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Alpha Skin Care

Essential Renewal Cream 10% AHA

2.00 fl. oz. for $ 14.99
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Brand Overview

Continuing in its line of drugstore AHA options, Alpha Skin Care's Essential Renewal Cream 10% AHA is a good leave-on exfoliant, though lacking in a few areas (which is why it doesn't earn our highest rating).

This cream is remarkably lightweight, with an almost soufflé-like texture that absorbs quickly, providing an immediate softening effect. It's moisturizing enough for dry skin, but not too emollient, so it's also suitable for those with more oily skin.

The main selling point of this fragrance-free cream is its 10% concentration of the alpha hydroxy acid glycolic acid, and there's good news on that front: It's formulated at a pH of 3.73, ensuring it will exfoliate as claimed. As for other ingredients, though there is nothing potentially irritating included, it lacks a range of other beneficial co-stars such as antioxidants which are present in other Alpha Skin Care exfoliants and which would make this closer to being a top-tier option.

Another drawback is the product's packaging: It's in a jar. This isn't as much of a concern in this case because AHAs aren't as sensitive to light and air as antioxidants are (and there are no antioxidants in this formula). Still, there's a hygiene issue with jars and water-based formulas—inserting your fingers into the product can introduce bacteria into the cream. See More Info for details on why jar packaging isn't ideal for skincare products.

Note: This product was formerly available as 10% Glycolic AHA Enhanced Cream when the brand was known as Alpha Hydrox.

Pros:
  • Lightweight cream absorbs easily.
  • Softens with a non-greasy finish.
  • Features 10% AHA at a pH that ensures exfoliation.
  • Fragrance free.
Cons:
  • Lacks a broader range of beneficial ingredients.
  • Packaged in a jar.
More Info:Jar Packaging & Basic Moisturizers: While jar packaging is never ideal, basic moisturizing ingredients are less susceptible to the stability issues related to exposure to light and air. Thus, when a product (such as a balm or moisturizer) claims only to moisturize dry skin—and does not make anti-aging promises—the type of packaging has less influence on its ability to live up to its claims.

With moisturizers like this one, factors like an exceptional formula may help push them to a "good" or "excellent" rating, despite being packaged in a jar (but never to "top star" status).

Jars, however, can be unsanitary because you're dipping your fingers (or a spatula) into them with each use, adding bacteria. If you prefer a bottle or tube, not to worry, there are plenty to choose from in the Best Products section of Beautypedia!

Jar Packaging: Yes
Tested on animals: No

Essential Renewal Cream is formulated with 10% Glycolic AHA which works by gently releasing dead skin cells allowing new, fresh, healthier skin to come to the surface.

Water, Glycolic Acid, Glyceryl Stearate, PEG 100 Stearate, Ammonium Hydroxide, Cetyl Alcohol, Propylene Glycol, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Stearic Acid, PEG-40 Stearate, Cyclomethicone, Polyacrylamide, C13-14 Isoparaffin, Laureth-7, Glyceryl Dilaurate, Polysorbate 60, Xanthan Gum, Sorbic Acid, Magnesium Aluminum Silicate, Imidazolidinyl Urea, BHT.

Known primarily for their well-formulated AHA products, Alpha Skin Care (formerly Alpha Hydrox) recently got an impressive image update. Along with a new name, they've also revamped their products. Although the improvements were more visual and packaging-related than formulary-driven, the fact remains that Alpha Skin Care has a formidable range of effective AHA products, all with definitively researched glycolic acid. Kudos to the company for continuing to be direct about the AHA content (and pH) of their exfoliants, something most other lines selling AHA products prefer to keep a mystery.

Should the folks behind this brand choose to go back to the drawing board once again, they would do well to reconsider their current jar packaging if they intend to keep adding antioxidants and other beneficial ingredients to their efficacious but still predominantly basic products. Until then, you can rely on Alpha Skin Care for supplying AHA products that really work, and a few other surprises too, all affordably priced and readily available.

For more information about Alpha Skin Care, call 1-800-447-1919 and select option 1 or visit www.neotericcosmetics.com/.

About the Experts

The Beautypedia team consists of skin care and makeup experts personally trained by the original Cosmetics Cop and best-selling beauty author, Paula Begoun. We’re fascinated by skin care and makeup products and thrilled when they meet or exceed our expectations, but we’re also disappointed when they fail to perform as claimed, are wildly overpriced, or contain ingredients scientific research has proven can hurt skin.

Our mission has always been to help you find the best products for your skin, no matter your budget or preferences. Beautypedia’s thorough and insightful reviews cut through the hype and provide reliable recommendations for all ages, skin types, and skin tones.

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