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Archive for January 21st, 2010

As a consumer, I do have a habit of reading the labels or ingredients though, and even reading into a certain ingredient for my own knowledge. I have wanted to jot down as much as I could from what I learned. But so far I have not spent tremendous amount of time into this yet. So now I am starting out with some self-teaching. Actually I am brought back to college days when I studied chemistry.
On discovering the benefits of fruit/natural acids, I am going through the list of the beauty/natural acids
I read from an online article that cider vinegar can be used as a natural skin cleanser or toner. Cider vinegar is made from fruits containing tartaric or malic acid. I guess it is safe in the sense that I exfoliate my face with a lemon wedge, or wash face with grapefruit juice (avoid the eyes) , and still feel confident that nothing can go wrong.
1. Tartaric acid – from a source, it is found in grapes, apples, pears and tamarinds. But from another source (dermadoctor.com), this is actually a by-product of the fermentation process that takes place while making wine. Tartaric acid holds a unique position within the food industry, but has been showing up in several skin care Neova products line.
2. Malic acid – found in un-ripe apples and green grapes. Yummy, I always love granny apples. While it has no obvious benefits for skin treatments, it has been suggested it may help increase oxygen supply to the muscles for certain diseases such as fibromyalgia.
3. Citric acid – found in citrus fruits, acts as an antioxidant as well as helps stimulate collagen fiber production within the dermis. Lemons, oranges, and other citrus fruits contain high concentrations of citric acid. Its weak acidity helps bleaching unwanted skin discoloration that often accompanies the aging skin process. Exfoliation is not its main function and realistically should not be considered an exfoliator. One note: citric acid sometimes and somewhere is confused with Vitamin C.
4. Fumaric acid – what I found on food/drug labels when I am curious. Fumaric acid is used as a substitute for tartaric acid in beverages and baking powder. Fumaric acid is quite a handy “enhancer”. It is an acidifier, a flavoring agent, a life-extender of candies, gelatin, and beverages, a denture cleaning agent.
Want to double or maximize the volume of your egg-white foam? Add some fumaric acid.
5. Glycolic acid – interestingly, comes from sugar cane and can also be made synthetically. Glycolic acid works in a number of ways, primarily through its exfoliation properties. In addition, glycolic acid helps reduce the surface skin oils and can help remove blackheads and other skin impurities as well as smooth out fine wrinkle lines. Other benefits of glycolic acid include its moisturizing ability; the potential for it to help bleach unwanted skin discoloration; and its ability to help draw other skin treatments more deeply into the skin. Glycolic acid is also thought to help stimulate collagen production within the dermis to some degree. In fact, a recent study suggests that a glycolic/salicylic acid combination product may be more beneficial in acne treatment than 10% benzoyl peroxide. Glycolic acid at high concentration should be administered and used by a well-trained professional only.
Speaking of this, I can harvest some good sugar canes from my mom’s garden and experiment with “sugar cane exfoliator”.
6. Lactic acid – comes from sour milk. An ideal skin softener, lactic acid is frequently used by dermatologists to cut through thick, rough skin. Lactic acid works both as an exfoliator as well as helps hold water within the skin. Dermatologists originally used it as a skin rejuvenation AHA until studies showed that glycolic acid gave superior results for this use. Lactic acid may be combined with other AHAs to help boost product effectiveness.
7. Ascorbic acid – essentially Vitamin C – a sugar acid having antioxidant properties. Found mainly in berry and citrus fruits, and vegetable, plants, animals, and single-cell organisms, so all living animals make it, lack of it, remake it, or die from it. While ascorbic acid is a vital food nutrient for humans (and therefore termed a vitamin), it is a natural liver metabolite in most other animals. The body helps produce collagen which helps to maintain healthy teeth, bones, gums, cartilage, vertebrae discs, joint linings, skin and blood vessels.
AHA (alpha hydroxy acid) is a blanket term for a variety of fruit acids such as Glycolic, Citric, Lactic, Malic and Tartaric.
Whereas, BHA (beta hydroxy acid) is essentially salicylic acid derived from the bark of the willow tree. Why is it a better acne curing acid?
Beta Hydroxy Acids have a larger molecular structure than their cousin, Alpha Hydroxy Acids. The larger molecule size keeps the Beta Hydroxy Acid on the surface of the skin, allowing it to more effectively penetrate and exfoliate within the pore. It works by causing the cells of the epidermis to slough off more rapidly, preventing pores from clogging up, and allowing room for new cell growth.
8. Salicylic acid – also referred to by some sources as aspirin. But there is a lot more than just aspirin. It is a plant hormone. how? Let’s go back to my chemistry days. To make a few Aspirin tablets, we had Salicylic acid ( in powder form) reacted with Acetic Acid. This reaction was called the “hydrolysis”.
There is a strong connection to a number of health risks including death, from the use of processed products containing salicylic acid. Reye’s Syndrome is one that can kill a person or leave them disabled for the rest of their life. If you are aspirin-sentive, do not use these products. Asthma attacks is another risk. Salicylic acid can cause birth defects when given orally in doses about six times higher than the highest dose recommended for topical use in humans.
Again, acids at high concentration should be used by a well-trained professional only.

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