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If you've heard about alpha lipoic acid and its use as an active ingredient in skin care preparations, then it's one ingredient that you're probably not only curious about, but have possibly also already tried. An enzyme with good antioxidant activity when applied topically to skin, alpha lipoic acid also delivers antioxidant benefits when taken as an oral supplement.

When it comes to skin care, does alpha lipoic acid live up to the hype?

Alpha Lipoic Acid: The Evidence  

Most of the work with using alpha lipoic acid in skin care has been conducted by Dr Nicholas Perricone, a dermatologist who pioneered its use in skin care and has written about it extensively. Beyond Dr Perricone's work however, there is little in the way of clinical research to back up its efficacy in skin care formulations. Many studies have been conducted in test tubes and while positive results have been observed it's difficult to ascertain how they would translate to benefits in human skin.  

Those studies conducted on human skin have used very high concentrations of alpha lipoic acid (higher than tends to be found in most skin care preparations). While positive benefit has been observed in the reduction of fine lines and wrinkles, none of the studies followed a double-blind or placebo-controlled protocol. More well designed studies would help to lend more credibility to its inclusion in skin care products.

We do know that in addition to being a potent antioxidant that alpha lipoic acid possesses anti-inflammatory activity. It has also been shown to inhibit cross-linking of proteins, which is associated with hardening of the arteries, wrinkles and stiff joints. As well, when taken as an oral supplement, alpha lipoic acid has been shown to improve the symptoms associated with diabetes amongst other health conditions.

Should You Try Alpha Lipoic Acid?  

The evidence suggests that alpha lipoic acid could deliver skin benefits, but more research is needed before giving it a firm thumbs up. For now, ingredients including [Link Removed] have much more evidence to back up their claims. Still, if you would like to try an alpha lipoic acid skin care formulation, you won't be doing skin harm and you may even improve its condition.

Sharmani Pillay is a Registered Pharmacist who specializes in anti aging skin care and women's wellness. She owns and operates an online skin care store at [Link Removed].
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Member Comments

    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Cynthia Schmidt wrote Nov 14, 2009
    • I’ve wondered about this, Sharmani. I’ve read Dr. Perricone’s book and purchased his vitamins several years ago. The vitamins were very expensive and I’m not certain really did anything.

      Good information, thank you!



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Pharmagirl wrote Nov 16, 2009
    • Yup, alpha lipoic acid is a good ingredient, but not an incredible one (few skin care ingredients are). Lots of skin care lines being promoted by ‘medical experts’ doctors these days aren’t any better than many others out there.



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