Lesley Leale-Green and The Skin Edit are taking beauty back to School.
Do you look at the ingredients labels on your products and know what they mean? What is Glycerin? Should you be using it? How do you tell the difference between AHA’s and BHA’s? The Skin Edit have you covered. The Beauty Alphabet is an A-Z decoder of common beauty-product ingredients; highlighting what they are, why we use them and are they beneficial for your skin.
What are Alpha Hydroxy Acids?
AHA’s; Alpha Hydroxy Acids are reported to have been used as far back as Ancient Egypt when Cleopatra bathed in milk (Lactic Acid) to improve the condition of her skin. Today, AHA’s are commonly used in skincare products including cleansers, exfoliators, masks and moisturisers.
AHA’s are a chemical compound, derived naturally from organic matter such as fruit and milk. the most commonly known AHA’s are Glycolic and Lactic Acid; preferred by product developers because they penetrate into the skin so well. Five of the most commonly used AHA’s in skincare products are:
- Glycolic Acid – Sugar Cane
- Lactic Acid – Milk
- Malic Acid – Apples and Pears
- Tartaric Acid – Grapes
- Citric Acid – Oranges and Lemons
What are AHA’s used for?
AHA’s are best known for their exfoliating properties. Included in many products designed to slough away dead skin cells and encourage cell regeneration. Skincare studies suggest that AHA’s even help to stimulate collagen and elastin production and are recommended for treating wrinkles, pigmentation (photo-damage) and skin texture with regular use.
What are the benefits of using AHA’s in Skincare?
AHA’s undeniably offer clients an improved skin-surface texture and are recommended for many over the use of hard, manual exfoliating scrubs (including the now thankfully banned microbead exfoliators). By working on the skin’s surface, AHA’s work to reduce fine lines, scarring (i.e. acne scarring) and pigmentation. Glycolic acid for example, is recommended to clients who suffer from oily skins and acne-breakouts. The Glycolic works to remove the bacteria build-up caused by the excess oil production, and clears dead-skin cells and blocked pores.
AHA’s should always be used responsibly and be prescribed to you by a qualified skincare professional. When not used correctly, or occasionally at the onset of use, slight irritation may occur. For those with sensitive skins, a low concentration should be employed to begin with. AHA’s increase the skin’s natural photosensitivity. It is therefore essential that you use an SPF daily (more on the importance of SPF later) and proceed with full disclosure to your skincare professional if you are undergoing treatments such as IPL or Laser.
Which Products have AHA’s?
AHA’s are present in many professional, clinic Skin Peel treatments as well as at-home products. For an AHA novice try the Elizabeth Arden PRO Gentle Facial Cleanser, Invigorating Face and Body Scrub and Age Defying Serum.