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The use of hydroxy acids on the skin: characteristics of C8-lipohydroxy acid


Dr Michèle Verschoore, MD, L’Oreal DGRD, Immeuble River Plaza, 25-29, Quai Aulagnier, 92600 Asnières, France. E-mail:


The hydroxy acids are widely used in skin creams because of their exfoliating and rejuvenating effect on photoaged skin. As a member of this family, the salicylic acid derivative known in the literature as 2-hydroxy-5-octanoyl benzoic acid or β-lipohydroxy acid has also been proposed as an exfoliant and as a treatment of photoaged skin and acne. This article reviews the effects of the hydroxy acids and compares them to those of the salicylic acid derivative. We propose the name C8-lipohydroxy acid (C8-LHA) for this derivative to differentiate it from other related compounds. The lipophilic nature of C8-LHA and its relatively slow penetration in the skin afford it an exfoliating effect that is efficient at low concentrations. It appears to have antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and anticomedogenic properties, which make it effective against acne. Its antifungal and exfoliating properties are also likely to prove useful in combating dandruff.