Anti-wrinkle creams: alpha hydroxy acids. Part 1


In anti-wrinkle cosmetics ads, alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) are commonly referred to as natural acids derived from the fruits of various plants.

These substances, penetrating through the outer layers of the skin and stimulating cell division, can really improve the condition of the skin. But whether they are able to get rid of wrinkles, this question remains open. One cautious claim often made in marketing texts is that AHA makes wrinkles less visible.

If your work activity is mostly outdoors, you are at risk of developing extremely wrinkled skin as you age. This problem is often faced by farmers, builders, gardeners and other people working on the street. The same applies to those who like to spend a lot of time in the sun. The ardent sun worshipers of the sixties and seventies now greatly regret those days when they spent a lot of time under the scorching rays without any protection. Now they have even more wrinkles than the rest of the old people.

When we age, we lose the freshness that our body has when we were young. Our skin becomes thinner and drier, loses its elasticity, and eventually wrinkles form. We have a desire to rub something into the skin that would restore its smoothness and elasticity and relieve it of the marks of old age. Every year more and more new products appear on the market, which advertisers call a panacea for wrinkles, annual sales of cosmetics and toiletries in the United States are about 30 billion dollars, world sales are about twice as much. The growth in demand for cosmetics is proportional to the growth of the planet’s population. Pessimists will say that this is a waste of money and that it is impossible to reverse the continuous process of skin aging. They may be surprised to learn that some anti-aging creams actually work, even though their capabilities are rather limited.

Alpha hydroxy acids are the active ingredients in many creams, and they really help fight for youthful skin. But advertising claims that they can completely eliminate wrinkles, and here the question arises of what exactly is meant by these loud promises. We must not allow advertising for these substances to mislead us about their capabilities.

These days, cosmetic chemists face a plethora of health and environmental regulatory hurdles in their research that make testing new chemicals extremely costly.

There are ways to get rid of the marks of old age without the use of cosmetics. These include plastic surgery, laser cosmetology, the introduction of botulinum toxin. The first of these methods involves the direct removal of those skin areas where wrinkles have appeared. The essence of the second method is to burn wrinkles, primarily located around the nose, mouth and forehead. The third method is based on the fact that botulinum toxin paralyzes the mimic muscles, as a result, when various emotions are expressed on the face, the skin wrinkles less. However, these procedures are very expensive, and for the most part only actors and celebrities, for whom appearance is especially important, can afford them, while most people will not subject themselves to such manipulations. An exception, perhaps, is the introduction of botulinum toxin, which has recently become relatively affordable. This injection uses a substance produced by the bacterium Botulinum. The toxin of these bacteria is a potent poison that can poison some foods. A full course of treatment with botulinum toxin lasts several months. (Plastic surgery, laser cosmetology, and botulinum toxin injections are not without risk of complications, but testing of these anti-wrinkle treatments is almost exclusively done on humans, so you don’t have to worry about animals.)

Botulinum toxin is also used to treat a number of diseases, such as cervical dystonia (with this pathology, the mobility of the muscles of the neck and shoulder girdle is significantly reduced), excessive sweating, and strabismus. For the treatment of the latter in the United States, botulinum therapy was first used. The effect of botulinum toxin on wrinkles was first noticed by Canadian ophthalmologist Jean Carruthers, who used the substance to treat the symptoms of ocular tics, but the doctor also found that wrinkles disappeared along with the tics in his patients. Botulinum toxin is also approved for the treatment of migraines and to reduce seizures in Parkinson’s disease. The mechanism of action of Botox is to block the release of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that causes muscle contractions. Side effects of Botox are associated with its diffusion into the surrounding tissues, for example, when the drug is injected into the neck, the patient may experience a swallowing disorder.

Anti-wrinkle creams: alpha hydroxy acids. Part 2

Source: based on the book by John Emsley «On the benefits and harms of the products we love to buy»

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