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What is it?

Polyhydroxy acids, closely related to AHAs, are mostly preferred owing to their ability of breaking down the dead skin cells with limited irritation. They are as such ideal for people having ultra-sensitive skin. Just like any other acids, Polyhydroxy Acids, through regular chemical exfoliation may aid in the brightening up of the face as well as evening out the texture. Polyhydroxy acids as well aid the other skincare based products in the penetration of the skin in a more efficient manner. Acids tend to be liquid gold if one is able to tolerate them and is as such the reason for polyhydroxy acids being awesome (Lu et al., 2021). Their strongest selling point is with regard to the fact they tend to have relatively lower irritation risk despite still being effectively being able to exfoliate the most superficial skin layers.

Some studies propose that polyhydroxy acids are nearly as effective as the other available hydroxyl acids. A study conducted in 2004 established that polyhydroxy acids gluconolactone aided in the prevention of risks of sunburn, sun sensitivity as well as sun damage. The scholars as well conducted tests of polyhydroxy acids on people in which they noted that the ingredient did not result in a rise in the risk of sunburn. A deduction could be made from this study that polyhydroxy acids are a better option in comparison with the other available hydroxyl acids especially among people having sensitive skin (Rusciano et al., 2018). Polyhydroxy acids are available in toners, cleaners, moisturizers, masks as well as pads. Polyhydroxy acids pads are preferred as they offer the right dosage within a clean as well as sterile delivery system.

A polyhydroxy acid defines a gentle chemical exfoliate with the most commonly used types including galactosen, gluconolactone and lactobionic acid. Polyhydroxy acids are classified in the AHA family and tend to be relatively larger in size in comparison with the more commonly used AHAs among them lactic acids as well as glycolic acids. Polyhydroxy acids are not able to penetrate as much deeply into the skin owing to their large structure. Instead they work mainly on the skin layer outer surface. They are less sensitizing and gentler in comparison with the other existing chemical exfoliates (McKee et al., 2018). Polyhydroxy acids find their applications on the skin owing to their benefits ranging from moisturizing, exfoliating, anti-aging as well as skin smoothing. Still, it is noted that polyhydroxy acids might be one of the ideal alternatives especially in patients having sensitive skin among them those with eczema and rosacea and are unable to use BHAs and AHAs.

  • Galactose: Works by exfoliating the skin gently
  • Gluconolactone: Works by exfoliating the skin besides dehydrating it as well as providing certain antioxidant benefits.
  • Lactobionic acid: Works as humectant as well as exfoliator and as such aiding the skin in the retention of moisture.

Types of Polyhydroxy Acids

Polyhydroxy acids have been noted to be linked with the benefit of gentle exfoliation. They equally tend to be more hydrating in comparison with most of the other chemical exfoliates hence are classified as safe for the skin which is already on the drier side. Still, polyhydroxy acids are used in the eradication of post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation besides have the potential of lifting superficial pigmentation upon breakout clears.

Anyone can use polyhydroxy acids even though it is most beneficial to those with sensitive skin as they are not likely to suffer irritation (Christodoulou et al., 2019). They as well have dehydrating quality hence besides exfoliating they will aid in hydration which is often essential with sensitive skin. Polyhydroxy acids are as well adequately gentle to be adopted during pregnancy besides being perfect for skin prone to acne since they aid in even out texture as well as tone. Among the benefits of polyhydroxy acid include:

  • Non-irritant: This allows people with sensitive skins to apply polyhydroxy acid with very low to no stinging or even irritation
  • Flight glycation: polyhydroxy acid are able to resist glycation which is a process in which elastin and collagen in the skin are weakened (McKee et al., 2018)
  • Keeping skin hydration: polyhydroxy acids are known to be humectants i.e. able to retain the reserves of moisture for a long time and hence contributing to the shiniest complexions.
  • Anti-flammatory

The working of polyhydroxy acids is through exfoliation of dead cells on the skin surface leading to a skin with more even tone and texture. It as well aids the skin-care ingredients penetration into the skin deeper layers and as such boosting their efficiency. Polyhydroxy acids are often applied in a ton of the intended products in relatively diverse approaches. They are ideally used in products meant to be used on the skin surface for a prolonged period to offer theme with adequate time for loosening the bonds that exist between the skin cells and outermost epidermis (Tsuji et al., 2018). They may be integrated into a type of product be it a moisturizer, liquid exfoliant, mask or even toner. polyhydroxy acids are at times included as am additional exfoliating factor to a given non-exfoliating product for washing of the dead cells and the product features to be noted.

Polyhydroxy acids are known to be the most versatile in the acids family meaning they may be combined with numerous other treatments. As such polyhydroxy acids may be combined with other dermatologic methods or ingredients in the provision of extra benefits to therapy. Still, polyhydroxy acids may be combined with retinoid during the treatment of acne or even photo aging (Wang et al., 2020). Polyhydroxy acids may as well be used together with hydroquinone for improvement of aging and skin pigmentation. Polyhydroxy acids is usable upon various cosmetic procedures for instance microdermabrasion as well as laser even though this process needed to be undertaken upon consultation with the dermatologist.

What Polyhydroxy Acids are used for?

There are currently no specific guidelines when it comes to what can be mixed with polyhydroxy acids and as such a consultation with a dermatologist is the best approach when one intends to mix with either active ingredients. The most oily and acne-prone types of skins have the potential of tolerating triple polyhydroxy acids threats with limited irritations even though combination of polyhydroxy acids with other actives among them retinoid has the ability to enhance the risk of irritation.

Polyhydroxy acids works well with other active ingredients. Polyhydroxy acids may conveniently be integrated into a routine which is already inclusive of products that contain vitamin C or even retinol. This should however be done to a progressive manner ensuring there is no irritation. A serum for instance Herbivore’s Bakuchiol can be tried, which tends to be a gentle retinol alternative whose formulation has been done with polyhydroxy acids.

With regard to how they are supposed to be used, polyhydroxy acids, despite being gentler in comparison with most of the other chemical exfoliants, still there is a need of easing slowly into the skincare procedures to prevent any chances of irritation (Lee, Kim & Kim, 2021). This is mostly true for the case where one is susceptible to eczema, rosacea or even keratosis pilaris.

The side effects of polyhydroxy acids are quit minimal and are in most cases properly tolerated. A slight level of irritation is expected when using an acid for the first time. Dominant irritation in the manner of enhanced as well as persistent peeling, redness and may be some itches ought to be indicators of the products being too reactive or need to be applied on fewer occasions (Ginjupalli et al., 2017)). As such, as a precautionary measure, one needs to check for any signs on the skin carefully that show the need for one to scale back on use and thereafter take the necessary measures.

Polyhydroxy acids occur naturally in fruit juices and honey. It is also found in wine got through fermentation of glucose. Besides being an ideal natural skin antioxidant having antimicrobial features, it tends to be a very strong skin moisturizers which promotes regeneration of cells.  Polyhydroxy acids mainly occur in two different forms including gluconolactone which is a derivate of gluconic acid often associated with antioxidant features and lactobionic acid normally a derivative of milk sugar associated with water-binding or hydrating features (Li et al., 2020).

How Polyhydroxy Acids Work

Conclusion

The above discussed features of polyhydroxy acids including larger molecules and penetration at surface level render them appropriate for nearly every type of skin, mostly in cases one has ever experienced sensitivity with BHA or AHA based products in the past. Polyhydroxy acids are an ideal alternative to BHAs and AHAs especially in cases one is having relatively sensitive skin and not able to tolerate numerous chemical exfoliants. Still, polyhydroxy acids tend to be ideal for the case of people with characteristic dry skin since they are humectants i.e. they are water attracting and would be moisturizing. Since polyhydroxy acids are a gentler ingredient, it is encouraged for use even by people having itchy and dry skin, atopic rosacea or even eczema to try using polyhydroxy acids in adding them in the retexturization and smoothening of the skin without experiencing irritation.   

References

Christodoulou, E., Nerantzaki, M., Nanaki, S., Barmpalexis, P., Giannousi, K., Dendrinou-Samara, C., ... & Bikiaris, D. N. (2019). Paclitaxel magnetic core–shell nanoparticles based on poly (Lactic acid) semitelechelic novel block copolymers for combined hyperthermia and chemotherapy treatment of cancer. Pharmaceutics, 11(5), 213: https://www.mdpi.com/1999-4923/11/5/213

Ginjupalli, K., Shavi, G. V., Averineni, R. K., Bhat, M., Udupa, N., & Upadhya, P. N. (2017). Poly (α-hydroxy acid) based polymers: A review on material and degradation aspects. Polymer Degradation and Stability, 144, 520-535: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0141391017302562

Lee, K. H., Kim, D. Y., & Kim, W. (2021). Cultivation of human skin cells under physiological oxygen concentration modulates expression of skin significant genes and response to hydroxy acids. Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications, 551, 161-167: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0006291X21003405

Li, H., Shakaroun, R. M., Guillaume, S. M., & Carpentier, J. F. (2020). Recent Advances in Metal?Mediated Stereoselective Ring?Opening Polymerization of Functional Cyclic Esters towards Well?Defined Poly (hydroxy acid) s: From Stereoselectivity to Sequence?Control. Chemistry–A European Journal, 26(1), 128-138: https://chemistry-europe.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/chem.201904108

Lu, Y., Swisher, J. H., Meyer, T. Y., & Coates, G. W. (2021). Chirality-Directed Regioselectivity: An Approach for the Synthesis of Alternating Poly (Lactic-co-Glycolic Acid). Journal of the American Chemical Society, 143(11), 4119-4124: https://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/jacs.1c00248

McKee, A. D., Solano, M., Saydjari, A., Bennett, C. J., Hud, N. V., & Orlando, T. M. (2018). A Possible Path to Prebiotic Peptides Involving Silica and Hydroxy Acid?Mediated Amide Bond Formation. ChemBioChem, 19(18), 1913-1917: https://chemistry-europe.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/cbic.201800217

Rusciano, D., Pezzino, S., Olivieri, M., Cristaldi, M., Gagliano, C., Lupo, G., & Anfuso, C. D. (2018). Age-related dry eye lactoferrin and lactobionic acid. Ophthalmic Research, 60(2), 94-99: https://www.karger.com/Article/Abstract/489093

Tsuji, H., Sato, S., Masaki, N., Arakawa, Y., Kuzuya, A., & Ohya, Y. (2018). Synthesis, stereocomplex crystallization and homo-crystallization of enantiomeric poly (lactic acid-co-alanine) s with ester and amide linkages. Polymer Chemistry, 9(5), 565-575: https://pubs.rsc.org/en/content/articlelanding/2017/sc/c7py02024d/unauth

Wang, X., Wang, S., Wang, W., Li, H., Liu, X., Gu, X., ... & Zhang, S. (2020). The flammability and mechanical properties of poly (lactic acid) composites containing Ni-MOF nanosheets with polyhydroxy groups. Composites Part B: Engineering, 183, 107568: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1359836819341903

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