Alpha-Lipoic Acid Benefits for Skin
DISCLAIMER: This article has been written for informational and educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment
In this age of increasing environmental pollution, our skin is more prone to damage than ever. UV rays, pollutants, makeup, and our lifestyle all are causing our skins to age prematurely. Stress is also one of the factors that damages our skin.
A healthy diet and lifestyle paired with an effective skincare regime can help you get that flawless skin that everyone wants. But to keep up with all these things is difficult especially if you have a hectic schedule.
Now you must be wondering if there is anything that is both beneficial for your skin and easy to incorporate into your daily routine. Well, the answer to your query is alpha-lipoic acid. It is a natural antioxidant and has the power to protect your skin against environmental damage and make it look young and healthy.
Below is everything that you want to know about alpha-lipoic acid i.e. its sources, benefits, how to use it, and its potential side effects.
Alpha-lipoic acid is a natural compound produced in your body. However, the quantity of alpha-lipoic acid produced naturally is smaller than what you can get through diet. Red meat, spinach, broccoli, and rice bran are rich sources of alpha-lipoic acid.
Alpha-lipoic acid is also known as a universal antioxidant because it is both water and fat-soluble. Due to its ability to fight free radicals, it is not only beneficial for your skin but also for other parts of your body.
ALPHA-LIPOIC ACID FOR SKIN
Alpha-lipoic acid is a powerful antioxidant, 400 times more powerful than vitamin C and vitamin E. It protects your skin against damage from sunlight and pollution. It also increases the natural exfoliating capacity of your skin. This increases your cell turnover leaving your skin more glowing than ever.
Alpha-lipoic acid has the ability to inhibit crosslinking and the formation of chemical bridges, this prevents age-related changes in your skin. It can also fight inflammation and is therefore beneficial for those with acne-prone skin.
Following is a detailed description of how alpha-lipoic acid helps you with different skincare concerns:
PROTECTION AGAINST SUNLIGHT
All of us are exposed to sunlight daily. Harmful UV rays not only give you an uneven skin tone but also damage the skin deeply. When you apply alpha-lipoic acid it penetrates into the deeper layers of your skin and protects it from damage caused by UV rays. It can also reverse the long-term damage induced by sun exposure. This way your skin is protected from photoaging i.e. premature signs of aging due to continuous exposure to sunlight.
BRIGHTENS SKIN AND REDUCES DARK SPOTS
With its natural exfoliating properties alpha-lipoic acid increases the cell turnover. The dead cells are shed and new cells take over. This makes your skin brighter and reduces the dark spots and scars. With the application of alpha-lipoic acid regularly you also get an even skin tone and a healthy glow.
Alpha-lipoic acid can fight free radicals and therefore can prevent damage from all those factors that promote aging i.e. sunlight, stress pollution, and environmental factors. The antioxidant properties of alpha-lipoic acid will not only help you to stop new signs of aging but will also reverse the signs that are already present. If you apply alpha-lipoic acid regularly and appropriately your skin is sure to look more healthy and younger than before.
GET RID OF WRINKLES
Apart from being a strong antioxidant alpha-lipoic acid can also slow down the breaking of collagen fibers in your body. It also prevents cross-linking and thereby delays the onset of wrinkles. It has been shown to reduce fine lines too. If one of your skincare concerns is bagginess under the eyes then also you can use alpha-lipoic acid and feel the difference in no time.
REVERSES SMOKING-INDUCED DAMAGE TO SKIN
When your skin is exposed to cigarette smoke it is damaged by oxidative stress. The antioxidative and anti-inflammatory properties of alpha-lipoic acid prevent your skin from damage caused by cigarette smoke. It can also heal the skin that has already been harmed by smoking-induced damage and give your skin a new life.
IMPROVES SKIN TEXTURE
As alpha-lipoic acid is a natural exfoliant it clears out your pores and makes your skin soft and smooth. It also reduces pimples and breakouts and improves the overall texture of your skin.
ALPHA-LIPOIC ACID IS SUITABLE FOR WHICH SKIN TYPE?
Alpha-lipoic acid is considered safe to use for every skin type. If your skin is dry it benefits you with its natural exfoliating properties. It keeps on regenerating healthy new cells and makes your skin look flawless. It also aids in the production of oil regulation and hence can be used by people with oily skin too.
Even people with acne-prone skin can also use alpha-lipoic acid as its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties help reduce the effects of acne. To conclude, all skin types can benefit from the use of alpha-lipoic acid.
HOW TO USE ALPHA-LIPOIC ACID?
Alpha-lipoic acid is found in a number of food items like red meat, Brussels sprouts, green peas, and spinach. However, people prefer to take it in the form of supplements or use topical creams and gels because they contain more amount of alpha-lipoic acid than food.
Below is a short guide on how to use alpha-lipoic acid topically or take it as supplementation for your skincare concerns.
It is advised that you take oral supplements of alpha-lipoic acid on an empty stomach. The reason behind this is the fact that certain foods can affect the bioavailability of alpha-lipoic acid. So if you want to have the maximum effects take it on an empty stomach.
The recommended dosage for oral supplementation ranges between 300 to 600mg per day.
TOPICAL CREAMS AND GELS
Topical preparations of alpha-lipoic acid are generally well tolerated and no such adverse effects have been reported. But for safety purposes it is recommended that you test it on a small patch of your skin before applying it on your face. If there is any allergic reaction within 24 hours of its application onto that patch of skin then discontinue its use and do not apply it on your face.
Follow this procedure not only for alpha-lipoic acid but before trying out any new product on your skin.
Although alpha-lipoic acid is very much safe to use in your daily routine but below are a few scenarios in which it is better to take some precautions.
- Breastfeeding – The is very limited research available regarding the safety of using alpha-lipoic acid when breastfeeding. Hence you should not take any risks and avoid its use during breastfeeding.
- Surgery – Alpha-lipoic acid can reduce blood sugar levels. In case you have an elective surgical procedure scheduled stop taking alpha-lipoic acid at least two weeks prior to the surgery. Otherwise, it can interfere with your blood sugar levels during and after the surgery.
The side effects of oral and topical alpha-lipoic acid are generally mild. When taken orally the most commonly reported side effects are nausea, vomiting, heartburn, and headache. The mild rash can occur as a side effect when topical preparations of alpha-lipoic acid are used excessively.
INTERACTION OF ALPHA-LIPOIC ACID WITH OTHER MEDICATIONS
Just like any other chemical compound alpha-lipoic acid can also interact with drugs that you take for different medical conditions. Have a look at the below-mentioned interactions and consult your doctor before starting alpha-lipoic acid if you are also using any of these medications.
THYROID HORMONE AND ALPHA-LIPOIC ACID
Alpha-lipoic acid decreases the activity of thyroid hormone in your body. So if you have a thyroid problem then consult your physician before taking alpha-lipoic acid as it can decrease the effects of thyroid hormone.
ANTICOAGULANT AND ALPHA-LIPOIC ACID
Alpha-lipoic acid can slow down the ability of blood to clot. Anticoagulants have the same effect. If you take alpha-lipoic acid and anticoagulant at the same time then it can put you at the risk of bleeding and bruising.
ANTIDIABETIC DRUGS AND ALPHA-LIPOIC ACID
Alpha-lipoic acid can lower your blood sugar levels just like antidiabetic drugs do. In case you are taking these both then your blood sugar levels can take a dip. Hence, it is advised that you regularly monitor your blood sugar levels when consuming alpha-lipoic acid with antidiabetic medicines.
TO SUM UP
Skin is the most exposed part of your body and is, therefore, more vulnerable to be damaged by external factors. Skin is also prone to age-related changes. Apart from diet and lifestyle the other things that can prevent your skin from these harmful effects are supplements. One such supplement is the universal antioxidant alpha-lipoic acid.
When used routinely alpha-lipoic acid will prevent your skin from premature aging, damage by UV rays, and environmental pollutants. The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of this naturally occurring compound will also reduce scars, improve skin texture and make your skin look more youthful.
It’s recommended to consult with a doctor before taking alpha lipoic acid especially if you’re pregnant, breastfeeding, or taking medications for any underlying health conditions.