The power of AHA’s.

Topically applied, AHA’s ( Alpha Hydroxy Acids) can be naturally derived from fruits, plants and nuts but today are mostly synthetically produced. The most popular are Glycolic and Lactic which are especially suited for home application because they are less irritating. However spa protocols often include a combination of other AHA’s such as Mandelic, Citric, Tartaric and Malic.

Used to treat wrinkles, sun damage, age spots, pigmentation and acne, AHA’s gently exfoliate unnecessary dead skin cells on the surface of the skin that build up over time. This increases blood flow and allows for better product penetration.When used continuously Glycolic Acid in particular can brighten the skin and lighten pigmentation. It can also balance pH. Long term use has helped to reduce the appearance of scar tissue and can soften the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

For home use most AHA formulas contain 10% or less of the active ingredient. In the spa this percentage is often increased depending on the blend of AHA’s being used and also on the results that are required. Of course skin sensitivity is also taken into account.

It is really essential to use a daily SPF of at least 30 when using any products that contain Alpha Hydroxy Acids because they all make the skin much more susceptible to the sun and increase the likelihood of burning.

By applying toners, serums and/or creams to skin containing these ingredients you can improve the health and appearance of your skin significantly and ensure that healthy, youthful glow that we all yearn for.

We all tend to commit to a refreshed resolve at the beginning of each year regarding our diets and life style. And I have already blogged about many aspects of how to go about this. So I thought a quick re-cap and a short plan of action might be timely.

Sugar Busting.

Sugar is now considered by many experts to be a key factor in aging because of the additional free radical activity it causes and because of its ability to deplete the immune system by reducing the germ gobbling capacity of our white blood cells.

So the first step to getting healthy for 2013 is to cut back on sugar. Start by reading food packages to check the glycemic index they contain. This includes everything from ‘healthy’ juices to bread. Sugar shows up in surprising places so you really have to develop some serious sleuthing techniques. Try to eliminate as much starch and as many simple carbohydrates as possible.

Load up on vegetables and fruits, particularly apples and berries, and if you crave something really sweet, stick to dark chocolate. For more information on sugar and the effect it has on our bodies read my blog “The not so sweet side of Sugar”.

Guzzle, guzzle, guzzle.


Take some time out from alcohol. This is another source of sugar that really works the liver so to detox well we have to give the liver a break. Start each day with a big glass of water – room temperature or warm with a squirt of fresh lemon in it. Continue to drink water throughout the day.

Limit the amount of caffeine you drink – maybe to one caffeinated beverage a day – supplement with fruit teas, green tea, dandelion tea and ginger root. Juicing is a great way to cleanse out inner organs. Celery, kale, cucumber, watercress and beetroot are fabulous diuretics and these same vegetables can also be made in to a nourishing soup.

Take those vitamins.


Everyone tends to have a certain regimen in place but to start the New Year off on the right foot, check you have included C, zinc, the B family (particularly 5 and 12), fish oils, milk thistle and a good probiotic in the mix (make sure the cultures in the probiotic number in the trillions).

Keep moving.


We live in a great place for getting out into nature if you are not a gym rat or like attending classes. Mix things up to keep it interesting – 3-4 times a week for at least 40 minutes for maintenance; more often if you have some pounds to lose.

Rest up and play lots.

Check out my most recent blog “Sleeping beauty (How sleep affects your skin)” to bone up on the importance of sleep and how it affects your skin and the aging process. But bear in mind, rest is just as important. Cultivate hobbies and interests outside of work, like reading and gardening. Schedule social time with friends and loved ones and quiet time and spa time for yourself.

Your mind is a powerful tool. When you feel your life is in balance because you are working, resting and living well, you feel more positive about everything. It has been proven that optimists live longer so I really recommend you make the effort to treat yourself with care. I guarantee your efforts will result in more energy, a slimmer waistline and a more focused, fulfilled and happier life.

According to the experts, we don’t establish our circadian rhythms until we are about six weeks old. That’s about the time when babies can hold more milk in their bellies to sleep longer periods. Sleep helps us fight illness, manage stress AND keeps our skin youthful and fresh.

When we are tired, our skin will look tired too. Lines deepen and look more ingrained, the complexion looks dull and eyes are often shadowed. When we get enough rest the sleep hormone, MELATONIN, is able to go to work. It lowers blood pressure and core body temperature, regulates hormonal levels and increases our alertness the next day. Just losing one hour of sleep a night can reduce day-time attentiveness by one third.

And to add insult to injury, because the lack of sleep interferes with ghrelin and leptin – the eat and don’t eat buttons in our bodies – we tend to snack irregularly and eat more sugary and starchy foods. This leads to a spike in our sugar levels, creating glycation and inflammation. Check out my recent blog “The Not So Sweet Side of Sugar“. This can age us very rapidly, create break-outs, wrinkles, rosacea, dryness, and even depression and chronic illness.

So, if you can get eight hours of sleep a night – perfect. If not, try napping. Recent studies have established that just a short nap can clear and recharge the brain just as effectively as a longer sleep. Your eyes and skin will be brighter and you will be more productive each and every day.