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.

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.