Alpha Hydroxy Acids or commonly known as AHAs, has become nothing short of a skincare miracle cure. Used in almost every skincare product from cleansers, to toners, to masks and serums this power house ingredient is worth its weight in gold.
Many people have heard of AHA, but actually don’t know what it is. Alpha Hydroxy Acids are frequently sourced from ingredients that we use in our everyday lives.
WHAT IS AHA?
Alpha Hydroxy Acids are a class of compounds that are naturally occurring or sometimes synthetic, which act as a chemical exfoliant on the skin. These acids are derived from both plant and animal sources. Many of these acids are found in foods that we consume everyday, and have now made their way into skincare.
WHERE IS AHA SOURCED FROM?
Alpha hydroxy acids can be classed into three different categories: plant based, animal based, and synthetic. There are several AHAs listed below, along with their sources.
Alpha Hydroxy Acids are water soluble and work exclusively on the skin’s surface which make them different from other types of acids (such as BHAs and PHAs).
THE BENEFITS OF ALPHA HYDROXY ACIDS
HOW TO USE ALPHA HYDROXY ACIDS
The first rule of thumb when using AHAs is to start off slowly. Alpha hydroxy acids can cause skin irritation, especially with overuse. Glycolic acid can be particularly irritating to the skin, because of small molecular size. So it’s best to integrate them slowly into your skincare routine, and never exceed the recommended usage. Always follow the instructions.
When starting out, steer away from leave-on products (toners, serums, creams) that are highly potent in AHAs. The key is to remember that less is more. Highly concentrated products do not mean that they are more efficient. In fact, you run the risk of damaging your skin and causing PIH (post inflammatory hyperpigmentation).
AHAs work better on the skin when combined together with other AHAs. Try to choose products formulated with several different types of AHAs, as opposed to using a product that contains a high percentage of just one. Products that combine different acids at lower strengths tend to be less irritating to the skin, because the acids penetrate at different levels and hydrate at different capacities.
Remember to always wear sunscreen when using products that contain AHAs. Alpha Hydroxy Acids increase your skin’s sensitivity to light by thinning the top layer of your skin, making it more susceptible to sun damage. AHAs remove pigment, and also slow down the production of pigment in the skin. Therefore, it’s important to wear spf. Without spf protection from the sun, you run the risk of hyperpigmentation and sun damage.
Do not under any circumstances mix AHAs with retinol, or use on the same day as retinol. This can cause PIH (post inflammatory hyperpigmentation). Stay on the side of caution when using AHAs and BHAs together in order to avoid irritation and dryness. The combination of AHA and BHA leave-on products does not work well on all skin types.
Alpha hydroxy acids works well with any hydrating or moisturising ingredient. Mixing or layering AHAs with any other type of ingredient would end up disastrous and be overkill. Remember less is more.
Let’s face it, we live in a stressful world. Sometimes the negativity of the world around us, pressure from work, and daily home life can leave us feeling drained.
It’s so easy to forget oneself. Sometimes we need to recharge and regroup. We expend so much of our energy outside, that we forget to prioritise ourselves. It’s important to remember to bring it back to you. Show yourself the same love and kindness that you extend to others.
Here a few self care tips to add to your nighttime routine that will help you sleep better, reduce stress, and have more productive days.
RELAXING NIGHTTIME ROUTINE
1. Turn Off Your Devices
Turn off your devices at night, put them on nighttime mode, or remove them completely from your bedroom. Studies have shown that blue light emitted from your devices can cause sleep deprivation. Blue light reduces the natural production of melatonin in the evening, and also decreases feelings of sleepiness. Blue light also reduces the amount of time you spend in slow- wave and REM ( rapid eye movement) sleep. Theses two stages of the sleep cycle are beneficial for cognitive functions. Blue light has also been shown to cause retina damage.
It’s best to decrease the use of all electronic devices at least 2 hours before bedtime. And if possible, limit the number of hours spent in front of electronic devices during daytime hours as well. The use of electronic devices for long periods during daytime hours can negatively impact sleep.
2. Keep Bedroom Lights Dim
Dimming the lights in the bedroom can help you sleep better. Studies show that light intensity effects melatonin production. Normal indoor light levels can inhibit melatonin production, and interfere with your sleep-wake schedule. Dimmer lighting has less of an effect on melatonin production.
3. Take A Shower Or Bath
Taking a hot shower or bath right before bedtime will help you unwind. This will help to wash any tensions from the day, and soothe sore muscles. Bathing is a great way to help you relax. Add in a shower gel or bath salts infused essential oils to intensify the feeling. Essential oils like lavender are an excellent choice for promoting relaxation.
4. Pamper Yourself
It’s always good to pamper yourself. A dose of self love never hurt anybody. Use the evening hours just before bedtime to shower your skin with affection. Develop an evening skincare routine filled with masks, serums, and creams. Take time to relax and enjoy yourself. You deserve it!
5. Yoga And Breath Work
Nighttime yoga can help those of us struggling with stress and anxiety. You don’t have to be a some sort of guru to learn how to stretch. Yoga relaxes the body, helps with anxiety, and removes stagnant energy/ blockages.
Try to hold each pose for a minimum of 30 seconds to receive the maximum benefits. As you become more comfortable with your nighttime routine, try to hold each pose for a maximum of 2 minutes.
Breath work is the ultimate mood enhancer. Incorporating breath work into your yoga routine will increase your sense of relaxation. Deep breathing soothes the nervous system and enhances your state of serenity.
LEARN MORE ABOUT THE HEALING BENEFITS OF YOGA
6. Crystal Healing
Crystals are high vibrational tools given to us by Mother Nature. Introducing crystals into your environment can change the energy of your surroundings, alter sleep habits, help with stress/ anxiety or any other emotional trauma.
Placing a crystal on your nightstand or underneath your pillow is the simplest way to use them in the bedroom. Crystals such as Celestine, Amethyst, and Moonstone are very good for promoting peaceful sleep when placed on the nightstand.
If you’re already familiar with crystals and use them regularly, try placing them on your chakras while doing some deep breathing for 20 minutes before bedtime. This will help you sleep peacefully, as well as remove any energetic blockages within the body.
7. Prayer And Affirmations
Tap into the divine power by using prayer and affirmations. Speak positive, loving words over your life and believe that the universe will deliver these things to you. By letting go of control and having faith in a higher power, you release all fears and doubts. Have a good night’s rest knowing that you are safe and all is well.
IS SELF CARE A FORM OF MENTAL HEALTH?