What’s on a Label?

Search alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) on Google and you will find pages and pages of information. Most agree that alpha hydroxy acids are naturally occurring, nontoxic acids that have been used to help improve the appearance of skin for centuries. Most also agree that alpha hydroxy acids really work! Many do not, however, agree on what percentage of AHA is needed to be an effective skin care ingredient. There is also little or no consensus on how percentages should be expressed. You can find over-the-counter products claiming percentages anywhere from 4% to 50%! Unfortunately, cosmetic labeling can be very misleading. Since AHAs are the cornerstone of the Alpha Skin Care line of products, we want to help clarify some label information and share what you need to know when shopping for an alpha hydroxy acid product.

Here are four pieces of information you should know when reading labels on AHA products.

The Type of AHA

Glycolic acid is the alpha hydroxy acid most commonly used in anti-aging skin care products. Glycolic acid is a natural fruit acid derived from sugar cane. The reason glycolic acid is the AHA used most often in skin care products is that is the smallest AHA molecule. This means that it can more easily get into your skin. It also yields the most dramatic results. For the best results when using an alpha hydroxy acid, look for formulas with glycolic acid.

The Percentage of AHA

For an AHA to be effective, the percentage of AHA should be between 8% and 14%.  A product with less than 8% AHA is little more than a moisturizer. Products that claim to have more than 14% are considered a chemical peel and really should be administered in a dermatologists office. We make AHA products that are 10%, 12% and 14% glycolic AHA. Don’t be fooled by misleading information that suggests an AHA product has 25% or higher. It simply is not true, and if it were, the product would not be safe for you to use.

The AHA Solution

Now you know what percentage is effective but, it is a percentage of what? AHAs are an ingredient that needs a carrier like a cream, lotion or gel. That means that no AHA solution is made up of 100% AHAs. When companies refer to the percentages on labels and packages the percent is usually based on a 70% AHA solution. Here is an example; 8% of a 70% solution is really 5.6% (70 x 8% = 5.6). So an 8% AHA  is really 5.6% of the overall formula. We make a cream, lotion, gel and serum so there is a product for all skin types.

The pH Level

Finally, you should know the importance of pH levels when reading cosmetics labels. To be effective, the pH level for an AHA should be between 3.5 and 4.0. If the pH level that is too low will be too acidic and irritating. A pH level of more than 4.0 is too alkaline to be effective and acts more like a moisturizer. Be wary of alpha hydroxy acid products that do not list the percentage of AHA or pH levels. They could have too little AHA to be effective or may not be properly formulated.

From the beginning in 1992, Alpha Skin Care (formerly Alpha Hydrox) has always put complete information on the box. The type of AHA, the percentage, the solution, and the pH level are featured prominently. We want our consumers to be educated and well-informed about the products that they buy. We believe, that given accurate information, people will make the best buying decision possible and in skin care, the best decision is Alpha Skin Care.

For more information on Alpha Skin Care visit our website.

AHAs and the Sun

 At Alpha Skin Care, we want to help you to make good, well-informed decisions about skin care products and how to use them.  We have found that there a lot of confusion regarding alpha hydroxy acids, commonly known as AHAs and whether or not they increase sun sensitivity. We thought we would take this opportunity to clarify the information.

AHAs are natural exfoliates.  They are derived from natural ingredients like sour milk, grapes and sugar cane.  When used in skin care products, these natural fruit acids loosen the glue-like bonds that hold dead skin cells to the surface of skin.  If you are not using AHAs as part of your skin care routine the top layer of cells is fairly thick.  This thick layer of dead cells is the body’s natural way of providing protection from the sun.

When you begin using an AHA treatment product, it gradually exfoliates the layer of dead cells from the skin’s surface.  AHAs allow newer, fresher, healthier cells to come to emerge.  That’s a good thing. The newer, healthier cells are what makes your skin look younger and more radiant. Skin feels softer and smoother.  Fine lines, wrinkles and dark spots are less noticeable. As unwanted cells are removed, however, so is your natural protection from the sun.  

AHAs do not make you more sensitive to the sun.  They simply remove the layer of dead cells.  There are ingredients that do make you more sensitive.  For example, retinoids, also known as retinol or Retin-A can cause significant sun sensitivity.  Many people will stop using retinoids in the summer for that very reason.  Although, sun exposure any time of year is equally damaging.

If you are using an alpha hydroxy acids as part of your daily skin care routine you must wear a sunscreen to replace the natural protection that is lost with exfoliation.  Some people think that if you are using AHAs at night, you do not need to wear a sunscreen during the day.  At Alpha Skin Care, we suggest wearing a sunscreen every day year round. We all know that the sun can damage skin and accelerates the aging process. Why take chances when wearing a sunscreen is so easy?  You can still enjoy feeling the sun on your face.

For more information on Alpha Skin Care visit our website.

The Skinny on pH

Do you know what pH stands for or why the pH level is  important in skin care products? Here is a quick explanation to help you be an informed, savvy skin care shopper.

Those two little letters, pH, stands for “potential of hydrogen” and reflects the number of hydrogen ions in a particular solution. More hydrogen ions make a solution more acidic. Fewer hydrogen ions create an alkaline solution. The scale for pH level is 0 – 14. Neutral on the scale is 7. If a solution is less than 7, it is acidic. Solutions higher than 7 are alkaline.

Here’s why pH is important in skin care products. Skin needs to be slightly acidic in order to deal with environmental factors like bacteria and other toxins. Normal skin pH ranges from 4.5 – 5.5. The active pH of a product determines its ability to actually penetrate the skin. A product should be below the pH level of the skin (or less than 4.5) for maximum penetration. If it’s not, the product isn’t any more effective than using water.

To be a smart skin care buyer, it is important to know pH level of the products you are buying. This will help you to determine their effectiveness. Cleansers should have a pH level higher than 3.5 A cleanser with less than 3.5 will strip your skin and leave it irritated. The optimum level for AHAs is between 3.5 and 4. If it is more than 4, an AHA or glycolic acid solution will do little to exfoliate or promote cellular renewal. Products with a pH level of 4 or more act more like a moisturizer.

Those two little letters, pH,  can make a big difference in the effectiveness of a product. To get the best results from your skin care products look for products that are pH balanced. We have always formulated all Alpha Skin Care products with the proper pH. Our goal is to make affordable products that really work. At Alpha Skin Care, we want to help you to get the most from your skin care routine and proper pH is part of what you need to know.

For more information on Alpha Skin Care visit our website.

The Ways to Use AHAs

Alpha hydroxy acids or AHAs help to improve the appearance of skin in two ways;  moisturizing and exfoliating.  AHAs function differently based upon the pH level of the formulation. When used as a moisturizer, the pH level is higher than 4.0. At this level, AHAs help to increase the water content of skin making it softer, smoother and more flexible.  

Alternatively as an exfoliant, the most effective pH level is 4.0. This is the level where AHAs begin to dissolve the glue-like bonds that hold dead cells to the surface. This stimulates cellular renewal and regeneration and allows newer, fresher cells to emerge. Products with a pH level of 3.5 or below can be too irritating and may leave skin feeling dry and tight.

We live and breathe AHAs everyday, but most people do not realize the importance of the pH level in skin care formulas. AHAs are extremely effective ingredients, and we feel it is important to know how they function in a product. Products like Alpha Skin Care put the percentage of AHA and the pH level on the box, we’re proud of our product formulation and stand by our years in supporting your skin care regiment. Be a savvy consumer. Next time you are shopping for skin care products, be sure to look at the pH level. It will help you to know what products are best for you.

For more information on Alpha Skin Care visit our website.

Top 10 Daily Skin Care Essentials

It can be a bit overwhelming with all the skin care rituals out there, some of which are not even needed. To make life easier, here are 10 daily skin care essentials to know about!

There is more to having beautiful healthy, glowing than just the skin care products you are using. A healthy lifestyle is essential. If you smoke, drink, get too much sun or eat a lot of processed food, creams and serums will not be enough to prevent the negative effects of an unhealthy lifestyle. You exercise to take care of your heart and never smoked to protect your lungs. Doesn’t your skin deserve the same care and concern? After all, it is the largest organ of the body.

Here are the Top 10 Daily Skin Care Essentials for healthy, younger-looking skin.

  1. Cleanse Gently.
    • Use a gentle cleanser twice a day to get rid of dirt, makeup and environmental impurities. Alpha Skin Care Refreshing Face Wash is free of soap, fragrances, parabens and its pH balanced. If skin is pH balanced it will not feel tight or dry after cleansing. Clean, pH balanced skin helps other skin care products work their best. They are easier to apply and are more fully absorbed.
  1. Exfoliate with AHAs.
    • Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs) gently exfoliate dead skin cells and allow healthier cells to come to the surface. AHAs are derived from natural fruit acids. They are gentle and can be used twice a day. Removing dead skin cells send a message to the skin that it needs to produce new cells. Alpha Skin Care Essential Renewal products feature Glycolic AHA and are formulated for every skin type.
  1. Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize!
    • As skin ages, it holds less moisture. Applying a topical moisturizer will help to replenish skin and promote cellular repair. Dry skin makes lines and wrinkles look deeper. Healthy, well-hydrated skin is softer and lessens the appearance of lines and wrinkles. Alpha Skin Care Essential Daily Moisturizer with hyaluronic acid locks in moisture and is formulated for all skin types.
  1. Wear Sunscreen every day!
    • A broad spectrum UVA/UVB sunscreen should be worn daily to protect your skin from sun exposure. Unprotected sun exposure can lead to wrinkles, dryness, discoloration, uneven skin tone, premature aging, and skin cancer. All of which are preventable, so Don’t Forget the Sunscreen.
  1. End Bad Habits!
    • If you smoke, stop and if you drink, drink less. Smoking accelerates the aging process. Smoking increases the appearance of wrinkles around the mouth and eyes. It also reduces levels of oxygen which is necessary for cellular renewal. Alcohol can cause dehydration making skin look dull and dry. It also causes inflammation which leads to redness and broken capillaries. Cheers to a New You.
  1. Eat healthy food. 
    • Good nutrition is essential for healthy, glowing skin. Foods rich in antioxidants like vitamin C, A, E and zinc help to protect the body from sun damage and help to build collagen. A balanced diet that includes Omega-3, beta-carotene and selenium support skin repair, improve elasticity and firmness. A body that is well nourished is strong and vibrant and that goes for skin as well. Top Healthy Food for Your Skin.
  1. Drink Water.
    • 64% of your skin is made up of water. Drinking enough water helps to hydrate skin from the inside. It helps to prevent dryness and flush away toxins. Well-hydrated skin reduces the appearance of lines and wrinkles, helps skin look full and plump and has fewer breakouts. Moisturize from the Inside Out.
  1. Exercise. 
    • Exercise promotes circulation which keeps skin healthy and vibrant. By increasing blood flow, exercise nourishes skin cells and keep them vital. Sweating helps cleanse your skin from the inside, getting rid of cellular debris and toxins. Exercise also eases stress which can help to improve skin conditions like acne and eczema. So take a brisk walk and your skin will thank you! Add outside article
  1. Reduce Stress.
    • Taking time to rest and relax is essential for healthy skin. Acne and other skin problems can become worse with high levels of stress. Stress also decreases skins ability to renew and regenerate.  Make time for a little ‘me time’ each day. You’ll feel better and your skin will look better, too. Add breathing podcast
  1. Get someZzz!
    • Getting enough sleep is very important for healthy skin. Your skin is actively involved in cellular repair while you sleep. Your skin makes new collagen which prevents sagging and increases blood flow which gives your skin a healthy glow. Plenty of rest also minimizes dark circles and puffy eyes. The key is to get enough sleep is 7 to 9 quality hours each night. Add Link to Sleep Study

There it is – 10 daily skin care essentials. If you commit to a simple skin care routine and a healthy lifestyle, you will have healthy, younger-looking skin.  Chances are, you are doing some of these already. Keep it up!  Building a healthier lifestyle takes time but the rewards will be worth it.

For more information about Alpha Skin Care products visit our website.

For more information on Alpha Skin Care visit our website.

AHAs – Nature’s Skin Care

What are Alpha Hydroxy Acids?

Alpha hydroxy acids are the corner-stone of Alpha Skin Care line of products. AHAs as they are commonly known, are naturally occurring acids derived from fruit, milk and nuts. Long ago, women took baths in sour milk to soften skin. Cleopatra was said to have used old wine on her face to keep her skin looking youthful, and again generations later with women in France being said to have washed their faces with old wine. In the more modern era, masks made with fruit and yogurt have been on shelves for a few decades. All of these are examples of alpha hydroxy acids being used to improve the look and feel of skin. Six primary sources of alpha hydroxy acids.

What do AHAs do?

Alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) make skin softer, smoother and younger-looking. They help to reduce the appearance of lines and wrinkle and even skin tone and texture.  AHAs improve the appearance of skin in two ways; as an exfoliant and as a moisturizer or humectant, both are essential to effective skin care.

AHAs exfoliate by gently loosening the glue-like bonds that hold dead skin cells to the surface of the skin. Exfoliation stimulates and accelerates cellular rejuvenation by tricking the skin into making new skin cells. Removing dead skin cells sends a message to the body that it needs to produce skin cells allowing newer, healthier cells to come to the surface. AHAs also help support collagen production making skin feel skin plump and firmer. Alpha hydroxy acids help skin look and feel fresh, renewed and glowing.

Getting rid of dead cells helps AHAs to also act as a humectant. Moisture penetrates the skin better and binds more moisture together for a longer period. Skin that is well hydrated and full of moisture is fuller, softer and more elastic. Lines and wrinkles are smoother and less noticeable.

In 1992, Alpha Skin Care (formerly known as Alpha Hydrox) was the first skin care manufacturer to make alpha hydroxy acid products available to all. 27 years later, millions of women have used our AHA products and now you know why as well. Alpha hydroxy acids are natural ingredients, readily available, safe to use and they really work. If you want softer, smoother, healthier, younger-looking skin, try Alpha Skin Care.

For more information on Alpha Skin Care visit our website.

Three Simple Steps to Glowing Skin

Toners, tonics and serums, oh my! Do you really need 8 steps in your skin care routine? Despite all the advertising and media hype, skin care can be very simple and doesn’t have to break the bank. There are only 3 simple steps needed to have healthy glowing skin; cleanse, treat, and protect.

Alpha Skin Care Refreshing Face Wash

A good cleanser is key and is the first step in a simple skin care routine. It provides the foundation for using other products. A good cleanser is gentle, soap-free, and should remove all dirt, oil, environmental pollutants, and make-up. After cleansing, skin should not be irritated, tight or dry, just fresh and clean. Alpha Skin Care Refreshing Face Wash is pH balanced and leaves skin soft and smooth. Plus, it’s only $8!

Alpha Skin Care Essential Renewal Lotion

Treatments are the second step in a simple skin care routine and are best when they include some type of exfoliation. Exfoliation means removing the top layer of dead cells from the skin’s surface. Exfoliation can be as simple as washing with a rough washcloth, to using a facial scrubs, or even dermabrasion. Products containing alpha hydroxy acids or AHAs are one of the best forms of exfoliation. AHAs gently remove the glue-like bonds that hold old skin cells to the surface of the skin, in turn signaling the body to produce new fresh cells. AHAs help to promote cellular regeneration bringing newer healthier cells to the surface. Skin looks and feels fresh, soft with more even tone and texture. AHAs can be used by all skin types and are typically a more effective exfoliant then most other methods of refining. The cost of exfoliation ranges widely and can easily be as low as a few dollars all the way up to a few hundred dollars. Alpha Skin Care treatment products offer some of the highest percentages of AHAs available and cost less than $20!

Alpha Skin Care Essential Facial Moisturizer

Hydrating and protecting your skin is the last step in a simple routine. If you use your skin care products at night, a moisturizer should be the last step in your routine, in the day follow only with a light sunscreen. Hydrating is in itself is protecting the skin, most of the time moisturizing simply keeps some discomfort at bay, but the cracks and fissures of dry skin can easily lead to inflammation, and in the worst cases even an infection. If you have normal to dry skin, a moisturizer will help your skin to look and feel healthier. Many believe that using a moisturizer is the only way to get softer, younger-looking skin. Moisturizers, however, do not affect change in your skin like AHAs. Alpha Skin Care Essential Facial Moisturizer, contains vitamins, is lightweight, features Hyularonic Acid, a moisture binding agent, and costs only $15!

As mentioned, if you use skin care products in the morning, use a good sunscreen to protect your skin from the sun. Sun damage causes many of the signs of aging like wrinkles, fine lines and dark spots. Even on cloudy days it’s best to wear a sunscreen with SPF15 or higher. There are lots of wonderful facial sunscreens available for a sub $20 price point.

So, do you need 8 steps in your skin care routine?  No, but listen to your skin, if it likes the way a toner, tonic or serum feels, go ahead and use it! Skin care is simple and can be very affordable, cleanse, treat and protect is all you really need. With Alpha Skin Care, just 3 products for less than $45 and you can have healthy, glowing younger-looking skin!

For more information on Alpha Skin Care visit our website.

Exfoliate the Right Way

At Alpha Skin Care, we know that winter can make caring for your skin extra tough.

No matter how many cleansers, moisturizers, and sunscreens you are using, if you are not exfoliating, your skin is not getting the most out of your skin care routine. Exfoliation is simply the removal of dead skin cells on the skin’s surface. Removing these cells in turn increases cell renewal and polishes the surface of your skin. Without regular exfoliation even the most beautiful skin will not show its true vibrancy.

Many people turn to harsh abrasive scrubs or loofahs to exfoliate their skin, but this can do more damage than good, especially in the winter months. It is possible to over-exfoliate, so scrubbing and rubbing already dry-irritated winter skin only causes more of the same. A gentler option that is perfect for every season is a light chemical exfoliant.

Alpha hydroxy acids or “AHAs” are one of our cornerstone ingredients at Alpha Skin Care. We offer multiple products with AHAs for every skin type – in gels, serums, creams, and lotions. Choosing an AHA product for exfoliation rather than a harsh scrub or loofah will be much more gentle on your skin, and even more effective.

Some of the benefits of AHA exfoliation include:

  • Increased Cell Renewal
  • Smoother, Softer, & Brighter Skin
  • Increased Collagen Formation & Skin Thickness
  • Treating Acne, Dry Skin, & Clogged Pores
  • Fewer Wrinkles & Lines
  • Treating Hyperpigmentation & Irregular Pigmentation
  • Increased Effectiveness with Other Skin Products

The older we get, the slower our bodies shed skin cells and generate new ones; consequently, exfoliation becomes increasingly important. Try an AHA exfoliant from Alpha Skin Care today! To ensure the most effective results be sure to follow the instructions on the package.

For more information on Alpha Skin Care visit our website.

Don’t Forget the Sunscreen

For most of us when we think of sunscreen, our first thoughts are likely of grabbing our swimsuit and towel to head out into the summer sun. Many may not even consider sunscreen on cold and cloudy days when the beach or pool is out of the picture, and especially during the winter months. Don’t be fooled by dropping temperatures or cloudy skies, sunscreen is an absolute necessity all year-round. The sun’s rays are just as strong and damaging in the winter and can get even stronger when reflecting UV radiation off of pale snow.

If you still need some more convincing, both the World Health Organization and the US. Department of Health and Human Services have identified ultralight radiation as a human carcinogen. It is a main cause of skin cancer for more than a million Americans each year. 95% of the UV rays that we are exposed to in our lifetimes are UVA rays and these UVA rays penetrate the skin deeply and increase the appearance of skin wrinkles and aging. Sun damage accumulates gradually over time and yields lasting consequences for your skin and health.

So pull out the sunscreen and lather up year round! Sunscreen is imperative when used in conjunction with your daily Alpha Skin Care routine. Adding a light SPF 15 or SPF 30 to be applied and reapplied daily, will help to make it a habitual part of your inside and outside days. UVA rays can penetrate through clouds and through glass in your car’s windows. Tempering your levels of sun with the shade, broad-brimmed hats, and UV-blocking sunglasses will keep your skin healthy in the long run.

It is never too late to start wearing sunscreen year-round. Start building the habit today!

For more information on Alpha Skin Care visit our website.

Amp Up Your Moisturizers

At Alpha Skin Care, we know that living with a dry skin type can be scratchy and uncomfortable. This is why it’s so important to get the most out of facial moisturizer. Although important year-round, it is especially critical to pay extra attention in the winter when the dry air makes dry skin even worse. When choosing a facial moisturizer, one of the most important ingredients to look for when choosing a facial moisturizer is Hyaluronic Acid.

baby-skin

Hyaluronic acid can hold up to 1,000 times its weight in water, making it extremely effective in helping skin retain moisture. Ever wonder why a baby’s skin is so soft, plump and dewy? Babies are born with high levels of hyaluronic acid in their skin.

How and when to apply a moisturizer is an important consideration in addition to knowing the best active ingredients. For best results, apply a moisturizer after using a toner or exfoliant when pores are open, clear and ready to receive maximum benefit from hydration. For those with exceptionally dry skin, use Alpha Skin Care Essential Facial Moisturizer with Hyaluronic Acid twice a day; morning and at night!

Alpha Skin Care formulates a full line of skin care products with naturally powerful ingredients that really work!

For more information on Alpha Skin Care visit our website.