If you listen to mainstream media and advertising then you’ve probably heard that Retinoids and Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHA’s) are the gold standard in Anti-Ageing ingredients. But are they really necessary? And can they make you look older?
The short answer is yes – they can make you look older. That is because when they’re overused they can cause redness, irritation, dehydration and thinning of your skin. All of which is make your skin look older than it is. It is also very easy to overuse them. If you use AHA cleanser, a glycolic acid serum and a retinoid cream then you are probably overdoing it.
What is a Retinoid?
Retinoids are vitamin A derivatives which unclog pores, smooth wrinkles, reduce pigmentation and boost collagen. They are brilliant at sloughing away dead skin cells and were originally used as a prescription treatment for acne. Full strength retinoids using retinoic acid are a prescription product which can be prescribed by a dermatologist. Over the counter products usually use retinols which are another weaker version that your body converts to retinoic acid.
What is an Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA)?
AHA’s are naturally occurring acids that are used to exfoliate away dead skin cells improving the appearance of your skin. They help to fade scars, treat pimples, reverse sun damage and smooth lines and wrinkles.
They can also increase the thickness of the deeper layers which will tone and firm the skin.
Common AHA’s are glycolic acid (sugar), lactic acid (dairy), malic acid (apples) and citric acid (citrus fruit).
Why Hasn’t Happy Skincare Jumped The Retinoid and AHA Train?
We stay well away from retinoids because there are some toxicity concerns about Retinoic acid and retinol.
Retinoic acid is a possible human developmental toxicant and Retinol is a known reproductive toxicant (that is why pregnant women should not use Retinol).
Instead of retinoids for anti-ageing we give mature skin a bit of extra gentle love. We use botanical extracts and oils high in Vitamin C (such as Kakadu Plum and Seabuckthorn Berry) along with MSM to help collagen hang around a little bit longer. Vitamin C and MSM work together making each other more effective and easier for the body to use.
We do use AHA’s but we use them in their natural state.
Instead of using the AHA as a stand-alone ingredient such as citric acid or glycolic acid we use natural fruit extracts. The Tickled Pink Perfecting Tonic uses fermented papaya and Black Willow Bark while the Raindrops on Roses Hydrating Tonic uses Pomegranate and Kakadu Plum. This is a much gentler way to use AHA’s and suitable for daily use.
We also recommend using our Pig In Mud Mineral Mask with natural greek yoghurt for its natural lactic acid content.
The only real concern with AHAs is that they can aggravate the skin. This can happen if the concentration is too high, you use AHA on broken skin, or you have very sensitive skin. And you want to stay clear of any irritation because that is the quickest way to look older.
Hopefully this has helped you on your journey of making wise skincare choices. There’s so much misinformation out there!