How Does Alpha Hydroxy Cream Work On Acne?
Though commonly used for decades to treat blemishes and pimples, few understand how Alpha Hydroxy Cream works on acne. Let’s define first what exactly alpha hydroxyl acid (AHA) is. It is an acid known by many different names. This is because it comes from several different sources.
The group alpha hydroxyl acid is an organic compound although it can also be synthetically prepared. The group consists of glycolic, mandelic, lactic, tartaric and citric acids.
These are all mild acids found in natural products, such as sugar cane, apples, sour milk, grapes and citrus fruit. Their activity and usefulness lies in the concentration in which they are used. Their most common and most frequent use is in the topical application of alpha hydroxyl acid as a mild facial exfoliate.
Alpha Hydroxy Acid As Treatment For Oily Skin
Because it is an acid, it works to break up the oil that is formed in the pores of the skin and can be used in oily skin products. By breaking the bonds of the chemical components of sebum, the skin will be less apt to become inflamed and elicit the inflammatory reaction that often results in acne.
Daily use of hydroxyl acids and crystals will keep skin at a minimum of oil, thereby reducing the occurrence and recurrence of acne. This acid also takes off the top layer of cells of the epidermis. By doing this, the pores will remain open and exposed to oxygen. Propionibacterium, one of the causes of blackheads, whiteheads and acne is an anaerobe. As an anaerobe, it cannot be exposed to oxygen and live. It is prevented to cause inflammation within the pores.
Alpha Hydroxy Acid As Treatment For Acne
Once acne has already left its mark on the fine facial skin, scarring is the outcome. For a young man or woman, that is devastating. It has many negative social ramifications within their own peer groups which can leave life-long psychological scars as well. A Alpha Hydroxy cream, when applied to the face, will softly exfoliate due to the very fine grit of the crystals. This will minimize the depth of the acne scars. AHA is a common ingredient in many acne creams and will often be found as a separate light exfoliator in an acne face treatment program.
Glycolic acid, when used at a strength of perhaps 70% for eight to ten minutes, are considered chemical peels and need pre-treatment of the skin with vitamins to prevent inadvertent damage. It will peel off the upper layers of the epidermis and remove some of the pits that are left by the acne scars.
There are also indications that topical use of AHA will increase the synthesis of collagen as well as mucopolysaccharides under the skin. This partially fills in the pits left by scars. It should be noted that the best results come from repeated treatments.
Side Effects Of Using Alpha Hydroxy Acid
In general, there are very little side effects. Depending on the concentration that is used, there may be slight redness after application to the face. This is from the acidic action and is only temporary. Used in high concentration, AHA can result in redness that is not just temporary but is very persistent. Since the higher concentration is used like a chemical peel and has the same risks as a chemical peel there can be hyper-pigmentation and even some slight scarring as residual effects. Additional side effects are dry skin and an activated herpes simplex virus type I, if a patient has previously been infected.