Retinols, Alpha Hydroxy Acids and Acne:
Retinols are derived from a well-known micronutrient: vitamin A. Vitamin A is usually hailed as the “eye vitamin”. In reality, it benefits the skin, hair and nails as well.
Retinols can be used on their own as treatment for inflamed skin (like cases of acne). Often, it’s formulated along with other chemicals. Usually, these chemicals are Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs).
Some of the acids used for the purpose of treating acne and renewing skin are the following:
– Glycolic acid
– Lactic acid
– Citric acid
As you may have noticed, two of these acids are derived from mostly plant sources. Only lactic acid is derived from animals: from the milk of cows, goats, etc. Should you be optimistic that the retinols and these acids are causing the sudden improvements in your skin? No.
Often, the degree of concentration of these chemicals are simply too low to create such an effect on the skin. To be fair to these naturally occurring chemicals, they do have some exfoliating effects.
How to Use Retinols and Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs) for Acne Treatment?
The more, the merrier. This principle applies to acids such as AHAs or beta-hydroxy acids. There is a way to make these acids useful for the purpose of treating acne. A process called “chemical peels” makes use of very high doses of the acids to rejuvenate tired and chemical-damaged skin.
Persons who have experienced the smoke and grime of city living for years are often candidates for rejuvenating chemical peels. Remember, the amount of AHAs and BHAs in chemical peels and OTC treatments are different. Chemical peels are specially formulated for each person; whilst OTC treatments make use of gradations in active ingredient concentrations.
There are some ingredients added to acid preparations that seem to enhance the medical properties. Whether this be true or not (usually, scientific tests reveal that these ingredients are either too weak or are not designed to handle certain skin conditions), they’re now in the cultural memory of the world.
Two of these ingredients are:
Sulfur has been used for a long time to treat skin ailments, including acne. However, the ingredient is not popular with acne sufferers in the United States.
Resorcinol on the other hand, is used to induce exfoliation in the skin. That’s why it’s added to different formulations. Some preparations include the following ingredients. The ingredients work in tandem to balance the various effects of each other:
– Benzoyl peroxide
– Aloe vera extract
– Glycolic acid
– Salicylic acid
If you wish to receive the benefits of both naturally occurring ingredients and chemically synthesized ones, we recommend that you make use of preparations that combine the ingredients.
The process of selecting the right product for you might be confusing at first. To be safe, stick to well-known or at least established brands. Never sacrifice your skin’s health to inexpensive but dubious products.
Remember, treating your skin a serious matter; treating acne is actually an investment in your skin.