Alpha Hydroxy Skin Care and Acne
Teenagers and young adults almost always get acne at some point; the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) says pimples plague up to 85 percent of this group. The AAD recommends benzoyl peroxide as the first line of treatment for acne, but alpha hydroxy skin care products also can play a role in preventing pimples from forming and in helping to clear skin.
In overly oily skin, a combination of the excess oil (called sebum) produced by the skin's glands plus dead skin cells can clog pores. This leads to pimple outbreaks and potentially to even inflammation. Alpha hydroxy acid skin products actually work to peel off the top layer of the skin, getting rid of those dead skin cells and working to loosen the material clogging the pores.
Alpha hydroxy skin care products that contain alpha hydroxy acid concentrations of up to 10 percent can be purchased over the counter. They include cleansers, foundations and even sunscreens. Products such as foundations and sunscreens generally are more effective than alpha hydroxy cleansers, because the alpha hydroxy acid needs to stay on the skin to do its job, according to the acne advocacy site Acne.org.
When used properly, alpha hydroxy skin care products exfoliate the skin, which keeps pores clear and prevents pimples from forming. Acne.org advises acne sufferers to use an alpha hydroxy product on the suspect spot at the first sign of a breakout, which potentially can stop the breakout in its tracks. As a bonus, alpha hydroxy acid skin care products can also get rid of flaky skin and diminish fine lines and age spots.
There's no instant cure for acne, the AAD warns; like all over-the-counter acne products, alpha hydroxy skin care products will take some time to work. In addition, to be effective, the product must target the true cause of acne. Since alpha hydroxy skin care products target clogged pores, if this is a main cause of your acne, these products will work well for you. If your acne stems from another root cause, such as a bacterial infection, these products won't cure your acne.
The AAD warns that irritation can result when patients use any powerful over-the-counter acne or skin care product, including those that contain alpha hydroxy acid in high concentrations. If skin redness or excessive peeling occurs, the AAD recommends backing off treatment for a few days until the irritation resolves. In addition, alpha hydroxy acid skin care products make your skin extra-sensitive to the sun, so limit sun exposure and use a good sunscreen when using these products.
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