When using a low-level AHA, how long should it take to see visible improvements?
Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs) are weak organic acids found naturally in foods and include Glycolic Acid, Lactic Acid, Mandelic Acid and Citric Acid, to name a few. AHAs quickly penetrate the skin, exfoliate surface cells and encourage cell renewal. Studies with AHAs have reported important dermal (deep layer) benefits including increased collagen synthesis, improved elastic fiber quality and an increase in water-binding glycosaminoglycans (GAGs). Collectively, these effects result in more even pigmentation, smoother, firmer skin, and a diminished appearance of lines and wrinkles.
Typically, results are seen within 4-6 weeks of use, with continued improvement through 12 weeks and beyond. We have many studies looking at both Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs) and Polyhydroxy acids (PHAs) at these time points, showing obvious improvements in these parameters, as well as improvements in firmness and pore size with continued use. When using an AHA lotion, you will see some immediate results, such as improvements in texture and radiance. Other improvements like fine lines, wrinkles, elasticity and pigmentation will take longer to notice. These issues are a result of years of photodamage and chronological aging, and will take weeks for you to begin to see benefits.
If you are new to AHA products, we recommend using a product with a low concentration, such as NeoStrata Ultra Smoothing Cream. This product exfoliates the skin, which can cause "purging". These breakouts should resolve in a few weeks to a month. However, if you are experiencing redness or irritation, you should either discontinue use or reduce frequency of applications. We recommend using the product every other day or twice a week to get the skin acclimated to high level AHAs and slowly introduce it back into your routine until your skin can tolerate daily use.