What Is Lipohydroxy Acid and How Does It Work?
Fun fact: Lipohydroxy acid was first developed by L’Oreal researchers in the 1980s. It may sound intimidating, but chances are a handful of skin-care products in your arsenal are probably formulated with it. Better known as LHA, lipohydroxy acid is a derivative of salicylic acid with unique properties that benefit the skin in various ways. You can find it in creams, cleansers, toners and spot treatments.
How Does LHA Differ From Salicylic Acid?
As previously mentioned, lipohydroxy acid is a derivative of the commonly used skin-care ingredient salicylic acid. Both ingredients are known to help provide chemical exfoliation, but they do differ in some ways. The FDA considers salicylic acid a drug ingredient when present at certain concentrations in formulas. On the contrary, LHA is considered to be a gentle derivative of salicylic acid and is not, by FDA standards, referred to as a drug ingredient.
How Does LHA Work?
We know that LHA is a gentler ingredient for exfoliation compared to salicylic acid, but how exactly does the ingredient work? Both LHA and SA are lipophilic, which means that they tend to dissolve in oils, fats and lipids. Due to its chemical structure, LHA is more lipophilic than salicylic acid, which results in slower chemical activity and a gentler exfoliation experience.
Two Complexion-Boosting Benefits of LHA
Benefit #1 of LHA: It Gently Exfoliates
According to the National Institute of Health, “The slow penetration of lipohydroxy acid results in an individual cell-by-cell exfoliation that is associated with excellent tolerability,” compared to its cousin salicylic acid. When dead skin cell buildup is sloughed away from the skin’s surface, it can appear clarified and refreshed.
Benefit #2 of LHA: It Can Help Promote Youthful-Looking Skin
To help address the natural visible effects of aging like fine lines and wrinkles, products formulated with LHA can reveal brighter-looking skin.