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New Age Attitude Toward AHAs

By: Christine Heathman
Posted: July 22, 2008, from the March 2007 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.

Solutions for wrinkles, pigmentation, acne and sagging skin continue to be sought out and coveted by the aging boomer generation with no end in sight. The maturing face has the right to maximize its beauty and allure, as well as erase the signs of aging with proven modalities for optimal clinical results. With countless surgical and noninvasive options available, the esthetician or medical professional can find selecting the perfect clinical remedy a significant challenge.

Up until the past few years, the primary weapon of choice has been invasive cosmetic surgery procedures such as blepharoplasty (eye lift), rhytidectomy (face lift), endoscopic brow lift, lower eyelid surgery, facial implants, laser skin resurfacing, Botox* and collagen, including the new generation of injectable fillers.

However, given these surgical age management options, news from the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery publicized that of the 11.5 million cosmetic procedures performed in 2005, 80% were nonsurgical.

Who is spearheading this revolution for noninvasive anti-aging demands? The answer could lie in the fact that there is a stronger emphasis on health and longevity with today’s aging population now more educated to the good, bad and ugly part of invasive surgical procedures and challenging the traditional methods of surgery. This new age attitude has created a major demand for more unorthodox remedies without undergoing anesthesia, needles and the knife. Due to this phenomenon, dermatologists, plastic surgeons, medical spas and skin care clinics have established a timely resurgence of alpha hydroxy acid peels and products, rediscovering their benefits and anti-aging abilities.

Meet the AHAs

Alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) are a family of natural compounds representing a fascinating group of substances that belong to a category of cosmeceuticals. In the past two decades they have been widely used in a variety of skin care products for moisturizing, keratolytic and anti-aging effects. These compounds include AHAs, beta hydroxy acids (BHAs), combinations of hydroxy acids and polyhydroxy acids.