Dr Oz devoted three parts of his show to bring up and discuss one of the most common concerns of skin aging – wrinkles. Most of us have been trying out a variety of skin care products to smooth out those circles around our eyes for long, however, Dr Oz mentions alpha-hydroxy acids as the most effective. Dr Jeannette Graph, MD and dermatologist was a guest on the show. She explains why among many other treatments, alpha-hydroxy acids are the most effective and are making a come back in a big way. These are naturally occurring organic acids found mostly in fruits and milk and they are very effective in clearing out the dead cells that we accumulate on our skin as we age. These are weak acids and by removing the dead skin layer, they help accelerate the natural process of skin renewal thereby smoothing out wrinkles.
Cleopatra’s Milk Bath and Alpha-hydroxy Acids
Dr Graph also added that the benefits are more for skin that is more aged and has accumulated more dead cells over time. So, now we know Cleopatra’s milk bath was a simple case of skin exfoliation using alpha-hydroxy acids present in milk. That said, why was it that people stopped using it even when it has such beneficial effects? This was the question crossing many of the viewers’ minds at that moment and Dr Oz raised the same issue. One of the volunteers on the show pointed out why she quit using alpha-hydroxy acids mostly because of the dryness and redness she experienced.
The answer to that question came from Dr Graph who explained that the reason was not the alpha-hydroxy acids, but the formulations that were marketed initially. However, recent research on these acids have led the skin care companies to develop improved products tolerated by a wide variety of skin types and also can be used on different parts of the body. Dr Oz showed a nice animation of how the deposition of dead cells on our skin make the skin look rough and dull. Alpha-hydroxy acids, when used, not only form a coating on that layer, but also penetrate deep inside the skin changing the environment of the dead skin layer thereby causing them to slough off the surface. This creates more room for the young and newer skin cells from beneath to move up and take the place of the old cells making the skin look radiant and younger.
Alpha-hydroxy Acids For Healthier Looking Skin
At this point in the third part of the show Dr Oz introduces us to Julie who was a guest on the show and describes through a video her lengthy anti-aging skin care regime. it is a multi-step process that involves seven to nine steps every night. One has to wonder, why so many steps? Moreover, she has been doing this every night for twenty years! Dr Graph said, use of alpha-hydroxy acids can cut out at least three of those steps. When it comes to exfoliation, Alpha-hydroxy acids are superior to any physical abrasion, since these acids chemically interact with the skin and causes it to exfoliate as opposed to physical abrasives that require manual scrubbing or brushing. These procedures may either end up being too abrasive or not enough to exfoliate completely.
Dr Oz describes, using a covered flower garden, how most of the products we use on our skin do not even reach the lower layers of skin due to the presence of the dead skin layer on top thereby depriving our skin of vital nutrients. Alpha-hydroxy acids, by clearing up the dead skin layer, exposes the new skin cells to the vital nutrients and potions we apply to our skin. This is the reason why exfoliation is extremely important to achieve a healthier looking skin. At this point it would be important to know which of the acids available on the market are alpha-hydroxy and which are not. For example, a lot of skin care products contain salicylic acid which is not to be mistaken as a alpha-hydroxy acid. On the other hand, Glycolic acid and lactic acid are indeed alpha-hydroxy acids. Dr Oz promised to come back with more detailed information on this on his next show.