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Understanding Alpha-Hydroxy Acids

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Abstract

This self-study activity has been developed for nurses, estheticians, and other health care professionals whose patients use alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA) products. Skin anatomy and physiology are reviewed and information is presented on the mechanisms of action of AHAs. Cosmetic and therapeutic benefits of AHA-containing products are detailed. Factors that influence the safety and effectiveness of AHA products are explored, including concentration, pH, and the amount of free acid present. A method is detailed for applying AHA-containing chemexfoliating agents, and guidelines are offered for taking a patient history, post-procedure skin care, and applying subsequent peels.

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