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Alpha hydroxy acids. They’re not a new ingredient in the cosmetic world but they are often still misunderstood.

Alpha Hydroxy Acids are a helping hand from the elusive fountain of youth!


So what are they?  Alpha Hydroxy Acid’s, also known as AHA’s, are naturally occurring acids taken from fruits, sugar and milk .   There are several different acids in this family of highly functional and effective, skin useful food naturals that are used either alone or in combination with other AHA’s for various applications. Each form can be used in a variety of skin care products.

*Glycolic acid comes from sugar and is used because of its molecular size which allows it to be absorbed deep into the skin.

*Lactic acid, found in milk, is often the one of choice for its gentleness and non-irritating factors.

*Malic acid can be obtained from unripe, tart fruits such as apples. It offers a balance of humectant and skin penetration properties.  

*Tartaric acid, found in grapes, is one of the weaker alpha hydroxy acids and can be used not only to gently exfoliate skin but also to adjust PH levels in cosmetics.

*Citric acid comes from citrus fruits and is most often used to adjust the PH of a product or to reinforce and increase moisturizing abilities. 

What are they used for? Alpha hydroxy acids are used for exfoliation, for their antioxidant and anti-aging properties and as a humectant to help hydrate skin.  AHA’s work to “unglue” dead epidermis (skin) cells from one another to allow them to slough off easily.  This makes room for regrowth of new skin cells and enables moisturizers and nutrients to penetrate to live skin cells more easily. They offer and assist better hydration to the skin as well.  One of the wonderful things about alpha hydroxy acids is that they are suitable for all skin types and conditions.

Don’t they cause redness and irritation to skin?  Skin care products containing alpha hydroxy acids can cause minor irritation or redness for some people during the beginning of use but when formulated in the right way and used correctly, they cause little to no problems for most people. Any horror stories of redness or burning that some have reportedly experienced from consumer available products are usually from a high concentration of AHA’s in the product, excessive misuse or a sensitivity to the AHA or other ingredient. Now, if you go to a dermatologist or skin care specialist for clinical skin peels, yes, there will be redness and irritation because the concentrations of AHA is much higher and more skin is being removed at a deeper level with a single treatment.

Is it true they make you more prone to sunburn and damage. Ummm….yes and no.  Products containing alpha hydroxy acids can and do make skin more vulnerable to the ill effects of unprotected sun exposure. You are removing the outer  layer of dead skin from the epidermis, exposing the new and fresh skin underneath. You want to protect that new skin from sun damage and you also want to moisturize it with products that contain antioxidants to protect from moisture loss and free radicals. You should be using an effective, properly rated sunscreen anyway, but most definitely after and during continued use of any product containing alpha hydroxy acids. Damaged skin is not happy or well-functioning skin. Keep your skin happy and doing what it’s meant to do, OK?

How can they make me look younger? Well, that question has a multi-level answer. First, of course is the exfoliation factor. New skin is younger skin, after all. In addition, alpha hydroxy acids have also been shown to stimulate production of collagen and elastin and reduce the problem of skin roughness. They are great tools to help even out skin tone. With regular use in appropriate percentages, they can improve mottled pigmentation (inconsistent coloration) from sun damage. This all goes a long way to diminish the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines. So you get healthier, happier, more beautiful skin. And that means a more youthful looking and feeling you. You know you want that! Or is that just me?

Does Neos Skin Care have products with alpha hydroxy acids?  Yes. Our Night Life™ AHA Night Time Peel is an extremely gentle alpha hydroxy acid lotion type product for that face that acts as a moisturizer and exfoliating peel all in one. We utilize the best of alpha hydroxy acids from various plant sources to make it so gentle you can use it every night.  Night Life™ is one of our most loved products and is in my own personal list of top 5 facial skin care tools. You can see the difference to your skin the morning after the first use.  Really….You can!   When used on a regular basis, it helps to brighten dull, lifeless skin, supports new skin cell turnover and improves the texture and feel of skin while allowing skin to soak up moisture more easily for better hydration. It is one of those must haves you will be glad you keep on hand. It’s an awesome product to help keep skin clear, bright and youthful looking.

Ohhhh….I almost forgot the latest exciting news coming out in the alpha hydroxy acids world!  A new generation of extremely gentle alpha hydroxy acids, derived from the flower blooms of Calendula, coneflower and hibiscus are showing amazing promise for use in age-defying skin care.  I love this because I LOVE floral based beauty options as you can probably tell from all the botanical extracts I use in products. I assure you I will be doing research of these new floral-based AHA’s and may develop new product formulations featuring them. We’ll see.

Alright, that’s all for now. Remember to make and enjoy the Ahhh Moments, y’all!



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