I still LOVE Dr. Pickarts site
and knowledge about many things. His Copper Peptides work for reducing wrinkles w/o surgery. His studies are here.
(copied from his site)
Skin Exfoliating Methods
Hydroxy acids are one of the best of the skin renewal approaches. They are naturally occurring, non-toxic substances found in the human body, fruits, wine, milk and sugarcane, to name a few sources. Scientifically, these chemicals are known as alpha keto/carboxylic acids or beta keto/carboxylic acids. They are more commonly known as alpha hydroxy acids, or AHAs and betahydroxy acids, or BHAs. The AHAs and BHAs help retain moisture in very dry skin, as well as helping reduce fine lines and uneven color of sun-damaged skin. They often lighten "age" spots.
Part of their effect is decreasing the "glue" that holds dead cells on the surface of the skin. Hydroxy acids reduce the thickness of the hyperkeratotic stratum corneum by reducing corneocyte cohesion in lower levels of the stratum corneum. This induces epidermolysis, which triggers an increase in cell renewal. This helps the dead cells to slough off (desquamation), speeds skin turnover, and brings to the surface a layer of smoother, softer skin.
Of the AHAs, glycolic acid, which comes from sugarcane, is generally regarded as the best for skin renewal. Mixtures of several different AHAs have no advantage. Glycolic acid speeds the turnover of the skin cells resulting in a smoother texture and healthier appearance. It usually takes about eight weeks of regular use to see a significant improvement in the skin. Glycolic acid can be combined with other bleaching agents that are used in the treatment of dark spots on skin.
Effective and Ineffective AHA Creams
Research of Eugene J. Van Scott M.D. and R. J. Yu Ph.D. opened the modern era of AHA use. In 1976 they reported that glycolic acid, in specially designed formulations, helped in the treating of a scaling skin disease (ichtyosis) and in 1988 they founded NeoStrata, a company where they continue to develop novel methods for the treatment of skin problems.
Further studies by them indicated a use for hydroxy acids in skin renewal - however, their work was ignored by the skin care industry until the 1990s when alpha and beta hydroxy acids began to be incorporated into skin care products (Van Scott and Yu 1989). Later, Stiller et al conducted large-scale, placebo-controlled studies with AHAs and found they reversed premature aging caused by sun exposure. (Stiller et al 1996) Their use was soon extended to chemical peels. (Dial 1990)
Alpha hydroxy acids (AHA's) are one of the safest methods of skin renewal. Their effectiveness depends on the type and concentration of the AHA, its pH (acidity), and other ingredients in the product. AHAs become effective at concentrations of about 7% to 8% with a pH of 3.5 to 4.0. Many AHA-containing cosmetic products have very little skin renewal effects because the AHA concentrations are too low and the pH is too high. There is little evidence that concentrations below 5% have beneficial actions on skin.
Skin improvements should be apparent after four weeks of AHA treatment, but AHA therapy also helps maintain skin health and is normally continued indefinitely.
Chemical peels with stronger AHA's (40-70%) speed the process, but skin rebuilding induced by a 70% AHA chemical peel (which is costly and may cause scarring) in 3 months can be duplicated by a 7% AHA cream in 9 months.
AHAs are marketed for a variety of purposes: to smooth fine lines and surface wrinkles, to improve skin texture and tone, to unblock and cleanse pores, to improve oily skin or acne, and to improve skin condition in general. In reality, they do increase the turnover of skin cells and enhance the rebuilding of collagen and elastin plus improve the internal moisture-holding properties of GAGs and proteoglycans. With long term use, AHAs alleviate fine to moderate wrinkles, and remove many skin lesions such as weathered skin, freckling, blotchy pigmentation, sun damage, age spots, mild acne scars, benign overgrowths of skin, and flat warts. They appear to work by causing an increased skin peeling of the lesion plus an irritation around the lesion. In time the lesion becomes smaller and is replaced by normal healthy skin.
Hydroxy acids are helpful in treating oily and acne-prone skin. Persons with these conditions often see dramatic results. Blackheads, white heads and acne breakouts are caused when the hair follicles clog and trap sebum in the follicle. Removing the upper layer of skin promotes natural sebum flow to the skin.
Long Term Low Dose AHAs as Good as Short Term Chemical Peels
Reports by various skin researchers strongly suggest that long term use of AHAs give results similar to chemical peels. The key to skin renewal is a process where (1) the skin is irritated or slightly damaged by exfoliating agents (alpha hydroxy acids, beta-hydroxy acids, retinoic acid, or mildly burned by by laser re-surfacing). This is followed by (2) a natural rebuilding of the skin that removes imperfections, rebuilds collagen and elastin fibers that tighten skin, and increases the amount of glycosamoinoglycans. The stronger the exfoliation or skin damage, the stronger is the skin rebuilding action. Unfortunately, strong exfoliation causes strong skin irritation with itching, burning, and pain.
Alpha Hydroxy Acid ( 7-8%, Ph=3.8 ) Effects on Skin Effects in 3 months Effects in 9 months
Softer smoother skin
Increased moisturization Softer smoother skin
Strong rebuilding of collagen, and elastin
Pigment more uniform
Skin imperfections reduced
Safety of Hydroxy Acids and Cautions
AHAs increase sun sensitivity by 13% on average but in some persons by as much as 50%. For a 50% increase in sun sensitivity, a hydroxy acid formulated with a sun protection factor of 2 would eliminate the added sun sensitivity. AHAs with concentrations of 20% or higher are skin peels (see below) and should be applied by a dermatologist or trained cosmetologists at salons.
AHAs also may increase the penetration of other chemicals used on the skin. These include vitamins, antibiotics, Retin-A, benzoyl peroxide, resorcinol, and other dermatological medications. One should be aware of this possible interaction when using AHAs along with other skin treatments.
By 1997, The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had received about 100 reports of adverse effects with AHAs ranging from mild irritation and stinging to blistering and burns. The FDA advises you to test any product that contains an AHA on a small area of skin before applying it to a large area. If you you experience skin irritation or prolonged stinging, you should stop using the product and consult your physician.
The Cosmetic Ingredient Review Panel of the Cosmetic, Toiletry, and Fragrance Association concluded in December 1996 that AHAs are "safe for use in cosmetic products at concentrations less than or equal to 10 percent, at final formulation pHs greater than or equal to 3.5, when formulated to avoid increasing the skin's sensitivity to the sun, or when directions for use include the daily use of sun protection." For salon use products, the panel said that the products are "safe for use at concentrations less than or equal to 30 percent, at final formulation pHs greater than or equal to 3.0, in products designed for brief, discontinuous use followed by thorough rinsing from the skin, when applied by trained professionals, and when application is accompanied by directions for the daily use of sun protection."
Are Beta Hydroxy Acids Better?
BHAs include salicylic and citric. Some research suggests that BHAs, especially salicylic acid, may be more effective in exfoliating the lower dermal skin layers and may be less irritating. Synthetic salicylic acid has long been in dermatology for treating adult acne and removing corns on feet. Salicylic acid is lipid soluble and hence penetrates the fatty sebum produced by sebaceous glands, eliminates acne causing bacteria, and reduces the clogging of infected pores and acne.
A leading dermatologist, Dr. Albert Kligman, believes that BHAs, in particular salicylic acid are better than AHAs for anti-aging and for skin exfoliation. Professor Kligman is well known in dermatology for his research on the anti-aging actions of retinoic acid (Retin-A). Results from Dr. Kligman's laboratory found that the outermost stratum corneum layer is renewed after applications of salicylic acid.