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What Is Exfoliation?
Exfoliation is the removal of dead, superficial cells on the outermost surface of the skin. With age, the cell turnaround time slows down. It has been proven scientifically that exfoliation by means of fruit acid treatments stimulates cell turnaround time by stimulating the basal layer to produce new cells to replace the lost ones.
Why Is Exfoliation Important?
As we age, cell shedding slows down and the intracellular glue becomes more stubborn, causing a build-up of dead skin cells. Exposure to the sun, as well as hormonal influences (menopause) can affect this process negatively leading to thickened, dull skin. When the sloughing off of dead cells is slowed, the cellular renewal is also slowed down.
What Are Hydroxy Acids?
Hydroxy acids represent a class of compounds which have been widely used in a number of cosmetic and therapeutic formulations in order to achieve a variety of beneficial effects for the skin. Hydroxy Acids are low molecular weight ‘organic’ acids. In chemistry this term is used when a chemical compound contains a carboxylic acid group. The carboxylic group is made up of a carbon atom linked to two oxygen atoms and one hydrogen atom. Organic acids are far milder than mineral acids. There are two main groups of hydroxyl acids used in skin care, namely Alpha Hydroxy Acids and Beta Hydroxy Acids. All of the acids contain a carbon chain of atoms.
Alpha And Beta Hydroxy Acids
The very first carbon atom in the chain is called the Alpha carbon. If the hydroxyl grouping is attached to the first carbon, the resultant molecule will be termed an Alpha Hydroxy(l) Acid. When the hydroxyl group is positioned on the second (beta) carbon atom, the resultant molecule will be called a Beta Hydroxy Acid.
* Interesting fact: BHA exfoliates from the outside to the inside, AHA’s exfoliate from the inside to the outside.
Types and Origin of Alpha Hydroxy Acids
Much research has been done since alpha hydroxyl acids became popular in America in the 1980’s. This research shows that the basic activity of all hydroxyl acids are very similar, yet it is clear that Lactic acid presents certin advantages over the other AHA’s. AHA’s are also known as fruit acids, although Lactic acid and Glycolic acid are strictly speaking not fruit acids.
- Lactic Acid – a natural acid found in fermented milk. It is regarded as one of the safest hydroxy acids, and has well-documented penetrative abilities, as well as being known for the ability to help flush excess pigment in the skin.
- Glycolic Acid – a hydroxy acid that occurs naturally in sugar cane. It is known to stimulate fibroblast activity (responsible for collagen production in the skin) and has been shown to increase cell turn-around time. It has the smallest molecule and therefore penetrates the skin more quickly.
- Citric Acid – occurs naturally in citrus fruit and complements the effects of the other fruit acids. It is seldom used on its own in skin care products.
- Malic Acid – naturally occurring in apples. It is a weak acid and is seldom used on its own in AHA products, but compliments the effect of other fruits when used in combination.
- Tartaric Acid – naturally found in grapes. It is even weaker in nature than Malic acid and is notoriously unstable in cosmetic formulations.
* Vitaderm makes use of an imported blend of naturally occurring Alpha Hydroxy Acids – derived from citrus fruit and blue berries. Lactic acid is incorporated into certain of the peel treatments for an intensified effect.
Therapeutic effects of Alpha Hydroxy Acids
- AHA’s has the ability to promote natural desquamation (peeling)
- Increase the cell-turnaround time
- Increase peripheral (outer)l circulation, improving the colour of the complexion
- Reduce the tendency to develop blocked pores
- Brightens the skin and distribute melanin granules more evenly
- Prevent trans-epidermal water loss
- Increase skin barrier function
- AHA’s exhibit an anti-oxidant effect in the skin
Types and Origin of Beta Hydroxy Acids
Salicylic Acid is a form of a Beta Hydroxy Acid, and is the only BHA that is commonly used in skin care treatments. Salicylic Acid was discovered many decades ago in the bark of the Willow tree. It was first found to have analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties. It quickly gained popularity and has remained popular through the years.
Therapeutic effects of Beta Hydroxy Acids
- Salicylic Acid has the ability to penetrate the pilo-sebaceous unit
- Strong anti-inflammatory effect on the skin
- The keratolytic effect actively prevents comedone formation
- Brightening effect on the complexion
Skin Peel Treatments
When deciding to have a Fruit Acid Peel, it is advisable to always begin with the mildest treatment so that your skin can adapt to the new treatment. It is absolutely essential to be using Vitaderm’s general home care products before having an AHA (Fruit Acid) Peel.
* Vitaderm suggests that the first treatment should be the Fruit Acid 20% Peel – either as a stand-alone mini treatment, or before your usual skin care treatment.
Fruit Acid Peel 20%
This blend of naturally-occurring fruit acids is highly effective as a skin boosting treatment. Ideally this treatment is performed a few days prior to the client’s usual facial treatment. It is also recommended as a course of 3-6 treatments during winter to increase cellular turn over and boost the skin’s radiance. The concentration of fruit acids (AHA’s) is 20% and the pH is 3.4
Fruit Acid Peel 50%
This blend of naturally-occurring fruit acids is highly effective as an intensive exfoliation and skin boosting treatment. Not as much a pampering treatment, but rather a mini treatment. Recommended as a course of 3-6 treatments during winter. The concentration of fruit acids (AHA’s) is 50% and the pH is 3.2
Lactic Acid Peel 30%
Lactic acid is a naturally-occurring acid that has the ability to revitalise the complexion. Similar in principle to the Fruit Acid Peel, though more intensive, it is intended as a booster treatment. Ideally, this peel is performed as a course of 3 or 6 treatments during the winter months to help renew and revitalise the skin. The AHA concentration of this peel is 30% and the pH is 3.0
Hydroxy Acid Peel 30%
This peel contains a blend of Alpha Hydroxy Acids as well as Beta-Hydroxy Acid, making it ideal for all skin types, including oily/acne prone. This peel may be performed as a course of 3-6 treatments during autumn/winter to increase cellular turn-around time and boost radiance. However, a single treatment with home care may be sufficient to restore radiance to the skin. The concentration of Hydroxy Acids is 30% and pH is 3.2.
Salicylic Exfoliant Treatment
This exfoliation system offers effective removal of keratinised cells, as well as an emollient after-feel. This treatment is suitable for all skin types, except sensitive. It is highly recommended for teenagers and men who suffer from oily, congested skin. However, it is equally effective for environmentally damaged skin where an intensive exfoliation is required. This treatment should be performed as a course of 3-6 peeling sessions. This treatment can not be performed on clients who are allergic to aspirin.