Tag Archives: Alpha Hydrox

Review: Alpha Hydrox Retinol ResQ


I got to know this product when I was reading Paula Begoun. I don’t agree with quite a number of her views (e.g. no to jar packaging, no to essential oils), so when I read her site, I take it with a pinch of salt. But if there’s one thing I really like about her website, is the comprehensive cosmetics ingredients list and their functions. It really does help to educate consumers and teach us to be more discerning. Last year, after reading so much about the benefits of anti-oxidants in skincare, I decided I want to try products with them to see how it works out. I zeroed in on the “Five Super Anti-Aging Antioxidants“:

  1. Vitamin E
  2. Vitamin C
  3. Resveratrol (found in red grapes and some berries)
  4. Retinol (a.k.a Vitamin A)
  5. Green Tea

After vitamin C, the easiest to get hold of is the Alpha Hydrox Retinol ResQ. It claims to contain vitamins A, C and E. The packaging has not been marked with the concentration of each ingredient. I can however guess that the concentration of vitamin C is very low, lower than the necessary 5% for it to do any change to the skin. When you open up the tube, there is a tiny trace of yellow residue near the opening, which is due to the oxidation of vitamin C. Compare this with the residue on La Roche-Posay Redermic C, which has 5% vitamin C, you can see the difference. Of course there should be allowance for different forms of vitamin C, but I guess in this case the difference is quite glaring.

I approached the product with caution after the horrible experience with the Alpha Hydrox AHA, and used the product for three nights along my neck, before I dared to apply it on my face. The product comes in a tube of scentless cream, which spreads and absorbs easily. I don’t find Retinol ResQ moisturizing enough on its own, so on days I wear this, I apply a layer of my regular moisturizer right before I go to bed.

I can’t pin point exact what it does to my face. The overall texture has improved, as well as the minor dehydration lines on my forehead, but then it may also be the effect of excellent moisturizers from Hanyul which I use more regularly than this. I don’t notice a “glow” or “reduction in pores” as some reviews have gushed. However, that may also be due to the fact that I only use it as an occasional treatment, used for several days in a row when I remember, rather than a daily moisturizer.

Will I repurchase this? It’s a little underwhelming, but if I cannot find another retinol product, then maybe I shall stick to this.


Alpha Hydrox 10% Glycolic AHA Enhanced Cream

Alpha Hydrox 10% Glycolic AHA Enhanced Cream 01I hopped onto the exfoliation bandwagon fairly late. I have normal skin, I breakout once every two years, and those are due to allergic reactions to products. I saw no reason to use exfoliants when they are mostly lauded for the management of acne and oily skin. Then came Cure Natural Aqua Peeling Gel. I saw how my face became so much smoother after the layers of skin came off, and I itched to get my hands on those AHAs/BHAs. I purchased Alpha Hydrox 10% Glycolic AHA Enhanced Cream together with Andalou Naturals Pumpkin Honey Glycolic Mask, both highly rated products on MUA.

The Product

Based on online reviews alone, I did not expect much difference between the two. Both rely on glycolic acid to slough off dead cells on skin surface. I was however more excited to try the Alpha Hydrox, as the Andalou did not label its product with the percentage of glycolic acid, while the Alpha Hydrox did. And I like it when my skincare appears to be clinical, scientific and specific. The Alpha Hydrox is supposed to:

  • Helps prevent fine lines & wrinkles
  • Refines texture & evens tone
  • Improves elasticity

Alpha Hydrox 10% Glycolic AHA Enhanced Cream 02

One day into using the Alpha Hydrox, I broke out along my entire jawline with pustules and papules. I have never gotten acne before, even in my teenage years I’ve been blessed with blemish free skin except for the occasional pimple or two.

“Purging”? “Detoxification”?

Breaking out after using the AHAs is supposedly part of the normal process of “purging” or “detoxification” after a quick google search. I didn’t know that organs other than the liver conduct the detox process, but I stuck with it. MUA loved it; Paula Begoun loved it; so it must work for me.

Two more uses on alternate days and the acne got worse, and I finally gave up. Alpha Hydrox is not working. The painful acne is not a result of “purging”. It’s my body begging me to stop. Either the concentration of glycolic acid is too high, or the cream contains something else that is irritating my skin.

I have not given up on exfoliants yet, the Andalou mask works beautifully and I’ looking forward to try other AHAs. But lesson learnt—a product that works for others may work poorly for me, and I should trust what my body is telling me.

Repurchase? No. I’m trying to finish up what I’ve left on my body, which thankfully is incapable of breaking out.

(If you’re in the US it’s easy to get hold of this. If you are elsewhere in the world good luck. I got this off drugstore.com, with a hefty shipping charge, oh well.)