by Sarah Taylor

The next generation of AHA's to restore youthful Skin

Alpha hydroxyl acids have dominated the skin care market now for the past two to three decades introducing ever more powerful acid complexes to exfoliate skin. The promise was to stimulate new cell growth leaving a smoother more youthful skin.   Many skin care companies embraced AHA’s and retinols in the fight against wrinkles and ageing skin.   However, in the rush to differentiate themselves in the marketplace, these companies added greater concentration of AHA’s to their formulas ranging from 5 and 10% in the beginning to 70% and more with the promise that more is better.

The problem with this approach is evident to us: Over exfoliation leads to over-processed skin; and this can lead to irreversible skin damage.   Now out of South Africa comes a new generation of AHA’s extracted from the Hibiscus Flower. These ‘flower acids’ are more than acids. They are a highly complex pure extract of the hibiscus flower comprising a wide variety of acids as well as powerful antioxidants.   The result is a multi-functional ingredient that gently promotes exfoliation while nourishing the skin with protective antioxidants with anti-inflammatory properties to strengthen the skin’s support matrix and firm the skin.



SYKEA Skincare recognised the need for a less invasive approach to skin regeneration by creating a strong flower acid peel within a seaweed polysaccharide delivery system. The result is a peel without the burn with the objective of skin firming. Here is a breakdown of the unique Phyto-chemistry of Flower Acids.

  • Bio-Complex of alpha hydroxyl acids—Phytic, Pyruvic, Mandelic and Azaleic which provide a gentle exfoliation while stimulating collagen synthesis
  • Polyphenols are powerful antioxidants. Tee et al. 2002 assessed the antioxidant properties of Hibiscus by comparing its activity with those of BHA and b-carotene
  • Anthocyanins (deep purple pigment in the flower) are a major component of hibiscus that reduce oxidative stress on DNA and act as a sunscreen in absorbing UV rays (Duhn et al, 1997)

Compared to conventional AHA’s, flower acids from hibiscus are:

  • 50% more hydrating
  • 20% greater cellular turnover than AHA’s and salicylic acid
  • 30% reduction in appearance of wrinkles by inhibiting elastase and hyaluronidase breakdown of connective tissue
  • Anti-Inflammatory properties exhibiting an absence of the ‘burn’ (Levy and Goldschmidt 1979)
  • Ironically, this has been somewhat problematic in convincing customers of its efficacy. The lack of a burning sensation leads some to assume that the product is ‘not working’ as it should. But that is a misconception. The Pyruvic acid being a second-generation acid exhibits greater keratolytic properties like the properties found in salicylic acid. This acid dissolves proteins responsible for cell adhesion due to its higher keratolytic effects more effectively than lactic acid.   Moreover, as these acids are formulated into a seaweed polysaccharide base extracted from Laminaria and Fucus algae, the non-irritating benefits are enhanced.
  • The Flower Acids of SYKEA Skincare augmented by the marine algae polysaccharides have numerous applications in the treatment of blemishes and helps relieve the symptoms of rosacea, eczema and psoriasis to calm inflammation and restore stronger, more youthful looking skin.