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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 6 of 7

Clinical studies, also researched by the author, on topically applied lactic acid have demonstrated its excellent exfoliation properties and exceptional capacity for treating hyperpigmentation, while increasing moisture retention. Lactic acid speeds development, growth and transit of epithelial cells, while lactates stimulate ceramide biosynthesis, producing a more resilient lipid barrier and resistance to drying influences affecting the SC.

Stay skin-conscious

The skin is where all facial rejuvenation begins, and this cannot be overlooked when selecting an AHA type. Human skin is a highly specialized form of connective tissue. It contains several differentiated cell types: melanocytes, fibroblasts, keratinocytes, immunocompetent cells (Langerhans cells), migrating mononuclear cells and mastocytes, to mention the most important cell types in the skin.

In addition to these various cell types, skin also contains connective tissue that is rich in extracellular matrix (ECM). The macromolecular components of the ECM are mainly responsible for the rheological properties of the skin—its mechanical resistance and also its suppleness and elasticity. Other physiologically important functions include hydration, thermoregulation and regulation of the skin’s permeability. All these functions depend on differentiated cells, as well as on the composition of the ECM.

Aging is accompanied by a slowing down of cell proliferation as shown by the morphometric evaluation of the number of epidermal cell layers and of dermal fibroblasts in aging skin. This age-related cell loss and function is one of the major challenges for the esthetician.

AHA skin peels performed by a trained esthetician can benefit the cell proliferation of the skin, therefore enhancing the integrity of the skin’s internal structure and external texture. AHA peels have been substantiated to increase the synthesis of collagen, proteoglycans and glycosaminoglycans such as hyaluronan, a high molecular weight polysaccharide that can retain a large volume of water. Its molecular weight is on the order of several million.

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