%.  

 

For certain individuals, AHAs induce irritation.  This stinging sensation is not accompanied by redness or inflammation.  This sensation is purely neurosensory in nature.  If you experience stinging when using AHA products, stop its use and consult a dermatologist to help you design a different skin care regimen.

 

If you have any questions or concerns about incorporating AHA into your skin care regimen, please consult your dermatologist.

 

Next Section: How to Choose Moisturizers




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The medical information provided in this site is for educational purposes only.  Any topic discussed in this article is not intended as medical advice. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice and shall not create a physician - patient relationship. Consult a dermatologist, if you have a specific question or concern about a skin lesion or disease.
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