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.

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.