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home>>beauty & fashion>>skin care>>alpha hydroxy acids in skin care

Alpha Hydroxy Acids in Skin Care

Copyright Natalie Katsman

Cleopatra bathed in milk, and noble European ladies pampered their bodies with wine baths to have silky smooth skin. Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHA) have been used to reverse the aging process for centuries before their effectiveness was recognized by modern science.

Alpha hydroxy acids are very familiar to all of us:
-- Lactic acid is found in milk
-- Oranges and lemons contain citric acid.
-- Apples - malic acid
-- Aged wine is rich with tartaric acid
-- Glycolic acid is extracted from sugar cane.

AHA are natural, not only they are found in plants and natural foods, but also in the human body!

Now alpha hydroxy acids are the most popular choice to reduce wrinkles and fine lines, dryness, acne, alligator skin, and many other skin conditions.

Ok. Now let's talk about how AHA work and what they do to make skin look younger.

Studies have shown that AHA are especially effective on the horny layer (the one made of dead cells). As you know, as the time goes on, our skin looses its ability to get rid of old cells fast enough. Therefore this outermost skin layer thickens; when thick, skin looses its elasticity and fresh look. AHAs come to the rescue: they break down the sugars in the skin, some of which are essential part of "skin cement", the material that holds the cells together. As a result, skin easily sheds unwanted old cells, revealing newer and younger ones.

Let's go deeper, to the dermis. While making epidermis somewhat thinner, alpha hydroxy acids seem to make ground substance of the dermis thicker, thereby eliminating wrinkles.

For some reason, the amount of AHAs produced by our bodies is not enough to counter wrinkles. It was found that our bodies do even more: they produce alpha acetoxy acids (AAA), which do the opposite to what AHAs do. AAAs work for thickening of the horny layer and allow whiteheads and blackheads appear on the skin surface. Why this happens has yet to be explained by scientists.

In the meantime, AHAs' ability to help skin shed unwanted cells makes it very useful to eliminate wrinkles and age spots, relieve alligator skin and associated with dryness thickening of epidermis. They help to eliminate acne on face, back, and chest. By the same mechanism, AHAs get rid of precancerous growths!

High concentration of AHAs produce very fast, dramatic results, especially for serious skin conditions, but they are being used only by professionals and are neither recommended nor available for home use.

Luckily for all of us, there are safe and effective products formulated with AHAs that can be used every day. They might not work as fast as more concentrated solutions, but if you stick to them for a period of time, you will be pleasantly surprised at the results they can produce.

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About The Author
Natalie Katsman, 2000.
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The information of this page is intended for your general knowledge only and is not a substitute for your dermatologist's advice or treatment. For further details, please read our disclaimer.

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