Here's another reminder that effective skincare doesn't need to come in glamorous packaging from names known for their high fashion and/or luxury perfumes. Makeup Artist's Choice is a line famous for some very potent acid peels. Some of the stuff they offer is downright scary and should not be used by non-professionals, and even their milder acids need to be handled with extra care. But the Gly-Luronic Acid Serum is a gem for those seeking a good AHA exfoliator that's more heavy duty than most stuff on the market, yet does not cause excessive drying and peeling.
MUAC combined a 15% glycolic acid (compare to the excellent Paula's Choice Resist Resurfacing Treatment which offers 10% AHA or the 12% Souffle from Alpha Hydrox) with 50% hyaluronic acid, which is a powerful humectant, antioxidant, stimulating agent for collagen synthesis-- all good things that promote hydration, anti-inflammation, and skin healing. Thus, as strong and effective as the glycolic acid in the Gly-Luronic serume, it's still a gentle product.
The result of a semi-frequent use of MUAC Gly-Luronic serum is first and foremost brighter skin. It chemically exfoliates the outer layer, revealing healthier skin underneath, but without the telltale flaking that often accompanies stronger acid peels. AHAs are good for various skin concerns, from sun damage and loss of firmness to mild acne (though it's not as effective as deep-reaching BHA). Combined with hyaluronic acid the serum is a very convincing option if you're taking a break from other peels, retinoids, or just don't want to go there just yet.
Makeup Artist's Choice Gly-Luronic Acid Serum is a slightly tacky liquid that sticks nicely to the skin without showing any residue. It can sting a little and should never ever (ever) be applied to cut or broken skin-- I had a drop touch a cat scratch on my hand and that was enough for a lifetime. Frequent use reduces the prickling sensation, but as with any skincare products you need to make sure you're sensitive to the stuff. Also, AHAs make skin extra vulnerable to sun damage and burning, so a religious use of high SPFs is non-negotiable (but you do that anyway at all times, right? ). I let the serum dry before layering a good moisturizer on top. I suspect that those who don't suffer any dryness and/or live in a humid climate me find the hyaluronic acid hydrating enough.
Ingredients: Deionized Water, Glycolic Acid Ultrapure (buffered w/ Ammonium Hydroxide), Aloe Vera Gel, Sodium Hyaluronate (Hyaluronic Acid), Ethoxydiglycol, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Benzyl Alcohol (Preservative), Methylisothiazolinone (Preservative)
Makeup Artist's Choice Gly-Luronic Acid Serum ($26, 1 oz, you can also purchase a generous sized sample for $8) is available from makeupartistschoice.com.
Image: detail from a 1950s Revlon ad.