How Does Alpha-Lipoic Acid Benefit Your Skin?


by Ravi Teja Tadimalla

Having soft and supple skin that stays vibrant and wrinkle-free through the years is a dream for many. Yes, aging is a natural process we should embrace with grace. But radiant and glowing skin is more than just a mark of beauty – it symbolizes health and vitality.

Accepting our bodies as we glide through the years while taking the best care of our skin is the ultimate sign of self-love. Including alpha-lipoic acid in your skincare routine is an easy and effective method of maintaining your skin’s youthfulness and beauty.

What exactly is alpha-lipoic acid? How can it benefit your skin? Read to explore further.

What Is Alpha-Lipoic Acid?

Alpha-lipoic acid, also known as lipoic acid, ALA, or thioctic acid, is an antioxidant. It is believed to have numerous beneficial properties. It is found naturally in the liver and kidney of animals, and vegetables like spinach, broccoli, and potatoes. This vitamin-like chemical is also made in the laboratory for use as medicine.

Alpha-lipoic acid is often used in drugs for treating certain types of diabetes-related pains (1). It has versatile uses and can be consumed orally as well as applied topically.

Let us take a look at the various benefits alpha-lipoic acid can offer to your skin.

Alpha-Lipoic Acid Benefits For Skin

Alpha-lipoic acid is extensively used in skincare and cosmetology owing to its perceived anti-aging properties. Some research suggests it can make your skin glow and feel smooth in the following ways:

  • Protects Against Free Radicals

As it is a powerful antioxidant, alpha-lipoic acid neutralizes harmful free radicals(1). Free radicals could damage your skin.

  • Delays The Signs Of Aging

Alpha-lipoic acid may delay the appearance of facial aging (2). In another study, alpha-lipoic acid dispersions were found to reduce fine lines and wrinkles and promote skin texture in volunteers (3).

  • Makes Your Skin Visibly Radiant

Topical application of products with alpha-lipoic acid may improve your skin’s overall health and appearance. By fighting against the signs of aging and exposure to environmental pollutants, alpha-lipoic acid can make your skin visibly clearer and smoother.

  • May Protect Against UV Rays

Anecdotal evidence suggests that alpha-lipoic acid may protect your skin from ultraviolet (UV) rays. This benefit could be attributed to the acid’s antioxidant properties.

  • Soothes And Nourishes Dry Skin

Dry skin is more prone to damage and needs intensive care to look healthy and nourished. Using alpha-lipoic acid on dry skin may work wonders to make it soft, smooth, and supple. However, more research is warranted in this regard.

  • May Reduce Skin Damage From Smoking

Smoking can cause oxidative stress that damages your skin (4). It is believed that topical application of alpha-lipoic acid may help reduce this damage.

  • Could Be Suitable For Sensitive Skin

Alpha-lipoic acid is good news for those with sensitive skin. It seldom irritates your skin or causes redness or breakouts.

We now know the benefits of alpha-lipoic acid for the skin. But is it suitable for everyone? Find out below.

Is Alpha-Lipoic Acid Suitable For All Skin Types?

Yes, alpha-lipoic acid is gentle enough to be used on any skin type.

If you want to revitalize your skin, improve its texture, fight acne, or prevent premature signs of aging, alpha-lipoic acid is exactly what you need. Its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties soothe your skin and reduce acne symptoms.

Anecdotal evidence suggests that regular use of alpha-lipoic acid might help lighten pigmentation. This gentle and beneficial ingredient is something people with all skin types can benefit from.

That said, could alpha-lipoic acid have any adverse effects too? Let us understand the same in the next section.

Potential Side Effects Of Using Alpha-Lipoic Acid

Alpha-lipoic acid is generally considered safe and gentle with a low risk of side effects. However, since it is a detoxifying enzyme, it may cause your skin to purge during the initial use and lead to breakouts. Do not worry if this happens – the purging stops within a few days of initial use.

When taken in the recommended doses, it rarely causes any adverse effects. But if taken in higher doses, it may lead to symptoms like nausea or rashes. These effects could be more pronounced in the elderly (5). Extremely high doses may lead to oxidation, though there is no research to support this. Some products with a high concentration of alpha-lipoic acid may lead to redness or skin irritation.

If you are new to it, it is recommended you incorporate alpha-lipoic acid gradually into your skincare routine. Pregnant women and children should consult a healthcare provider before taking this antioxidant.

How To Use Alpha-Lipoic Acid In Your Skincare Routine

As a skincare ingredient, alpha-lipoic acid is extremely versatile. It is both water- and fat-soluble and can be consumed in the form of supplements or applied topically in the forms of creams and gels.

While alpha-lipoic acid is made in the human body, it is produced only in minute quantities. Some foods may also contain this acid. But supplementation is believed to be the best way of optimizing its intake. It is best to take alpha-lipoic supplements on an empty stomach.

For those looking to incorporate alpha-lipoic acid in your skincare routine through topical application, you can go for creams, gels, moisturizers, and serums containing the ingredient after consulting your doctor.

We have listed a couple of popular products containing alpha-lipoic acid. Check them below.

Best Alpha-Lipoic Acid Skin Products

Go to any supermarket, and the beauty aisles are lined up with an array of serums, face creams, and moisturizers with alpha-lipoic acid. But which are the best? We have picked them for you!

  1. The Reviva Labs Alpha Lipoic Acid Vitamin C Ester and DMAE Cream is enriched with aloe vera and essential skin vitamins. These nutrients fight free radicals that damage your skin. They also repair past damage. Enjoy clear, flawless skin with a healthy glow with regular use.
  2. For those looking for a 100% vegan, cruelty-free product, the DERMA-E Firming DMAE Moisturizer Alpha Lipoic Acid & C-Ester is a must-have. This nourishing cream hydrates your skin and helps delay the common signs of aging. It makes your skin smooth and vibrant.

Closing Thoughts

With potent antioxidant and anti-aging properties, alpha-lipoic acid is an ingredient you should incorporate into your skincare routine. It is readily absorbed into the skin and keeps it supple, soft, and hydrated.

Choose from a range of alpha-lipoic acid skin creams, gels, and serums that have been developed for your specific skin type. More importantly, increase your intake of fresh fruits and vegetables to nourish your skin from within.

Expert’s Answers For Readers’ Questions

Is alpha-lipoic acid safe for the skin?

Yes, it is generally considered safe for most skin types.

Can I use retinol with alpha-lipoic acid?

Yes, retinol is perfectly safe to be used with alpha-lipoic acid.

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Ravi Teja Tadimalla

Ravi Teja Tadimalla is an editor and a published author. He graduated from SRM University, Chennai, and has been in the digital media field for over six years. He has a Professional Certificate in Food, Nutrition & Research from Wageningen University. He considers himself a sculptor born to chip away at content and reveal its dormant splendor. He started his career as a research writer, primarily focusing on health and wellness, and has over 250 articles to his credit. Ravi believes in the great possibilities of abundant health with natural foods and organic supplements. Reading and theater are his other interests.
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