COSMECEUTICALS – Dissecting the Facts

“THE GOOD, BAD and MEDIOCRE ” Today’s Facts :

Alpha Hydroxy acids (AHAs) – Advanced facts:


Stiller et al 1] – Level of evidence IA. A double-blind vehicle-controlled clinical trial

• 74 women over 22 weeks

• ameliorating some of the signs of chronic cutaneous photodamage”


Tsai et al 2] – Comprehensive review of Literature

• Long-term use of Glycolic Acid improve skin texture and

• Youthful appearance – AHA’s induce glycosaminoglycan and collagen synthesis in the dermis leading to improved dermal hydration and thickness”

• AHAs act as exfoliators – detaching keratinocytes from the stratum-corneum = smoother skin. 

• Stimulate fibroblasts = increased collagen production.

• Increased turnover of keratinocytes improves dyspigmentation

• Keratinolytic activity of AHAs improves penetration of other agents such as hydroquinone and Tretinoin. (always add AHA combination with HQ and Tret)

• Glycolic acid also has anti-inflammatory properties and does not induce angiogenesis hence it can be used if patients have photo-induced telangiectasia or rosacea.


1] Stiller, M.J., Bartolone, J., Stern, R., Smith, S., Kollias, N., Gillies, R. et al. 1996. Topical 8% glycolic acid and 8% L-lactic acid creams for the treatment of photodamaged skin. A double-blind vehiclecontrolled clinical trial. Arch. Dermatol., 132(6):631–6.


2] Tsai, T. & Hantash, B., 2008. Cosmeceutical Agents: A Comprehensive Review of the Literature. Clinical Medicine: Dermatology, Volume 1, pp. 1-20.