One of the most versatile components of modern cosmetics is the alpha hydroxy acid found in sugar cane: glycolic acid.  With the smallest molecule of all AHAs, glycolic acid is considered by many researchers to be the most adaptable for cosmetic purposes.  Continued use of glycolic acid formulations have proven to improve skin tone, smooth fine lines, manage acne, unblock pores, and reduce discolorations.  While in ancient times, women applied old wine and sour milk to their skin to enhance its appearance, today women have NeoStrata.


NeoStrata Lotion plus AHA 15 ($28) is what planted the seed in my mother's (cosmetically experimental) mind to apply Glytone Ultra Heel and Elbow Cream to her face.  Recommended by her dermatologist years ago as a way to exfoliate her skin, NeoStrata Lotion now reigns supreme as my mother's all-time favorite skin product.  Several nights per week, she rubs the lotion all over her face and decolletage and swears that she sees real results the following morning.

Removing excess buildup of dead skin cells on the surface, NeoStrata exfoliates quietly without the visible redness and flaking that often accompany AHA products.  You might find yourself more red and flaky after any given usage depending on your "time of the month" or current skin condition.  Because I adhere to the adage, "No pain, no gain," I tend to appreciate visible signs that confirm a cosmetic product is working.

Whereas drugstore and department store formulations typically contain 1% to 5% AHA, NeoStrata touts 15%.  This high concentration of glycolic acid is balanced out by an adjusted pH of 3.7, which drops below the normal skin surface pH of 4.2-5.6.  Because 15% AHA can yield harsh effects (from temporary stinging to burning) on untrained skin, NeoStrata's extra strength lotion should only be used after sustained treatment with a milder AHA cream.  AHA concentrations of 20% or higher are typically limited to trained cosmetologists for in-salon chemical peels.  Unlike the non-invasive application of AHA creams, these types of procedures reach beyond the stratum corneum into the living epidermis, thus remodeling the skin.

As one of the most highly rated over-the-counter products for regular exfoliation, NeoStrata Lotion plus AHA 15 is an excellent at-home alternative to dermabrasion or chemical peels, which often leave skin looking and feeling like it suffered a second degree sunburn.  With regular use, NeoStrata rewards your skin with a clearer, healthier, and more refined texture.  This powerful lotion, however, is not for virgin skin.  You will have to consult your physician before testing its potency, and I can assure that you will be happy you did.

For full ingredients:

Water (Aqua), Glycolic Acid, Propylene Glycol, Stearic Acid,
Ammonium Hydroxide, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Glyceryl Stearate, PEG-100 Stearate,
PEG-40 Stearate, Isopropyl Palmitate, Cetyl Alcohol, Sorbitan Stearate,
Magnesium Aluminum Silicate, Cholesterol, Stearamidopropyl Dimethylamine,
Isostearic Acid, Dimethicone, Petrolatum, Tetrasodium EDTA


Translation: Beyond the singular active ingredient (glycolic acid), there are agents for mositurizing (propylene glycol), thickening (hydroxyethylcellulose), and emulsifying (glyceryl stearate and PEG-100), as well as some that accomplish all three (ie. isopropyl palmitate and cetyl alcohol). Ammonium hydroxide, which is used to adjust the pH in skin peel products, and peg-40, an emulsifier, can both be mild irritants.  Cholesterol is a good thing here, helping to maintain the skin's normal function.