What is the Role of Beta Hydroxy Acid (Salicylic Acid) in Treating Wrinkles?

Hydroxy acids have become popular in treating


. These Hydroxy acids are of 2 types – Alpha and Beta. Alpha hydroxy acids are exfoliants obtained from milk and fruit sugars such as lactic acid obtained from milk and glycolic acid obtained from sugar cane. Beta hydroxy acid is also an exfoliant. There is only one Beta hydroxy acid and that is salicylic acid.

Alpha versus Beta Hydroxy Acids

They differ due to the presence of oil or lipid solubility. While Alpha hydroxy acids are water soluble, the beta one is oil soluble. As such, Beta hydroxy acid penetrates into the pores of skin containing sebum, and then exfoliates the dead skin cells that are present inside the pores. Thus, Alpha hydroxy acids are better to be used on thick, sun-damaged skin and Beta hydroxy acid is better to be used on oily skin with whiteheads and blackheads.

The Working of Beta Hydroxy Acid in Treating Wrinkles

Beta hydroxy acid works like an exfoliant by ungluing the cells of the epidermis. This removes the dead skin cells, which helps in regrowth of new skin. This helps in getting rid of roughness, fine lines and pigmentation of photo-damaged skin. This can be attained after 6 months of application on a daily basis. Beta hydroxy acid is found in skin-care products such as cleansers, moisturizers, sunscreens, eye creams and foundations. They show best results at a pH of 3 to 4 and in a concentration of 1% to 2%.

Effects of Beta Hydroxy Acid

• Its application for removing


can increase the sensitivity of skin by 50%.

• It reverses the damage caused by photoaging. However, it also makes the skin susceptible to photoaging.

• It is less irritating than alpha hydroxy acids, though it enters deeper into the pores of skin. This is due to the obtaining of salicylic acid from aspirin or acetylsalicylic acid. Salicylic acid shows anti-inflammatory properties which are retained after deriving them from Aspirin. It causes a little skin irritation with symptoms such as pain, redness, itching, burning and scarring.

• There is a high risk of scarring pigment changes in people with dark colored skin.

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