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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.

page 5 of 7

Owing to the above mentioned mechanisms, the clinical effects of glycolic acid can’t be ignored with the documentation substantiating how the skin’s firmness, elasticity, wrinkle reduction and pigmentation morbidity is improved.

Lactic acid

An AHA that has increased in popularity in recent years because of the multiplicity of uses, including with skin of color, is lactic acid. Lactic acid comes from natural sources of sour milk and tomato juice. This acid has a larger molecule than glycolic acid, three carbons, and has been used in topical preparations for decades because of its buffering properties and water-binding capacity to the skin.

Lactic acid has been used for correction of disorders associated with hyperplasia and retention of the SC, such as dandruff, callus, keratosis and verrucae (viral warts). In addition, lactic acid is effective for treatment of acne skin due to its penetration in the sebaceous follicle ducts with subsequent lowering of pH and decrease in formation of fatty acids.

The choice made by an esthetician or physician of the correct AHA peel for a diagnosed condition, skin type and desired result is critical to successful treatment. Among the many chemical peel formulations available, the lactic acid peel offers superior exfoliation, hydration and skin brightening all in one procedure. Lactic acid is still the most flexible of all peeling solutions, because it is more attuned with the skin’s natural substances and is identified by the body as compatible.

According to research done by the author involving data on turnover and irritation, lactic acid’s long-term benefits increase firmness 35%, hydration 23%, smoothness 23%, wrinkles 55% and collagen 210%. It contains NMF, or natural moisturizing factor, which is known to hold onto water at the skin’s surface by binding hydration in place and assisting the skin proteins to better absorb moisture. NMF consists primarily of amino acids, a component of the important peptide chains.