Wednesday, 6 March 2019

Skincare ingredients demystified: Alpha Lipoic Acid - what is it and if you need it in your skincare routine

I'm starting a new series on my blog where I will talk in more details about single skincare ingredient which might be popular in skincare products or less known but worth giving it a closer look either way. While working at a beauty counter in a store I have realised that not everyone knows a lot about skincare ingredients and what they should look for in products they buy to benefit their skin in the best way. So what for us, beauty enthusiasts. might be clear and obvious, it doesn't have to be to others. I hope to make my readers more curious and knowledgeable about skincare ingredients. I am not by any means an expert in skincare, but I have a degree in chemistry and I like to do my research when it comes to different ingredients, so together with my personal experience I might be able to share with you some key info. I will also let you know which product/s containing that ingredient I am currently using and how they work for me. Feel free to add comments, information regarding the ingredients I talk about in the comments section because I certainly don't know everything :)
 
I'm starting today with Alpha Lipoic Acid which was actually the reason behind the idea of this new blog series as it was something very new to me and I needed to do quite a bit of reading to get to know this ingredient.

The Ordinary Alpha Lipoic Acid

Alpha Lipoic Acid - what is it and what does it do?
 
Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA), also known as Thioctic Acid, is naturally found in our body as part of an enzyme system that helps energy production, unfortunately as we age the cellular metabolism decreases meaning the cells don't act as cells of a young person would. By applying ALA topically to the skin we can help to help increase energy for proper cellular metabolism, which is needed for healthy cells renewal.
ALA is a powerful anti-oxidant, supposedly 400 times stronger then Vitamin E and C combined, it neutralises free radicals which cause damage to our cells, it's both fat- and water-soluble, meaning that it’s easily absorbed through the lipid layers of our skin and works well as a free-radical fighter at a deeper cellular level.
ALA boosts skin cells renewal process (natural exfoliation) so the skin looks healthier, glowing and its texture is improved. It also has mild anti-inflammatory properties, which may provide some benefits to those who suffer from acne and help reverse long-term damage caused by sun exposure.
 
The Ordinary Alpha Lipoic Acid
 
My experience and product recommendations
 
I first came across Alpha Lipoic Acid in skincare range by Dr Perricone couple of years ago but haven't used it consistently to see real benefits. At the end of last year I was browsing some skincare online, as you do, and came across the Alpha Lipoic Acid 5% by The Ordinary and seeing how affordable it is I decided to give it a go. It's been 5 months since I introduced it into my skincare routine and I have to say that the results are definitely speaking for its effectiveness. I use it at night and next morning my skin is just so much more glowing, over the time I've noticed my skin is brighter and healthier looking with the tone more even.
The formulation by The Ordinary uses an exceptionally high 5% concentration of high-purity Alpha Lipoic Acid which means that you need to follow the usage instruction to the letter. I once (quite recently actually) ended up with irritated, red, almost burnt-like skin because I used far too much product on my skin after acid peel treatment just the night before (any exfoliation, especially deeper one which uses acids can leave your skin a bit more sensitive so alternate your intensive treatments), it took a good week for my skin to recover. But that was only one case during me using the ALA for almost 5 months, twice a week. Because this particular product is very concentrated you only need couple of drops pressed all over your face. You will feel a slight tingling sensation upon application which dissipates within couple of minutes.
The texture of the Ordinary Alpha Lipoic Acid is very watery but it feels slightly 'oily', it has a very faint 'acid' smell. It takes a few minutes for the product to be completely absorbed so I usually leave it on the skin for about 5 minutes and then follow with facial oil or moisturiser.
 
For those of you only starting your journey with ALA it would be probably better if you mix a drop or two of it with your facial oil or moisturiser for the first few times, until your skin get accustomed to it. This is only if you use pure, high concentrated formulation, like The Ordinary one. There are other products containing ALA, Perricone MD range for example, which are suitable for daily use.
 
If you want a healthier looking, glowing complexion, are already in your 30s or older, want to protect your skin from the free radical damage, then it might be good to add Alpha Lipoic Acid to your skincare routine.
 
Do you know this skincare ingredient? Have you used it in your skincare products?
 
 
Dagmara

 
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