What is the best natural anti aging ingredient? It’s a debate that continues to rumble on, and we’re probably not going to convince you one way or the other here. What we can say with confidence is that a good alpha hydroxy acid cream is one of the best options out there. These products tend to be very popular among consumers and for good reason. Unlike many gimmicky solutions, AHA is a property with significant scientific skincare support. It actually works with the structural composition of the skin to drive real change and improvement. But what are alpha hydroxy acids and how do they work? Are there downsides you should be aware of? How do they contrast against the benefits? This ingredient primer will give you all the info you need to know.
What is Alpha Hydroxy Acid Cream?
Alpha hydroxy acids come from the sugars in fruit and milk. Several different varieties fall under this categorization, including lactic acid and glycolic acid. The version you will find in a skin cream can either by natural or synthetic in its origins. Their most common use is in skincare products and cosmetics, due to their unique advantages for such purposes. You’ll see them as the primary ingredient in an alpha hydroxy acid cream frequently. You can use these products at home on a regular basis, with topical application. Additionally, AHA is often the basis for a chemical peel that you can get from a dermatologist.
Alpha Hydroxy Acid Cream Benefits for Skin
At its core, an alpha hydroxy acid cream is a powerful exfoliant. Some of the biggest contributors to wrinkles and poor skin texture are dead skin cells and unnecessary dry layers. Applying AHA can help slough off these extra components, spurring the growth of new skin beneath. These fresh new layers tend to be smoother in texture, softer to the touch and more even in complexion. Alpha hydroxy acid cream can also trigger an increase in collagen and elastin production. These proteins are the body’s primary skin rejuvenators. We naturally lose them as part of the aging process so restoring their balance is a key part of the ongoing anti-aging dynamic.
What makes alpha hydroxy acid cream particularly effective is its ability to penetrate the skin and absorb more deeply. This owes to a smaller molecular size, enabling it to bypass the epidermal barrier and nourish the inner dermal construct. As such, alpha hydroxy acids offer skin support from the inside out. This is a contrast against many superficial products that offer only cosmetic outer effects. These impacts are temporary by nature. So now that we understand the AHA benefits, let’s make sure we understand the downsides as well.
Alpha Hydroxy Acid Cream Side Effects
At the top of the list is irritation, as one might suspect. It has “acid” in the name so it’s unsurprising that AHA can be a little harsh, like most exfoliating solutions. Some people react to application with redness, itching, burning or pain. In some rare cases, scarring can occur. These outcomes to not happen often, however. For most users, alpha hydroxy acid cream causes only mild discomfort.
The other key concern is an increase in sensitivity to the sun and its UV rays. Some estimates suggest that AHA cream can increase susceptibility to the sun by as much as 50 percent. It’s a bit of a conundrum. On one hand, these products are excellent for combating the effects of photoaging (age-accelerating damage from sun exposure). On the other hand, they make you more vulnerable to photoaging when you apply them. As such, it is extra important to stay out of the sun and take proper precautions when using an alpha hydroxy acid cream. If you do so, the number of issues ought to be minimal.