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  • Literature on AHA, BHA and retinol formulation

    Posted by SunSkin on September 30, 2020 at 12:09 am

    After almost two years of researching, working and experimenting with raw materials to formulate custom skin care basics for my personal use (i.e. face wash, moisturizer, makeup setting spray, different serums), I want to dive into the world of formulating with AHA, BHA and retinols.

    I know they’re ingredients for experienced formulators, which I definitely don’t consider myself to be, but I would love to get there someday. Which is why I want to approach this safely and do the appropriate research before getting into the actual practical formulating step. (Don’t worry, I do have access to a pH meter with 0.01 resolution and all the appropriate PPE at my place of work for when the time comes, however long that may be).

    But I’m kind of lost as to where would be a good idea to start my reading. Are there any articles, books, papers or resources that you would recommend on the subject? I’ve been searching up on the internet and haven’t been able to find information that isn’t too broad. I’m talking about the actual process of formulating with these ingredientes, aspects to keep in mind, precautions to take, anything that helps. They don’t necessarily have to be free resources, I’m willing to buy them if they’re available to me (Mexico). 

    Also, @Perry does your practical formulation course include a section about these ingredients in particular? Because I’m saving up to take it (the perks of having an intern salary  :D) regardless if it does or not, but it would be nice to know just how in depth it goes about them or if I would need additional resources to specialize in those ingredients.

    Thank you so much for all the work you guys put into this forum, you’re my real life heroes!

    SunSkin replied 3 years, 6 months ago 4 Members · 7 Replies
  • 7 Replies
  • J_Sig

    October 2, 2020 at 2:04 pm

    I just finished a project with AHAs. Some tips, make sure you check the stable pH range of your ingredients. AHAs drive a pH very low so you need to have thickeners and preservatives that can sustain activity (benzoic acid/sodium benzoate for example is a low pH preservative). Xanthan gum can also sustain low pH. You will need to add SODIUM Hydroxide to adjust at the end to bring it to at least pH 3. You should also include some additives to reduce irritation. PM me and I can give you a starting formula. The articles attached are some good reading.  Happy formulating :)

  • SunSkin

    October 4, 2020 at 5:59 am

    @J_Sig thank you so much! Will definitely PM you and check out those articles :smiley:

  • oldperry

    October 5, 2020 at 12:01 pm

    @SunSkin - yes, we do cover them in the formulation course but we go more in-depth in our raw material course.

  • dr-catherine-pratt

    October 7, 2020 at 10:41 am

    I would just start with Salicylic Acid & a fruit AHA. You could put these into clay masks which are popular & by mixing it into a clay mask you wouldn’t be so worried about them burning your face off!! 

    I would play with the AHA’s first then move onto retinol a whole other concern!!
    good luck! 
  • SunSkin

    October 9, 2020 at 2:27 pm

    Perry said:

    @SunSkin - yes, we do cover them in the formulation course but we go more in-depth in our raw material course.

    I can’t seem to find this course on your website, there’s an older post with a link but that just sends me to the Practical Formulating and Natural Cosmetics courses. 

    Would you mind sharing the course link with me? Thanks!

  • SunSkin

    October 9, 2020 at 10:26 pm

    In case anyone else is interested in this subject, I found this wonderful book. The title is a bit off as the book covers many other AHAs and not just Glycolic Acid, but it’s got some very nice explanations that are very easy to understand, and lots of references for further research. I will keep looking for information on all AHA related subjects and post it here when I find it. Enjoy!


  • SunSkin

    October 9, 2020 at 10:31 pm

    @”Dr Catherine Pratt” do clay masks have a particular characteristic that would prevent AHAs from irritating my skin? 

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