Acne Treatment: Retinols and Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs)

Acne is caused by clogged pores, which is caused by excess sebum or oil production. There are many different types of acne treatment available, and Retinols and Alpha Hydroxy Acids are some of the most popular. Alpha Hydroxy Acids have been around for a long time and still continue to work.


Retinol is a Vitamin A treatment used to treat acne, wrinkles and other skin problems. Vitamin A can be found in vegetables, dairy products and meats such as chicken and beef. Retinol helps with the reproduction of new cells. It also helps the pores on the skin to decrease in size and become less apparent. It can be applied to the skin with gels or creams. When retinols are applied on a regular basis, it helps to improve the appearance of the skin and helps to make it smooth.

Side Effects of Retinols

There are a few side effects of using retinols. These are usually mild and do not last for too long. The skin can be more sensitive when exposed to sunlight so a sunscreen is recommended. The skin can also sting when the retinol is applied. Other side effects may include redness of the skin or itching. These side effects will usually diminish as the skin gets more used to the treatment. If the side effects are too severe or bothersome, talk to your doctor to see if this is normal.

Alpha Hydroxy Acids

Alpha Hydroxy Acids are extracted from plant products and some animal products. The three most common types of alpha hydroxy acids are lactic acid, glycolic acid and citric acid. These acids work by helping to heal the skin and create better circulation. This then will produce healthier looking skin with reduced blemishes. Alpha hydroxy acids do not help with the inflammation of acne. The most common use of hydroxy acids are chemical peels. The chemical peel is applied to the skin and allowed to soak in. Then, it is washed off along with the dead skin cells leaving a soft, new layer of skin.

Side Effects of Alpha Hydroxy Acids

The side effects of alpha hydroxy acids can be itching, the formation of blisters, skin irritation, increased sun burns, and the possibility of a chemical burn. These side effects are usually mild in most people, but for those who suffer from sensitive skin, these can be worse and possibly unbearable. It is important to apply sunscreen when going out into the sun to avoid the possibility of sun burns. If these side effects are too bad, it is important to contact a doctor.

Retinols and alpha hydroxy acids can be great medications to help the treatment of acne. These medications are usually prescribed by a doctor and should be used only as directed to avoid possible side effects. If you suffer from acne, talk to your doctor to see if these medications can help improve your skin.