Friday, 11 November 2016

Five Myths/Facts about Acids


Some of the most frequent questions I am asked concern acids - specifically glycolic. As more and more people embrace acids in all their glory, I thought a few facts from industry expert Lorna Bowes would be interesting. Lorna is an RGN with a specialty in dermatology and advises and trains doctors and aestheticians around the globe. There is nothing about acids and peels this woman does not know.

Myth: Glycolic thins the skin.
Fact: Glycolic Acid thickens the skin.
The first study on hydroxy acids was on the modulation of keratinisation with ichthyosis as the model:
'Van Scott EJ, Yu RJ: Control of Keratinization with a-Hydroxy Acids and Related Compounds. Archives of Dermatology 110: 586-590, 1974'.
This led to understanding that glycolic acid exfoliates and normalises the keratinisation process so that the stratum corneum (outer horny layer of your skin) is more flexible and the excess build up associated with the ageing process is reduced.
However, in 1996 Dr Ditre, a US Dermatologist, published a paper:
'Ditre CM, Griffin TD, Murphy GF, Sueki H, Telegan B, Johnson WC, Yu RJ, Van Scott EJ.
Effects of alpha hydroxy acids on photo-aged skin: a pilot clinical, histologic and ultrastructural study.
J Am Acad Dermatol 1996; 34:187-95'.
This paper demonstrated that an AHA treated site increased skin thickness by 25%, the rete pattern (junction between epidermis and dermis which in short works like velcro) is improved, elastic fibres are improved, and there is an increase in GAGs as well as an increase in collagen fibre density.

In summary –

Good thing: Glycolic acid thins the outer stratum corneum which becomes too thick as we age.
Good thing: Glycolic acid restores the essential components of the skin that are damaged as we age, leading to a thicker skin that functions more youthfully.

For smoother texture, softer younger looking skin, more evenness of skin tone and clarity, and a fuller, firmer skin with more elasticity and less laxity, use glycolic acid.


Myth: You must use SPF30 or above if using acids as AHAs increase sensitivity to UV light.
Fact: Increases in sunburn cell formation have been documented following AHA use.
However, this effect can be prevented by use of the very lowest level of sunscreen, even as low as an SPF2.
(This fact is merely to reassure you that if you use acids, you're not burning your face off when you go outside, not to encourage you to cease SPF usage, which you will still need for the usual reasons! CRH)

Myth: AHAs diminish skin barrier function
Fact: US FDA studies have not shown an increase in the absorption of studied materials which means that skin barrier function is not decreased. Further studies have demonstrated AHA-related improvements in skin barrier function.

Myth: AHAs cause skin irritation
Fact: AHAs are known to occasionally produce transient stinging, especially at higher strengths.
Stinging should be fleeting and should not produce excessive erythema (redness). Mild irritation can be (but is not always) part of the process.


Any Qs let us know in the comments. And thank you Lorna!


www.neostrata.co.uk




More info on Lorna Bowes: www.aestheticsource.com/lorna-bowes

See my full disclaimer here: http://bit.ly/1rpEmSq
The views expressed on this site are the author's own and are provided for informational purposes only. The author makes no warranties about the suitability of any product or treatment referenced or reviewed here for any person other than herself and any reliance placed on these reviews or references by you is done so solely at your own risk. Nothing on this site shall be construed as providing dermatological, medical or other such advice and you are always advised to seek the advice of a suitable professional should you have any such concerns.

46 comments:

  1. How commonly does milia occur when using AHA and BHA? Is any of the two more prone to giving you milia?

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  2. Hello Caroline, tks for this post. How often can you use acids, if in conjunction with over the counter retinoids? On a separate note, I've read in one if your posts that you shouldn't use a face oil after a hyluronic acid serum. Is that so and why?tks! Xx

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    Replies
    1. I'd like to know both these things too please!

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    2. I would also like to know the answers to these things please. Can you over-use acids? If so, how do you know when it's too much?

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    3. Me three! On my shelf I have Pixi Glow Tonic, P50, Liquid Gold, Alpha H Instant Facial and DDG Peel Pads along with Retinoid from Ordinary, Luna, Ordinarys Lactic Acid ... when to use what? Don't want to go HAM on my face and do more harm than good!

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    4. Same question- I love my P50 but am wondering if using it with otc retinoid is too much?

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  3. 'outer horny layer of the skin'

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    Replies
    1. What's wrong with that?
      It's "stratum corneum" translated into English from Latin.
      It's a medical term.

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  4. Any preference to a liquid AHA versus a gel AHA?

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    Replies
    1. It depends on the hydration level of your skin - if your skin is oily then a water based, non-greasy gel is best; if you skin is dry then something to increase water levels like a good humectant (look for products with ingredients like gluconolactone and lactobionic acid (2nd and 3rd generation hydroxyacids) and/or NeoGlucosamine in them) or a moisturising cream base.

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    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  5. Great post!

    Could I use a spray bottle for my acids (eyes shut of course)? So many products make me red and sore, I stopped using a flannel and it's improved, now I'm wondering if it's the cotton pads?

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    Replies
    1. Not Caroline, obvs. but I have a similar issue. I'm not sure I would use a spray bottle (acid in my hair, on the bathroom walls, etc.) but what I do is just skip the pad/cotton altogether. Pour a little into one palm, then use the other hand's fingers to "paint" it on my face, then press both palms together and pat them over my face to get the last bit on. You do lose a little product this way but there is zero irritation. Another option is to look into buying higher quality cotton pads especially for skincare, they are smoother/softer and designed to waste less product into the pad. Shiseido and Muji both make some.

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    2. BBB got very excited about Paul and Joe cotton pads recently incase that helps. £3 from Asos she said x

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  6. Never used acids before this year and I had terrible skin. Congested and oily with dry patches. Muddy and pigmented as well. Discovering how acids worked on my skin was a revelation. I had no peeling, no redness, no sensitivity issues. My skin started clearing up right away. The muddiness is gone, the pigmentation is fading and less obvious, my pores aren't visible as I stand in front of the mirror. Blackheads and whiteheads have stopped forming. But. I also stopped using supermarket shampoos. That one thing alone got rid of patches of psoriasis around my hairline. I bought other good products recommended here as well. I'm in a routine of layering each one and doing it the Hirons way. I'm really aware that I need to go gently and nourish my skin. I spend the most money on a hydrating serum which goes against everything I was taught about oily skin by counter staff at cosmetic counters. I don't go near them any more. I also spend money on good shampoo, in particular the L'Occitane range. My skin loves peptides. It loves glycolic acid, it loves my very expensive shampoos. I haven't yet found a good retinol that I can afford so might have to splash out on that as well.
    The word 'acid' is a turn-off. Ignore that and trial some recommended here. Especially if you have skin like mine was. You won't regret it.

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    Replies
    1. Great story! Which serum do you use? And which acid? Thanks

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    2. Hi, I'm using the Dr Dennis Gross hydration booster at the moment. It's great. It works. I'd love to try Sunday Riley but it's a bit out of my price range and I'm afraid I'd fall in love with it. Acid I use is Alpha H liquid gold and it is really is gold. I very occasionally notice a little peeling on my nose but it's not obvious and I just quit using it for a couple of days. I do tend to use it more often than recommended because it makes such a difference to my skin. Couldn't bear to be without it. Hope that helps.

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    3. Jenny, have you tried The Ordinary retinol? It's really inexpensive (under a tenner) so even if it won't work for you you won't lose too much money :)

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    4. Thanks Kristine but I don't know if it's available in my country. I did see something about it here before and am certainly interested. I might have to buy it online. Thanks for reminding me.

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  7. Retinol, glycolic acid or both?
    Not at the same
    but as part of a skincare routine.? Over 50.

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    Replies
    1. Not Caroline, but I use both alternating. I am 37 for reference, My mother, 65, uses only glycolic acid at the moment.

      Linda, Libra, Loca: Beauty, Baby and Backpacking

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    2. In my late 20s and I've embraced all acids, including retinol.

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  8. Could you please let me know if consuming large amounts of fish oil is safe. I have backacne what should I do.. please help

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    Replies
    1. For back Google 'site:carolinehirons.com back lisa clay' because there was a girl called Lisa she gave some advice to x

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    2. Hi.. I have tried to find the post you are talking about but I can not seem to find it. I have read on the blog to consume large amounts of fish oil. Just wanted to know if it is safe to do so as the recommend dose is a lot less 9000 a day

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    3. Hi there :) Found it! It's in the cheat sheet about acne.

      Caroline said "Consider supplementation. I have no doubt in my mind that consuming large quantities of fish oil has saved my face. And it's not just me. People I know have had the same response. It works for acne OR psoriasis and eczema - so if you have any of those - or all - I would definitely recommend. I take anything between 3000 and 10,000mg a day depending on the day, my skin and circumstances. If you are vegetarian you can use flax - but fish is much better. (Sorry!)"

      Link-
      http://www.carolinehirons.com/2012/05/acne-cheat-sheet.html?m=1

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    4. Thanks a lot :).. i just wanted to know if it safe to take this amount as it states on the bottle a lot less. Just don't want to overdose as my body isn't use to it as I have never taken fish oil.. just wanted to ask if anyone has ever tried this amount? Xxx

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    5. @Ladylike. Try Oxy max Action Advanced face wash on your back and always wash your back AFTER you have rinsed off shampoo and conditioner. The Oxy has a fairly strong Benzoyl Peroxide in it and that has really helped me, plus it's cheap. Give it a go :-)

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    6. Thanks a lot.. would you know if any uk shops stock this? X

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  9. I am a hugr fan of acids ever dince discovering them on your blog almost four years back, and they had such an impact on my skin.

    Linda, Libra, Loca: Beauty, Baby and Backpacking

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  10. This winter I'm using lactic acid & vit c in the morning. Alternating evening gycolic and retinoids. Just trying to get the best of all acid worlds.

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  11. Hi Lorna!

    Thanks for the info. Caroline once mentioned that glycolic acids (or maybe AHAs in general?) need to be formulated with alcohol or witch hazel. Did I understand that correctly? Is it needed to dissolve the acids? I tried to find some info in this but failed. (I have a BSc level understanding of chemistry.)

    Thanks!

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  12. Such an interesting post, especially the first myth! I mainly use Glycolic Acids because of their quick efficiency on my skin, so it is very interesting (and satisfying) to learn more about their efficiency in the long run!

    http://fannyanddailybeauty.com

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  13. Acids didn't suit me and broke me out bit love oskia and omorovizca face scrubs. Caz, I heard IPL hair removal boosts collagen . Is this true? Xx

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  14. It's almost summer here in the South Hemisphere, and I wonder what's about glycolic and the summer prohibition myth? Thank you Caroline!

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  15. This was really helpful. I have a quick question though, Whenever I use AHAs I find it breaks me out. Is the normal and should I continue using them? Most of what i've been try glycolic Acid but lactic acid breaks me out too. I have dehydrated skin, that is prone to breakouts! You're help would be appreciated! xx

    LPage Beauty

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. AHAs can bring out acne when you first use them, this is a nuisance but it is actually the AHAs 'doing their job' and once they have brought the acne out initially they will then help to control it. Just bear with it for the first two to three weeks, it is worth it. Salicylic acid is good when we have a spot, apply it to the spot(s) twice a day for a couple of days. Mandelic acid is good for controlling oil production as it works to reduce sebum in a similar way to salicylic acid, however salicylic acid dries out our skin (and a dry skin produces more oil...therefore more breakout in the longer term) but mandelic acid is a humectant and therefore the skin is better hydrated so doesn't need to produce more sebum.

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  16. Hi Caroline,
    My skin is sensitive and I have minor rosacea on my cheek and chin area. Whenever I use acid pads, they tend to make my skin quite red and after putting on cream my face feels hot and red. I have a fear that I make my rosacea worsen - therefore I stopped using acid toners or pads. Do you think it is normal and I can start using again because it is a myth as you suggest? please help me because I want to use acids rather than scrubs. thanks you:)

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    Replies
    1. If you have sensitive skin, then take a look at the 2nd and 3 generation hydroxyacids that have been specifically developed for sensitive skin. Look for ingredients like lactobioinc acid and maltoboinic acid as well as gluconolactone. Avoid using products with ingredients that make them feel or smell nicer, concentrate on strengthening your skin's protective 'skin barrier' first with great active ingredients. Don't put too much on too often as your skin starts to get used to new ingredients - your skin has to 'learn' about actives (we call it either acclimation or acclimatisation), take it slowly and you will see great results.

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  17. Oh I wish I could use acids regularly! I can just about get away using an acid product once a week, any more than that and my skin hates me :(

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    Replies
    1. Try products with gluconolacctone (polyhydroxyacid) or lactobionic acid for acids that will suit a more sensitive skin whilst giving you the results you are looking for from glycolic acid products and as they are also antioxidants your skin will really benefit.

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  18. I love the 1st Myth. Precented with SPF30 - as if we are not all wearing SPF50+ (at minimum) even when staying in all day...
    Another brilliant post, Lady H.

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  19. Caroline,
    Are AHA-acids suitable for acne-prone skin? What may 'go wrong' while using Glycolic Acid on acne-prone skin? I'm 27 and still try to deal with acne but in the same time I want to start using some anti-aging products.

    Similar post would be useful for BHA acids!

    I hear everywhere that salicilic acid is recommended for oily and acne-prone skin, but on The Ordinary (DECIEM) website I read that they do not recommend salicylic acid for acne (under Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% product descriprion). And now I'm confused and I don't know why the said that

    Cheers, Urszula

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    Replies
    1. Yes, you can use AHAs for acne prone skin. Salicylic acid is good when you have a spot as it will dry up the oiliness, but it does unfortunately dry out your skin too, which means you will produce more oil..., so try products based on mandelic acid to prevent spots, this ingredient also dries up oil production but as it is a humectant it increases your skin hydration - a good thing! Be aware that your acne may get worse for a couple or three weeks when you start an AHA regime as you are 'spring cleaning' your skin and getting out the spots that are lurking under the surface. NeoGlucosamine is also a great ingredient for acne-prone skin - it reduces lesion count, helps prevent and even correct hyperpigmentation, is a good exfoliant and increases GAGs including hyaluronic acid for better hydrated skin.

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