No other ingredient has an impact with exfoliation than the family ingredients called Alpha hydroxy acids and known for short as AHAs. Alphahydroxy acids are a family of naturally occurring acids derived from fruits and vegetables, but some actually occur in human cells. AHAs have been used over the years to help conditions such as Acneic skin, oily skin, sun damage, dryness, hyperpigmentation and for prevention. There are a variety of acids in the AHA family used in skincare products and chemical peels. These acids include lactic acid (derived from milk), tartaric acid (derived from grapes and passionfruit), malic acid (derived from apples), and the strongest and most popular is glycolic acid (derived from sugarcane or rhubarb). There is also another family of acids called Betahydroxy acids for short BHA’s. Examples of BHAs are citric acid (derived from citrus fruits) and salicylic acid (derived from wintergreen, sweet birch, and/or willow bark).
The chemical difference between alpha and beta hydroxy acids is the location of the hydroxy acid group on the carbon chain of the acid. Alpha indicates that the group is on the first carbon atom, whereas beta means that the group is on the second carbon atom. Glycolic acid is the smallest, molecularly, of all the alphahydroxy acids. It has been widely researched and because of its size, penetrates between cells more readily than the other AHAs. AHAs are theorized to work by loosening the bond between dead stratum corneum cells, dissolving part of the surface intercellular cement that holds keratin together. This makes it easy to remove dead cells from the skin’s surface, which has a positive effect on many conditions.
Benefits of AHAs:
- Removing dead cell buildup helps smooth the surface of dry, sun damaged, or aging skin, improving roughness, and making wrinkles appear shallower.
- When you exfoliate, cell renewal is stimulated, bringing younger, fresher cells to the surface more quickly, and increasing the production of intercellular lipids, improving barrier function and improving hydration of the skin.
- Removing cell buildup inside the hair follicles help loosen clogged pores, comedones, and other impaction on the skin or oily area. Continued use helps keep dead skin from accumulating on the follicle wall, which prevents impactions that can lead to inflammatory acne lesions. This property of AHAs and BHAs make them good ingredients to use for acne-prone and oily skins.
- Removal of dead cells can mean the removal of hyperpigmented cells, which helps to lighten discolored or splotchy skin. Used with melanin suppressors such as Emblica Fruit Extract or Kojic Acid, AHAs help remove stained cells, while Emblica and Kojic Acid helps suppress the activity of the melanocytes.
- AHAs can be used on body skin, removing dead , dry cells, and helping improve retention of moisture. This helps conditions such as dry skin as well as aiding doctors in treating medical conditions such as eczema and icthyosis. AHAs are also helpful in removing calluses on feet, elbows, and hands.
AHAs and BHAs can be used in many products, but are most effective when used in leave-on products such as AloeGlyC Renewing Exfoliant, and Lexli’s Clarifying Lotion.
| posted on Monday, August 03, 2009 12:00 AM