The Acid Chronicles: Lactic Acid!

 

Lactic Acid 1

Happy Tuesday readers!  Hoping your weekend was great!

Awhile ago, I posted on alpha hydroxy acids, otherwise known as AHAs and why they are important in skincare. (In case you missed it or need a refresher, click here)  Lactic acid was one of the AHAs mentioned and here’s why this ingredient is great.

Who: Lactic acid

What skin conditions can it help: Aging and hyperpigmentation

Where it comes from: Derived from milk/sugar

Why it’s important: Lactic acid functions as a humectant, which attracts water and hydrates the skin.   It breaks down the bonds between cells that allow for easier exfoliation of the skin, reducing the appearance of wrinkles.   It also reduces hyperpigmentation due to its ability to suppress the formation of tyrosinase ( the enzyme involved in melanin production).  Because its molecular structure is bigger than glycolic acid, it’s an ideal ingredient to use for those who have sensitive skin because it permeates into the skin slowly, reducing the chances of irritation and inflammation.

How it’s used: Lactic acid can be found in skincare products (i.e. cleansers, toners, moisturizers, serums) and also in professional treatments like chemical peels.  *Like any other exfoliating agent, limit use to a few times per week, wear sunscreen and use caution when using ingredients containing retinol as this can irritate skin.

If you follow my Instagram, you’ll recognize the picture below when I took the Cosmetic Chemistry course at UCLA.  The vial on the right-hand side is what natural lactic acid looks like.

Lactic Acid

I recently joined Twitter (@stephieestie) so feel free to follow me on there too! I’m still learning how to use it, FYI, but I’m sure I’ll get it in no time. 🙂

Thanks for reading,

Stephanie

 

Why AHAs Are Important in Anti-Aging Skincare!

Hi everyone!  How was your weekend?  My week is off to a great start.  I was able to attend a special event at the International Dermal Institute headed by Jane Wurwand who is the founder of Dermalogica.  Such an amazing and inspirational woman!  Her motivational speech was beyond fantastic and she has a lovely sense of humor and heart.  Also, I found out I won the giveaway hosted by Maiko from SkinConciergeMaiko! Yay!  Check out her blog for other awesome reviews and tips. 🙂

Alright, enough about that.  Let’s get right to the topic of today’s post which is alpha hydroxy acids or AHAs.

What are Alpha Hydroxy Acids?

Technically speaking, alpha hydroxy acids “are a group of water-soluble carboxylic acids that work to release the desmosomes that hold skin cells together.”  Hmmm. I fear I lost you guys. 🙂 In plain English, they are naturally occurring mild acids used as chemical exfoliants that help shed off dead skin cells.  They are hydrophilic (attracted to water) and are pH dependent meaning they require a lower pH to be effective.

Why are they Beneficial?

AHAs are highly coveted and present in many anti-aging products/treatments for the following reasons:

  • Allows for easier exfoliation
  • Increased cell turnover (hello glowing skin)
  • Stimulate fibroblasts to produce collagen and elastin (something that decreases over time)
  • Firm the skin
  • Smooth and improve skin texture
  • Reduce lines and pigmentation
  • Leads to a more youthful appearance and feel
  • Increase ceramides (hydration)

*Note: Overly and aggressively exfoliating the skin can result in sensitive itchy red skin.

What are the Different Types of Alpha Hydroxy Acids?

  • Lactic acid– derived from milk
  • Glycolic acid-derived from sugar
  • Citric acid- derived from citrus fruits
  • Tartaric acid- derived from grapes
  • Mandelic acid- derived from bitter almonds
  • Malic acid- derived from sour apples

*A special note on AHAs:  Overly and aggressively exfoliating the skin, with or without AHAs can result in sensitive itchy red skin.  Also, when using AHAs, you’re more sensitive to the sun and more prone to burning so sunscreen is crucial! 

I hope you found this information helpful and as always, if you have any questions, feel free to ask me. 🙂

Have a good Tuesday,

Stephanie

 

What the Milia?

milia

If you’ve ever examined your skin and noticed tiny, white hard bumps that resemble sesame seeds, most likely you have a skin anomaly known as milia.  No need to panic though. Milia aren’t harmful, they’re just more of a complexion nuisance, and boy, are they stubborn!

Milia are usually found around the eyes, cheeks, and forehead and occur when oil, debris and dead skin cells become trapped beneath the surface of the skin.  Although they resemble whiteheads, milia won’t go away easily because they don’t have an escape route, meaning they’re not in the pores but rather ‘stuck’ under the outer layer of your skin. Therefore, trying to extract them yourself is NOT recommended since you can damage surrounding tissue and cause scarring.

So what options are available?

First, let’s examine the common culprits. Milia can be genetic and can also be caused by using too-rich ingredients such as mineral oil, lanolin, and isopropyl myristate.  If milia are prevalent around the eye area, make sure your eye cream and/or makeup remover is free from these ingredients.

Now, on to the treatment.  Thoroughly cleansing your face at night (read: more than just splashing your face with water) can help keep them from forming.  Mild exfoliation (enzymes are great for this!) and using a serum or cream with either hydroxy acids (lactic, glycolic, or salicylic) or retinol can also help.  If this solution doesn’t work (and frustratingly, it often doesn’t) or you want faster results, visit a dermatologist or esthetician where they can remove milia with a lancet.

Do you have milia? What treatment worked best for you?