Anti Aging Skin Care Info

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Alpha-Hydroxy Acids (AHAs or ‘fruit acids’)

Filed under: AHAs (inc. chemical peels) by admin

The American Food and Drug Administration agency (FDA) note products containing AHAs are used in anti aging skin care cosmetics because they cause exfoliation of surface skin. The effect depends on the concentration of AHAs in the products in combination with the effects of other ingredients (1).

It Does what It Says On The Tin. What does that do for mature skin?


AHAs work in the pores once absorbed and begin to cause the skin to shed the topmost layer of dead skin cells. This assists in accelerating cell ‘turnover’. As the dead cells at the ‘top’ of skin are removed, healthy new cells from deeper layers come to the surface. This aims to:

  • Enhance the skin’s texture
  • Enhance the skin’s colour (‘glow’)
  • Unclog pores
  • Increase penetration by moisturising products (2).

The concentration of AHAs within the products is important. Low concentrations (say 5-10%) are usually the staple of the (heavily marketed) over the counter creams and commonly contain glycolic acid, one of the 5 types of AHAs.


Professional Treatments

Higher concentrations may be used  a procedure using much higher concentrations of AHAs, dubbed ‘the chemical peel’. The British Association of Cosmetic Doctors advise this should be a strictly professionally administered treatment. It states the treatment can definitely help rejuvenate skin, but will still not give a 50 year old the skin of a 25 year old.   The treatment produces temporary redness and can have side effects such as cold-sore flare-ups (3).


The FDA notes that there is a lack of robust research into the long-term effects of AHAs on the skin from everyday consumer products containing them (4).

Giselle Mir goes one step further with criticism of the mechanism of AHAs on the skin. Mir states she qualified as Cosmetic Scientist before founding her own cosmetic company, having become “disillusioned” with misleading cosmetic industry product claims. She has stated to the press she believes the creams actions simply irritate the skin, resulting eventually in moisture loss from the top layer and premature aging (5).

Here’s some further advice from Paula Begouin, seen earlier extoling the virtues of AHAS – this time she explains the damaging effects of irritation on any skin – clearly she isn’t lumping AHAs into this category but its makes for thought provoking material…

IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER: NONE of the above advice can be a substitute for medical or professional skin care advice – please only consult qualified general medical and/ or dermatology physicians for serious skin complaints. The information here may reflect manufacturer’s claims and this site cannot be held responsible for such claims made.

RS Brown


1. American Food and Drug Administration. (2009). Alpha Hydroxy Acids in Cosmetics. [online] Washington: Department of Health and Human Services. Available at:

2. Begoiun, P. (2004). The Complete Beauty Bible: The Ultimate Guide To Smart Beauty. Rodale. P.99.

3. British Association of Cosmetic Doctors (2009). Chemical peels (Glycolic peels). [online]. BACD. Available at:

4. American Food and Drug Administration. (2009). The Office of Women’s Health Scientific Research Program: Abstracts. [online] Washington: Department of Health and Human Services. Available at:

5. Mir, G. Anti Ageing and Sun Care. [online] Hertfordshire, UK: Mir. Available at:

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‘Botox’ injections (“Botox Cosmetic”, “Vistabel”)

Filed under: Botox (/"Vistabel") injections by admin


The famous substance injected is actually a type of Botulinum, a toxin which blocks nerve impulses to muscles to stop relaxing or contracting, in effect, temporarily paralysing the muscle. The effects take an average of 2 to 10 days to become noticeable and commonly wear off in an average 6 months. The treatment is designed to:

  • Smoothe out fine lines and wrinkles
  • Create a younger looking face
  • Create a younger looking neck
  • Enhance self confidence

Where and what are the injections commonly given for?

Eyes – (crow’s feet)
Forehead and brow – (frown lines)

Mouth – (vertical lines on the upper lip or down turned mouths)
Neck – (lines and lifting the jowl line)

Since it can be injected into specific areas, it can be used to smooth out fine lines and wrinkles whilst leaving the rest of the facial muscles unaffected.

Botox suspected in media!

Botox suspected in media!

This is the source of genius for journalists- if the facial muscles in one area appear smooth and still, it can be salaciously scrutinised as to whether or not the celebrity has ‘had Botox’ done.



The most famous brand names for botulinum within beauty treatment are “Botox Cosmetic” and “Vistabel”.  It isn’t new – in 2009, the procedure had been practised for over 15 years.

The British Association of Cosmetic Doctors claim the ultimate aim of the treatments are to change muscle habits – frowning and squinting – which over time will help reduce more wrinkles and fine lines being formed (1). (And we thought it was just to get the forhead flat in a matter of days).

Some Important Considerations

The British Association of Cosmetic Doctors (1) advise the treatment is not for use:

  • In pregnancy
  • If breast feeding
  • If diagnosed with a neuromuscular disorder

The Association also states your practitioner should be told of all medication patients take (including herbs Gingko Biloba and St John’s Wort).

Potential Side Effects

They cite the main potential Botox side effects as transient and not major, such as temporary headache and  short-lived redness, swelling, bruising or numbing at injection sites; temporary headache and temporary numbness at the injection sites. Less common risks include eyelid drooping (ptosis) and slight puffiness. The Association advises potential patients to discuss this with the doctor as the occurrence rate will vary from doctor to doctor. Finally, for some rare cases, after several weeks resistance to the treatment develops and the effects can no longer be seen.

Controversy – FDA statements

Erupted when American reports emergerged over the reports of 16 children who had tragically died following medical treatment with Botox to treat leg spams (1) . The powerful Food and Drug Administration (FDA) subsequently ruled that from April 2009, all product packaging must contain warnings of severe medical complications in the event of overdose (2).  In those tragic cases, the dosages would be called into question,  given the children’s lower bodyweights kilo for gram administered. The treatment the children recieved is likely to have been at higher dosages than those administered for anti aging skin care cosmetic use in adults. Nonetheless, warning labels must now be carried on every box of “Botox Cosmetic” in the states. Their announcement also stated adverse effects in adults had been reported for ‘approved uses’ of the product and that the toxin may be able to move from the injection site to other areas of the body. The share price for manufacturers dipped. However, in early Augugst 2009, the FDA issued and update stating “No definitive serious adverse event reports of distant spread of toxin effect have been associated with dermatologic use of Botox/Botox Cosmetic at the recommended doses (for frown lines between the eyebrows or severe underarm sweating). As well, no definitive serious adverse event reports of distant spread of toxin effect have been associated with Botox when used at approved doses for eyelid twitches or for crossed eyes.” (3).

Kath Smith


1. British Association of Cosmetic Doctors (2009). Muscle relaxing injections (Botox / Botulinum toxin® ) [online]. BACD. Available at:

2. Food and Drug Administration (2009).  FDA Requires Boxed Warning for All Botulinum Toxin Products. [online] Department of Health and Human Services. Available at:

3. Food and Drug Administration (2009).   FDA Gives Update on Botulinum Toxin Safety Warnings; Established Names of Drugs Changed. [online] Department of Health and Human Services. Available at:

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