Alpha Lipoic Acid has become a hot ingredient in the skin care world. It's showing up all over in cremes, moisturizers and serums. It might appear to be following the antioxidant skin care trend, but dermatologists and functional medicine practitioners have been using ALA to their advantage in the realm of skincare for years. The proposed anti aging benefits and the ALA glow are backed by science and this seemingly new trend is a revered practice that has legitimacy to it!
What is ALA
Alpha lipoic acid is a powerful antioxidant and potent anti-inflammatory. As a whole, antioxidants and anti-inflammatories compounds protect the skin from aging, but the mechanisms that ALA works through run far deeper than these already beneficial properties.
Alpha Lipoic Acid and the Skin
ALA has been shown to not only improve the appearance of skin but it can even reverse aging by restoring elasticity, improving texture and plumping the skin.
Given the extent to which ALA is able to reverse damage we can see how profound ALA can be in an preventative anti-aging routine.
So, How Does it Work?
First, we do have to mention the antioxidant properties. ALA differs from all other antioxidants as it is both water- and fat-soluble, meaning that it exists both inside and outside the cell, offering double protection from free radicals. Free radicals are harmful molecules that damage collagen (causing appearance of wrinkles), cause unfavourable textural changes and they contribute to hyperpigmentation along with uneven complexion.
Next, ALA promotes healthy, vibrant skin by blocking the formation of AGES. The irony is not lost on us here- but we swear that’s what they’re actually called. AGES stand for advanced glycation end products and they are harmful to the body. They form through sugar metabolism. When AGES form, they build up in the skin and insert into the collagen matrix, where they cause collagen fibers to stiffen contributing to deeper wrinkles. In addition, AGES cause the cells that produce collagen to die off, meaning that the ability to rebuild collagen diminishes. ALA intercepts the formation of AGES, keeping collagen loose and fluid which translates to smooth, firm skin.
Lastly, ALA is a sulfur compound and contributes to glutathione production. Glutathione is the key driver of our internal detoxification process that occurs in the liver. The liver removes harmful substances in the body that contribute to free radical production and inflammation. A stagnant liver often shows up in our faces as thinner skin, dark circles and a dull complexion. The liver, in addition to glutathione, loves sulfur compounds. ALA has the added benefit of supporting the liver and healing the body, removing sources of oxidation before they damage the skin.
Topical or Supplement?
In truth, both provide benefits. Topical treatments are fast acting and can yield a brighter complexion, fix complexion and offer the ALA glow.
Supplements on the other hand can take longer to work as ALA has several functions in the body. ALA works to optimize physiology AND skin. While internal ALA doesn’t all go the skin, it yields more profound results in the long-term for these reasons:
Topical application only penetrates the first layer of skin (the epidermis), which makes them excellent for complexion but has no implications in collagen protection and therefore it doesn’t help with wrinkles, firmness or elasticity.
Taking ALA internally flows through the bloodstream where it is transported to the dermis where collagen is concentrated- it is here where it blocks AGE formation.
Internal free radicals are largely responsible for aging skin. Since ALA is transported throughout the blood to all parts of the body it reduces the overall load of free radicals in the body- which shows up in the skin. Topical ALA doesn’t make it into the bloodstream in high enough doses to have any internal antioxidant effect.
- Only supplemental ALA helps the liver. Internal ALA is also a specific form that’s highly absorbable and has biological properties unlike topical ALA.
Lypo-Spheric® R-ALA provides a therapeutic dose of the most potent form R-ALA, that has the highest industry bioavailability- meaning you’re likely to see the benefits in the skin (and so much more) in a timely manner.
When it comes to antiaging and keeping the skin radiant, fluid there really is something to be said about the notion of beauty from within. A healthy liver, healthy cells and robust collagen are the secret recipe to great skin no matter if you're in your second decade or 7th
PS: Use Code TRYALA at checkout for $5.00 off you ALA purchase for a limited time! Click here to learn more about ALA
Author: Lisa Kowalyk, CNP, B.Kin