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.