Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Glycolic Treatments: Alpha-H Liquid Gold & Paula's Choice RESIST Weekly Resurfacing Treatment with 10% AHA

After mentioning glycolic treatments and chemical exfoliators recently, a couple of readers emailed to ask if I have any experience with Alpha H Liquid Gold, which is somewhat of a cult product. As a matter of fact I do. I bought Alpha H Liquid Gold (and Alpha H Vitamin C serum) a couple of years ago when it was still available from ShopNBC. A little rummaging unearthed the still half full bottle. You can tell that it didn't knock my socks off.

Alpha H Liquid Gold is a liquid toner you smear on your thoroughly cleansed face and leave it to do its magic for any length of time between 10 minutes and overnight. The active ingredient is glycolic acid, a form of AHA. You're supposed to use Liquid Gold every other night, since it's quite potent. How strong? That's my problem with this product. Alpha H doesn't disclose the liquid's concentration which annoys me greatly. I didn't see much of an effect during the weeks I applied Liquid Gold religiously (other than over dried skin), which I attributed to the fact that I'm already a Retinol user, but who knows? In any case, I didn't find this product to be as phenomenal as I hoped it would be, and since it's a bit hard to find these days I wasn't going to go out of my way to immerse myself in Alpha H products (currently it's sold online on Beauty Bay, a retailer I don't trust, and directly from http://alpha-h.com, $61.50, 3.4oz).

Ingredients: Aqua, Alcohol Denat., Glycerin, Hydrolysed Silk, Glycolic Acid, Potassium Hydroxide, Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol, Glycyrrhiza Glabra Extract.

Prior to experimenting with Liquid Gold I've been a devoted user of Paula's Choice RESIST anti-aging series. I've had the Weekly Resurfacing Treatment for a long time, but I admit to not being very consistent with it: it's easy to forget to do it once a week. But after my dissatisfaction with the Alpha H product I renewed my commitment to Paula, who lets us know that this treatment is a 10% acid (glycolic). Another important bit of information on the  Paula's Choice webiste:
If you're using a prescription retinoid product (i.e. Renova) apply the exfoliant first and allow it to set, then apply the retinoid product. Follow with a serum and/or moisturizer.
So while you're not supposed to combine exfoliants on the same night, if you use a prescription one you can still apply it after the AHA treatment.

As for results, I can see an improved texture when I use RESIST overnight. Ten minutes is too little for me, but several hours bring on renewed radiance and a smoother surface. This product is a winner for me ($30, 2oz, paulaschoice.com).

Ingredients: Water, Methylpropanediol (slip agent/penetration enhancer), Glycolic Acid (alpha hydroxy acid/exfoliant), Butylene Glycol (slip agent), Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice (water-binding agent), Sodium Hydroxide (pH adjuster), Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf Extract (antioxidant), Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate (vitamin C/antioxidant), Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract (anti-irritants), Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Extract (antioxidant),Arctium Lappa (Burdock) Root Extract, Avena Sativa (Oat) Kernel Extract (anti-irritants), Borago Officinalis (Borage) Extract, Boerhavia Diffusa Root Extract (antioxidants), Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract (anti-irritant), Lamium Album (White Nettle) Flower Extract (antioxidant), Salix Nigra (Willow) Bark Extract, Salix Alba (Willow) Bark Extract, Ulmus Fulva (Slippery Elm) Bark Extract (anti-irritants), Glycerin (skin-identical ingredient), Allantoin (anti-irritant) Propylene Glycol (solvent), Tetrasodium EDTA (chelating agent), Phenoxyethanol (preservative).


  1. Why don't you trust Beautybay? Yeah, I'm also bummed about the % non-disclosure - although I've never emailed the company to find out.

    I have the liquid gold and use it about once a week. Every other day is too much exfoliation IMHO! Personally, I don't find the results any different to any other concentrated glycolic exfoliants (in liquid or pad form).

  2. I've been trying to find the difference between these two glycolic products. It *is* frustrating Alpha-H doesn't list the concentrations. I have tried only the PC version, which has another two pros going for it: no denatured alcohol and far less expensive. Has your opinion on the two changed since this post? Have you found a glycolic that supersedes the aforementioned products?

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