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Alpha Hydroxy Acid

Alpha hydroxy acid is a naturally occurring acid found in certain foods such as the well known citric acid that is found in citrus fruits, lactic acid from milk, glycolic acid from sugar cane, tartaric acid from grapes, malic acid from apples and more.

Commonly known as a moisturizing topical skin agent, and often as an ingredient utilized in many anti-aging products, alpha hydroxy acid has other uses as well. For example, it is used in the application of malic acid orally in tandem with magnesium for treating the pain and tenderness that comes with fibromyalgia. As a topical agent and compounded medication, alpha hydroxy acid is used for moisturizing, removing dead skin cells, and improving the skin's appearance in aging skin, acne-scarred skin, dry and scaly skin, and melasma (darkening skin).

How to Use Alpha Hydroxy Acid

Clean the target area and pat dry before applying product. As a cream or lotion, follow product packaging directions carefully and apply sparingly, dissolving product into skin slowly by massaging the area/product gently.

Consult with your compounding pharmacist for suggestions on how to get the best results for your individual condition.

Potential Side Effects

Alpha hydroxy acid in concentrations of 10% or less are generally safe for use for most people. Use of an alpha hydroxy acid product in concentrations greater than 10% should only be used while under the care of a dermatologist.

Some users may experience mild swelling, redness, irritation, itching, or skin discoloration. Contact your physician if these side effects persist or worsen over time.


Do not take malic acid if you are pregnant, planning a pregnancy or breast feeding.

Do not use alpha hydroxy acid lotions or creams with a concentration of greater than 10%, or lotions or creams containing any alphy hydroxy acid in concentrations greater than 10% if you are pregnant, planning a pregnancy, or breast feeding.

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