If you’ve ever read the ingredients list of your favorite skincare products, you may be wondering what all of the different ingredients actually do, and why they’ve been included in the product. In this guide, we’ll discuss alpha lipoic acid, an antioxidant that’s commonly found in a wide variety of creams, lotions, face masks, and other skincare products.
This post may contain affiliate links. Read the full disclosure here
- What Is Alpha Lipoic Acid?
- Alpha Lipoic Acid Skin Care Benefits
- Is Alpha Lipoic Acid Vegan?
- Is Alpha Lipoic Acid Safe In Skincare?
- Best Alpha Lipoic Acid Products
- Also Known As
- Frequently Asked Questions
What Is Alpha Lipoic Acid?
Alpha lipoic acid, or ALA for short, is a an enzyme that your body naturally creates. It’s used for cellular functions like energy production. If you’re healthy, your body can create all the ALA it needs. However, if you struggle with health issues such as diabetes, you may need supplements to boost production.
ALA can be found in a lot of different foods including red meat and organ meats, spinach, tomatoes, Brussels sprouts, and broccoli, to name just a few. For use in skincare, it’s synthetically formulated in a lab using a variety of different chemicals.
Alpha Lipoic Acid Skin Care Benefits
After understanding what it is, you’re likely wondering what alpha lipoic acid is does for your skin? It’s touted to be an effective anti-aging ingredient with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. It’s a natural exfoliate which encourages cell turnover. This helps give you a fresh, even, brighter tone. Bye bye dull skin.
Alpha lipoic acid is used in skin care because it’s a potent antioxidant. This means that it can prevent and treat damage to the skin from free radicals, which can cause premature aging.
Improves Skin Tone and Texture
ALA can help firm and tone the skin. In addition, it can reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, improving the overall appearance and texture of your skin.
While it doesn’t physically shrink pores, it can help tighten and tone skin to minimize the appearance of pores.
ALA has exfoliant properties. When used on its own or as part of a cleanser, it can help remove damaged and dead skin cells from the outside of your face, improving the texture of your skin and creating a bright, smooth appearance. It’s also gentle enough for dry and sensitive skin.
Anti Inflammatory Properties
Alpha lipoic acid has anti inflammatory properties that can help soothe and calm the skin. It may help reduce irritation and redness from acne, blemishes, and skin allergies.
Is Alpha Lipoic Acid Vegan?
Yes. While ALA is found in some types of meat, animal sources are not used to synthesize alpha lipoic acid in laboratory settings. This is where ALA is derived for use in cosmetics and skincare products, so alpha lipoic acid is vegan and cruelty-free.
Naturally, you should always check the packaging of any skincare product to ensure that it only uses vegan ingredients, including alpha lipoic acid.
Is Alpha Lipoic Acid Safe In Skincare?
When used in concentrations of less than 5-10%, alpha lipoic acid is completely safe in skincare. However, high concentrations (>10%) can cause a stinging or burning sensation on the skin.
Most commercially-available products contain a relatively low concentration of ALA, however, so this will not be a concern unless you purchase a highly-concentrated product that contains pure alpha lipoic acid.
In addition, it is highly photosensitive. Products high in ALA should be applied at night, since exposure to light causes the substance to break down quickly.
Best Alpha Lipoic Acid Products
Now that you’ve learned all about Alpha Lipoic Acid you’re likely wondering how to get your hands on the best products. Who doesn’t want a more even tone and a brighter healthy complexion?
The Ordinary Alpha Lipoic Acid 5% – Best Alpha Lipoic Acid Serum
The Ordinary is making a name for providing pure, high concentration, no-fluff skincare products at crazy affordable prices. This serum gives you 5% Alpha Lipoic Acid in a water-free product with a clean ingredient profile. It offers the following benefits:
- Gently exfoliates for brighter, even complexion
- Reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles
- Reduce the appearance of hyperpigmentation and uneven tone
5% is considered a high-concentration of Alpha Lipoic Acid. Since this high concentration exfoliates the skin, you should only use it 2-3 times per week. Using every day may lead to sensitivity or irritation.
A’kin Intense Hydration Day and Night Cream – Best Alpha Lipoic Cream
A’kin is an Australian natural skincare company. This lovely cream offers a nice blend of powerful antioxidants and deeply moisturizing ingredients. Replenish skin hydration, reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, and promote healthy glowing skin.
This nourishing cream contains organic shea butter, rosehip seed oil, alpha lipoic acid (thioctic acid), jojoba seed oil, avocado oil, sorbitol, echium plantagineum seed oil, bisabolol, hyaluronic acid, aloe leaf juice, and more. The ingredient profile is clean and this product has clinical results to back it up.
86% agreed skin in hydrated all day & replenished overnight
85% of users agreed skin felt deeply nourished after one use
81% of users would recommend this product to a friend
These results are based on an independant self-assessment study.
Also Known As
ALA and A-Lipoic Acid. Alpha lipoic acid is also sometimes called thioctic acid, and these are the two most common names for this ingredient. In some cases, it may also be referred to as Acetate Replacing Factor, Biletan, Thioctan, or Lipoicin.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some of the most commonly asked alpha lipoic acid skincare questions.