AHA’s, and Chemical Peels
Wed, 27 October 2010 5:10PM
Celebs, models, rock stars and skincare professionals all use it. Now more popular than ever in the skincare market, if you haven’t heard it before this will eventually become your skin’s best friend.
A beauty secret that has been available for the last 20 years, AHAs were first used back in the days when Cleopatra bathed her body in sour milk. Women of the French Court also used AHAs when they rubbed grapes on their skin for a softer, more glowing visage.
AHAs stands for Alpha Hydroxy Acids. Derived from fruit and dairy sugars, acids are extracted or made in the laboratory to be used as a key ingredient in skincare.
The two most popular and effective AHAs are Glycolic Acid (from sugar canes) and Lactic Acid (from sour milk) as they have the smallest molecular weight and therefore greater skin penetration.
There’s nothing to be worried about, it sounds intimidating but really AHAs will do wonders to your skin. Think of it as taking your skin to the next level by correcting and maintaining it. Worried about blackheads, pigmentation, acne, breakouts, dryness or open pores? AHAs will target these specific skin concerns and control them from developing.
How do they work?
AHAs work by exfoliating the skin to slough the dead surface cells off. This is done by loosening or dissolving the glue-like substance that binds skin cells together. It penetrates at a much deeper level which creates a deeper exfoliation when compared to a mechanical exfoliation (granular scrubs). The skin is not damaged by abrasives or physical scrubbing.
What are the benefits?
• Use of AHAs reveals new, fresher and more youthful looking skin.
• AHAs stimulate the production of collagen and elastin (these are your skin fibers), to improve wrinkles, roughness, acne, pigmentation, and photo damaged skin.
• They help to ‘normalise’ the skin. AHAs regulate skin hydration and cellular renewal to a ‘normal’ rate. They also work on skin tone and texture.
AHAs in skincare and chemical peels
AHAs can be found in a number of leading skincare brands such as Md Formulations (Glycolic acid based) and Priori (Lactic acid based). Product labels will generally specify if AHAs have been added. If you have sensitive skin, look for a brand that has specifically formulated a range for sensitive skin. For example, MD formulations Sensitive Skin Range contains a sensitive skin complex.
These are only performed at a salon or mediSpa. Always ensure a qualified therapist applies the peel to your skin. Depending on the formulation, it may be left on for three to ten minutes. Professional salon peels utilise a higher concentration of AHAs and are used as either a one-off treatment (as part of a facial service) or as a stand alone treatment comprising a course of four to six treatments. Try and have one once a week, depending on the skin type and/or skin concern being treated. This is the preferred method for those seeking stronger anti-ageing benefits.
• Start off by slowly introducing AHAs to your skincare regime by adding a skin corrector, or changing your cleanser.
• When using skincare with AHAs, you must wear an SPF during the day. This will reduce the risk of sun sensitivity.
• Some products may tingle. In my experience, if you’re dehydrated from alcohol, caffeine or just haven’t had enough water, it may tingle more.
• Before a professional course of peels always use the home care for two weeks prior to the first treatment.
• Do a skin-sensitivity test if you are a first-time user of any AHA product.
My Favourite AHA Products:
Priori LCA/AHA Chemical Peel (In salon treatment)
MD Formulations Classic Glycolic Peel (In salon treatment)
Both are great with Omnilux Light Therapy
Priori Advanced AHA Barrier Repair Creme with LCA Complex, $120.00
Ilcsi AHA Fruit Pulp Treatment (Biological Peeling Mask), $90.00
Do you already use AHAs in your skincare?
What brands with AHAs do you favour using?
Have you ever had a chemical peel?
Gwen Giorla is a beauty therapist.
Posted by: Gwen Giorla