Alpha lipoic acid (ALA) has been shown experimentally to be a universally soluble and powerful antioxidant, as well as a “rejuvenator” of other antioxidants. This means that the compound is able to mop up damaging free radicals in its own right and improve the efficiency of other antioxidants that are part of the body’s defense system. One area of the body that shows obvious signs of deterioration due to the action of free radicals is the skin. For this reason alone, ALA should be part of everyone’s skin-care regime.
We take for granted that, as we age, our skin becomes inflexible, less supple, and, consequently, wrinkled. Part of the reason for this is the process of glycation, in which an excess of glucose in our system reacts with proteins like collagen to make them less functional. Alpha lipoic acid, because of its role in glucose metabolism, has been shown to be able to reduce the extent of glycation that occurs, and thus, theoretically, to preserve the skin’s flexibility.
It has also been claimed that abundant levels of alpha lipoic acid in skin tissue will optimize skin health by maximizing cell efficiency and energy production.
For all the above reasons, alpha lipoic acid is currently being touted as an exciting new skin-care solution. At this stage, there is not a lot of clinical data to support the claim, but the limited research available and anecdotal evidence do support the theoretical arguments.
One study showed that mild-to-moderate wrinkles were reduced by up to 50 percent, and also that fine lines were significantly reduced. Another study reported that alpha lipoic acid was responsible for improving the appearance of a type of scarring. A further benefit was that ALA proved to be less irritating to the skin than some other currently used treatments. It should be noted that there was a significant variation in effectiveness between subjects in both trials, so alpha lipoic acid will not be a miracle cure for everybody.