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What are Alpha Hydroxy Acids?

Most all individuals especially women seek young and beautiful skin. Many will try almost anything that promises to give them the results they are looking for. Nearly all of the skin care products available in today’s market contain alpha hydroxy acids. They are considered by most to be a wonder ingredient.

The Acid Family

As an entire family of acids, alpha hydroxy acids are derived from a wide variety of fruit, sugar, and milk. The most widely used of these acids are glycolic acid and lactic acid. Glycolic acid is made from sugar and lactic acid is made from milk. Some of these acids are known as fruit or citric acids and are derived from such fruits as lemons, limes, grapefruits, and oranges. These are common as many women have applied lemon juice to their skin in an attempt to fade freckles for many years. Others have used the juice of the grapefruit as a remedy to help remove bags from under the eyes and other home remedies of sugar and milk have been applied by many to soften the skin.

Effects of Alpha Hydroxyl Acids

In general, alpha hydroxy acids are used in combination with other ingredients and fragrances to produce different types of skin care products. These products may be to hydrate and soften the skin. However, the content of alpha hydroxy acid works to exfoliate the skin by sloughing off the cells of the skin’s surface. This helps to reveal the newer and undamaged skin beneath. This process requires the product to be applied to the skin over a long period of time.

Some Side Effects

Often alpha hydroxy acid will irritate the skin leaving it itchy, red, and sometimes painful. Those who use products containing alpha hydroxy acid over a long period of time may also become more sensitive to UV light and will in turn burn more easily in the sunlight. It is recommended that regular users should wear a sunscreen with a high SPF for better protection. Irritation mainly occurs with professional application such as in a dermatologist’s office. In over-the-counter products the alpha hydroxyl acid content is usually less than ten percent and should cause very limited if any side effects. When used by dermatologists to perform what is known as a chemical peel is most generally when any side effects are experienced as they use higher concentration for faster, more noticeable results.

Shopping Tips

When individuals are choosing a skincare product, they should try to find one that includes such ingredients as alpha hydroxy acid, beta hydroxyl acid, lactic acid, glycolic acid, or salicylic acid. These should be in a product that tends to be absorbed into the skin in order to obtain the best of results.
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