Alpha-Lipoic Acid

alpha lipoic acid

The need to defeat the effects of time is becoming not just a need. It is becoming an obsession for those who want to remain looking as young and as pretty as they can. To be honest, looking like the bark of a tree is not a pretty sight. Some may accept that the decay in appearance is an inevitable result that comes along with age, but most cannot accept it at all. Not when there may be solutions to improve on such an appearance if not make it go away completely.

The research departments of the cosmetic industries around the world look for compounds that can eradicate the effects of aging all the time. Some of these compounds have been known to simply mask these effects, some of them have been confirmed as making these effects fade and some others have been successful in completely diminishing the wrinkles, bags, dark circles and fine lines that people are so afraid of.

Alpha lipoic acid is one of the new compounds that have been created to offer a solution through a slightly different approach than the simple hydration and nourishing of the skin cells. It can be found in nature within foods and it can be naturally produced by the human body, but what is of importance is the array of properties it incorporates.

The properties

Cosmetic compounds can be categorized to moisturizers, anti-oxidants, anti-inflammatories, collagen production enhancers, detoxifiers and those that work in the background providing support from the inside. Alpha lipoic acid should then be classified in at least four of the above:

  • It is both an anti-oxidant and an anti-inflammatory substance. The properties for the former are considered as potent and versatile, while the ones for the latter are considered as moderate.
  • It works on the inside by assisting in the energy production within the cells in what is known as the citric acid cycle. It also acts as an inhibitor to the cross-linking of proteins with other large molecules. It is this cross-linking that is responsible for the wrinkled skin and other conditions like the hardening of the arteries and the stiffening of the joints.
  • It can act as a moderate detoxifier by removing some of the toxic metals.

Alpha lipoic acid has been researched and verified for its benefits when used in supplements for the rest of the human body. Unfortunately this has not been done for the skin.

Dr Nicholas Perricone

Everything that has become known in reference to alpha lipoic acid and its effects for the skin, comes from this Yale dermatologist. He is the one who studied it and the one who published a series of works about it. Dr. Perricone has an impressive array of credentials and a confirmed record of successful studies.

Nevertheless, he still is the single source of information and this cannot be considered as an absolutely reliable condition. Especially when there have been a few issues that surfaced upon close examination of his research. To be precise, he is not to blame or to be accused for embellishing results. It’s just that the real world production and the tests in a controlled environment are two completely different things.

First of all his studies include much higher concentrations of ALA than those included in any of the cosmetic products that have been released for general use. If the higher concentrations are responsible for Dr. Perricone’s observations, it is logical to assume that lower concentrations may actually not yield any results at all.

Secondly, all the studies included are small scale ones where it is mentioned that the fine lines have completely disappeared and mild to moderate wrinkles have been reduced by 50%. What happens if the wrinkles are heavy? Where is the research for any side-effects? Where is the research for any possible damage to the eyes if the compound is used in the production of eye creams?

It is understandable that Dr. Perricone may not have the resources to conduct larger scale surveys and studies. It can also be considered as a fact that no self-respecting dermatologist would incorporate a substance into his own line of cosmetics if he wasn’t confident about the results. However, the scientific community agrees that while his research may be 100% valid, there is an issue of a conflict of interests involved and that people should wait before using alpha lipoic acid.


It is an unfortunate practice that chemicals for skincare are released without proper testing for safety and side-effects. No matter how good they look in the test tubes or lab tests, the real world applications are a completely different thing. Especially when these compounds are to be used for quite a substantial amount of time in order to provide the required results.

It is also a fact that long term and large scale studies require time and money. And it can be five or ten years before such a study is even possible. This is no reason to jump into any chemical that claims to satisfy the vanity of making the effects of aging disappear. Prudence dictates that people should keep using the cosmetics that have undergone the testing process or use any new compounds carefully and observing any and all precautionary measures stipulated by the manufacturer.

Alpha lipoic acid promises a lot for skin care. It has proven its worth and benefits to other parts of the body and there is no reason to doubt the validity of the finds of Dr. Perricone nor his intensions. If it pans out then it will be a very valuable weapon in fight for youthful and radiant appearance.

Read more about important skin care ingredients on this page.

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