Alpha Lipoic Acid for Skin

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.

Ingredient TypeSynthetic
UsesAntioxidant, anti-aging, even skin tone
Safety This ingredient is safe for all skin types

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.

What Are The Uses & Benefits Of Alpha Lipoic Acid In Skincare?

Wondering why alpha lipoic acid is used in skin care? Its touted to be an effective anti-aging ingredient with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.

  • Antioxidant properties – 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.
  • Shrink pores – This ingredient can help tighten and tone skin and minimize the appearance of pores.
  • Exfoliation – 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.
Alpha Lipoic Acid top skin care benefits

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.

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.