The biggest advance in skin care recently
Over the past few years the availability of broad-spectrum sunscreens, along with the realisation by people of the importance of sunscreen, has been a huge advance.
Another is the accessibility of skin-care products that genuinely improve the appearance of the skin. In the past, a moisturiser was just a moisturiser, but now you can get ingredients such as retinol, glycolic acid and soy, among many others included in the screen. And there is solid science behind these products that shows they can help with sun damage.
What "buffered" means
The buffered versus non-buffered debate is really an odd one. All glycolic acids for use on the skin are buffered, except for 100% Glycolic Acid.
Also, all glycolic acids for use on the skin are of a pharmaceutical grade, which is 99% pure. When it is a 40% glycolic acid solution (or any other strength solution besides 100%), that means that there is 40% glycolic acid and 60% other ingredients to slow down the acid delivery.
Chemical exfoliation - speeding up the skin renewal process
Exfoliation is a process that can take some time, it is not a quick fix. The cleansing process helps to remove dead skin cells, and ss the top layers are removed so new skin is encouraged to grow and, but oddly enough it is UV radiation that stimulates skin growth!
The entire process can take several weeks, but afterwards the skin should be noticeably smoother and cleaner (younger if you like). Typically, within the first 3 weeks the skin begins to show improved tone with very few side-effects. Deep cleansing and exfoliation is a process which takes some time to work.
After the skin has renewed itself, it is important to continue weekly treatments to keep the new - and clean - pores from becoming clogged. At first you will have thick skin, so you might be able to do a peel every other day, but as the layers of the epidermis are stripped away you will notice some sensitivity and you will need to allow more time between treatments.
Remember: do not over do it, you cannot remove skin faster than new skin can grow.
Free radicals are unstable, oxygen-containing molecules found in the body and under the skin. They have lost an electron and need to steal other electrons from other molecules to get back into balance, thereby damaging the cells from which they take an electron. Free-radical damage is believed now to be part of the cause of aging. It is important to have antioxidants in your system, both internally through nutrition and externally through applicated creams.
How Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs) work
These acids word by dissolving the ionic bonds that hold the dead skin cells together, and so those cells are then able to very gently be broken down and removed by the body's natural systems, to allow new healthy cells to the surface. AHA's break the bonds between weakened skin cells, making it easy to exfoliate them and to encourage the production of new cells.
Using a glycolic treatment (containing at least 25% glycolic acid) will lead to a 25% increase in skin thickness, improved quality of elastic fibers and an increased density of collagen.
These are medical grade skin care products, and are developed for physicians, in that they provide pharmaceutical grade ingredients and come with some quality control.
They have a proven record of cleansing, moisturizing, protecting and exfoliating the skin to reduce fine lines, to restore glow and tone, to protect against the harmful effects of solar radiation and pollution, and they generally slow the effects of aging on the skin. These are technically medicines rather than creams.