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.

Moisturize From The Inside Out!

Drinking water is an easy, inexpensive way to keep your skin healthy and hydrated. Topical moisturizers are important but they do not provide enough hydration to keep your skin moist and supple. Skin is an organ and just like any other part of the body, your skin is made up of cells. The cells of the human body are mostly water. At the height a newborn baby’s cells may be as much as 75% water! With age, the amount of water in the human body decreases but water is still the primary content in the cells of the human body. Without it our organs, and that includes skin, will not function at their best.

When skin is not adequately hydrated it loses thickness, can become more sensitive and offers less body protection. Dry skin feels tight and your skin tone may look flaky and dull. The drier your skin, the less resilient and more prone to wrinkling it becomes. Chronic dehydration can age your skin very quickly and can make fine lines and wrinkles more noticeable. Proper hydration is an important part of keeping skin firm and supple. Drinking plenty of water helps to reduce the signs of aging and keeps skin soft and elastic.

Water also helps the body to utilize essential nutrients, eliminate toxins and maintain a healthy pH balance. Anything that makes you sweat, like exercise or just being out in the sun, causes fluid loss. Dehydration can also occur when you are sick. All these may mean you need to increase your water intake. Although delicious, coffee and alcohol do not count as fluids since they act as diuretics and actually reduce your body’s hydration. Water aids the natural repair process, helping the body to heal faster when damaged. In the case of severe sunburn, be sure to drink a lot of water!

So how much water is enough to keep your body and skin looking and feeling its best? It may be more than you might think. Its recommended that women should drink at least nine cups of plain water every day and men should drink 13. An important side note, no matter how much water you drink, your other organs will get the water they need first, not your skin, and we are all different, so use guidelines as that, just a guide listen to your body first and foremost!

To have beautiful, healthy skin, try moisturizing from the inside out!  We all know that beauty is more than skin deep.  It’s what’s on the inside that counts and in this case, that means a lot of water and a well-hydrated body.  It’s easy, inexpensive and you can start today!  Let’s drink (a glass of water) to your health!

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.

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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.

Avoid Long Showers and Hot Baths

One of the best ways to combat winter dry skin is to avoid taking long hot showers or baths. In the winter it may be tempting after being out in the cold, but although lovely in the moment, it will make dry winter skin worse. Although seeming counter-intuitive, the longer and hotter the exposure to water, the more natural moisture your skin will lose.

Why? Well, the outermost layer of our skin contains oils and skin cells that help retain moisture. The combination of hot water and soap strips away your skin’s natural oil barrier that provides protection against dryness.

When you step out of a hot shower or bath, you’ve probably noticed that your skin is often red, itchy, and maybe even tight. These are all indications that your skin is drying. Additionally, in many parts of the country, the air is also very dry in the winter compounding these concerns.

So, what can you do about winter dry skin? Start by keeping water temperature lukewarm and showers less than ten minutes long. Consider turning down the temperature on your water heater, this will prevent water from being too hot and, a bonus, you will reduce your winter energy costs! Just slightly adjusting the thermostat will be easier on your skin, your wallet, and the environment. The same benefits from taking shorter showers and bathes.

To treat winter dryness, apply a good moisturizer immediately after bathing. It will help your skin to be soft and supple while locking in moisture. At Alpha Skin Care, we formulate products with naturally powerful ingredients that really work to care for your skin. We recommend using our Renewal Body Lotion after a bath or shower to relieve dryness. The thick rich formula will leave your skin feeling soft and smooth. 

Formulated with 12% Glycolic AHA, it releases dead skin cells, promotes cellular renewal, and even supports collagen production which results in healthy, well-hydrated skin. Alpha Skin Care wants to help you to have healthy, radiant skin from head to toe!

So seasons change and the weather cools again, remember shorter, cooler showers and baths followed with a great moisturizer like Renewal Body Lotion is the best way to care for winter dry skin.

For more information on Alpha Skin Care visit our website.

Happy New You!

Is taking better care of your skin on your list of New You Resolutions? What would that even mean?  Does it mean washing your face before bed? Possibly just wearing sunscreen every day? Or does it mean committing to a daily skin care routine? Taking better care of your skin is likely not just one thing. Like a healthy diet, it means doing a lot of little things that add up to healthier, fresher, younger-looking skin.

So let’s try a different approach to taking better care of your skin this year. Instead of taking on the entire year together, why not focus on one resolution each month? It is easier than trying to change every aspect of life at one time.  Here are some suggestions for making changes to your skin care routine in 2021!

In January – Take off your make-up at the end of the day and wash your face. Make-up traps skin oils, dirt, and environmental pollutants to cause acne and dull skin. It’s only January, let’s start small.

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In February – Moisturize after washing your face and body.  Hot water can strip skin of natural oils leaving it dry and tight. Replace lost moisture with a lightweight lotion even if you have oily skin.

In March – Start wearing sunscreen every day.  It is easy and it is the best way to reduce and prevent signs of premature aging, and time to get in the habit before summer.

In April – Shower after exercise! Trying to squeeze in a work out at lunch? Sweating is good. It helps get rid of toxins, but don’t let those toxins just sits on your skin too long. It will lead to acne and blemishes.

In May – Exfoliate regularly. We recommend using AHAs to gently exfoliate skin but you can use a gentle scrub as well. Be sure to exfoliate all parts of your body for soft, glowing skin from head to toe.

In June – Clean make-up brushes regularly. Brushes hold skin oils and become a breeding ground for bacteria. Wash them at least once a month with lukewarm water and a mild cleanser. Our Refreshing Face Wash works great on brushes!

In July – Take care of your hands.  Hands often take a beating and can give away your age. Give them a little extra TLC every day.  Use a SPF on your hands during the day and rich lotion on them at night.

In August – Start a basic skin care routine that includes a Glycolic AHA (alpha hydroxy acid). Stick to a program for at least 6 weeks.  That’s how long it takes to see a reduction in fine lines and wrinkles. Patience and diligence will pay off with a skin care routine.

In September – Schedule an annual skin check-up.  Follow up by doing a monthly self-exam as well.  Never let unusual moles, bumps or rashes go to long without seeing a dermatologist.

In October – Keep your hands off your face!  The germs and bacteria on your hands wind up on your face causing acne and irritation. And clean that cell phone with anti-bacterial wipes for the same reason.

In November – We’re in the home stretch of the year! Keep your momentum in November. Take care of your lips!  Use moisturizers and lip balms that have an SPF. Lips are the thinnest skin on the body and are more susceptible to sun damage than any other part of you.

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In December – Holiday season, time to celebrate! Be aware, however, of alcohol consumption. Alcohol leaves you dehydrated causing dryness, bloating and redness. It also makes some skin conditions worse, like rosacea and broken capillaries. Just be aware and moderate when celebrating at the end the year.

At the end of 2021, your skin will look better and feel better than it has in years. By focusing on just one small change each month you can develop skin care habits that will last a lifetime. Just like a healthy diet, these changes are lifestyle changes that can help you to be healthier, younger-looking and truly comfortable in your own skin.  Best wishes to a Happy New You!

For more information on Alpha Skin Care visit our website.