Everything You Need to Know About Lipohydroxy Acid
Fun fact: Lipohydroxy acid was first developed by L’Oreal researchers in the 1980s, and as such, is found only in skin care products under the L’Oreal portfolio. But just what is lipohydroxy acid, and what can products formulated with the ingredient do for our skin? We’re breaking down how LHA works, and all the benefits of this wondrous ingredient, ahead.
Lipohydroxy acid sounds intimidating, but chances are a handful of L’Oreal products in your skin care arsenal are probably formulated with it, especially if you’re as fond of L’Oreal-portfolio products as we are! Better known as LHA, lipohydroxy acid is a derivative of salicylic acid with unique properties that allow it to benefit the skin, according to the National Institute of Health. For that reason, LHA can be widely found in L’Oreal creams, cleansers, toners and spot treatments.
To help you better understand one of L’Oreal’s beloved skincare ingredients, ahead we’re sharing a little background on how LHA works and the skin benefits it can provide. Get ready to head to the store because, trust us, after reading this article you’re going to want to stock up!
How Does LHA Differ from Salicylic Acid?
As mentioned, lipohydroxy acid is a derivative of 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? We’re glad you asked! Both LHA and SA are considered to be lipophilic, which means that they tend to dissolve in oils, fats, and lipids. Due to its chemical structure, LHA is considered to be more lipophilic than salicylic, which results in slower chemical activity and a gentler exfoliation experience.
2 Complexion-Boosting Benefits 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. Gentler exfoliation? Yes, please! And, as you probably already know, when dead skin cell buildup is sloughed away from the skin’s surface, it can appear clarified and refreshed.
Editor’s note: When it comes to the exact mechanism of action of the exfoliation process with hydroxy acids, there are still some grey areas. However, it is accepted that hydroxy acids—think: LHA and salicylic acid—do encourage exfoliation to take place.
It Can Help Promote More Youthful-Looking Skin
As we age, our skin surely shows it. Wrinkles and fine lines can crop up, and our skin can begin to sag, all of which can give way to showing our age. To help address the natural visible effects of skin aging, anti-aging products should be a staple in your routine. Among those should be products formulated with LHA, since regular exfoliation can help reveal newer, brighter-looking skin. With continued use, a product formulated with LHA may be able to help refresh your skin for the appearance of a younger-looking complexion.