Much research has been done on hydroxy acids since they became popular in the USA in the 1980’s. There are two types of Hydroxy Acids – Alpha and Beta. An example of a Beta Hydroxy used in skin care, is salicylic acid, whereas examples of Alpha Hyroxy Acids include Lactic acid, glycolic acid, citric acid, malic acid and tartaric acid. This month, Vitaderm is focusing on Alpha Hydroxy Acids (rather than Beta Hydroxy Acids, which will feature in May)
AHA’s are also known as fruit acids, although lactic acid and glycolic acid are strictly speaking not fruit acids, since they are derived from milk and sugar.
Lactic acid is a natural acid found in fermented milk. It is regarded as one of the safest hydroxy acids, and has well-documented penetrative abilities, as well as being known for the ability to help flush excess pigment.
Glycolic acid is a hydroxy acid that occurs naturally in sugar cane. It is known to stimulate fibroblast activity (responsible for collagen production in the skin) and has been shown to increase cell turn-around time. Unfortunately, many manufacturers make use of synthetic glycolic acid, which tends to be very harsh in effect.
Citric acid occurs naturally in citrus fruit and complements the effects of the other fruit acids.
This fruit acid occurs naturally in apples, but is seldom used on it’s own in skin care products and treatments.
Tartaric acid is found naturally in grapes. It is even weaker in nature than malic acid and is notoriously unstable in cosmetic formulations.
Vitaderm makes use of an imported blend of naturally occurring alpha hydroxy acids – derived from citrus fruit and blue berries. Lactic acid is incorporated into certain of the peel treatments for an intensified effect.