What to Look For
When shopping for alpha hydroxy products anything bought over the counter will legally have to have a concentration of 10 percent alpha hydroxy acids or less. These acids include: glycolic acid, lactic acid, malic acid and citric acid. Products are not required to list what percentage their concentration is so look for a product's ingredients label, and if alpha hydroxy acids are listed somewhere between the second to fifth ingredient most likely it is around the 10 percent range. For alpha hydroxy to be effective in diminishing and preventing signs of aging it has to be absorbed by the skin, so cleansers and toners that are immediately wiped off are typically not worth the investment. Look for moisturizers and tone correctors with these acids for the best results.
The biggest pitfall with alpha hydroxy products are that in order for them to do their job they can often cause skin irritation and increased sensitivity to the sun. There are currently no effective products on the market that combine alpha hydroxy acids with SPF, so a separate SPF product of 15 or higher needs to be applied on top of the alpha hydroxy product.
Where to Buy
No matter whether the products are purchased online or in a store, research should be conducted first to find the ideal product for individual needs. Websites such as sephora.com offer product details and user reviews for almost all department store products, and drugstore.com offers product details and user reviews for all products sold at drugstores and retailers such as Target and Wal-Mart.
There is a range in the cost of products containing alpha hydroxy acids that goes from $30 to $200 and up. The price difference is typically affected by brand, ingredients and acid concentration. Some of the more expensive ones include a system that has multiple products and tools that work with the alpha hydroxy acids.
To compare products one must take into account how sensitive her skin is. If the skin is very sensitive a lower concentration product will be best. Look for additional ingredients that address specific skin care needs such as Vitamin C and microdermabrasion for dull skin. If the skin is sensitive look for an SPF cream that is moisturizing and soothing to help lessen irritation. Don't hesitate to contact a dermatologist if it is difficult to determine which products are a good fit for your type of skin or condition.