Maltobionic Acid, The Exfoliant Your Skin’s Going to Thank You For

maltobionic acid for skin

With the discovery and the ever-increasing use of polyhydroxy acids, we’re getting excited with every single buzzy acid hoping that it’s going to be the next big thing. Not because there’s a shortage of skincare products to try. But there is, indeed, a shortage of ingredients for people with reactive skin or skin that’s compromised and less resilient due to age. Enter maltobionic acid!

We love the mainstream fast-acting alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) and beta hydroxy acids (BHAs). But those acids overlook a wide variety of skin types, making exfoliation impossible for people with rosacea, sensitive skin, and aging skin. Ironically, those are the skin types that need special care. Read on to learn about maltobionic acid and how it benefits your skin.

What is Maltobionic Acid?

Maltobionic acid (MBA) is in the family of polyhydroxy acids. It belongs to a subgroup called aldobionic acids or bionic acids. Its immediate family is lactobionic acid and gluconolactone.

It’s derived from malt sugar. In skincare, maltobionic acid is used as a gentle exfoliant and a safer alternative to AHAs and BHAs.

Maltobionic Acid vs AHAs & BHAs

As a general rule of thumb, if the acid you’re using has a small molecular size, it’s going to be more likely to irritate your skin and cause a burning sensation. Here are some numbers to help you get a better picture.

Glycolic acid is the most commonly used alpha-hydroxy acid. It has a molecular weight of 76.05 g/mol. And maltobionic acid has a molecular weight of 358.3 g/mol. It’s big. Contrary to other hydroxy acids, MBA gives you an irritation-free exfoliation all thanks to its structure.

What Are the Benefits of Maltobionic Acid for Skin?

1. It Exfoliates Gently

Maltobionic acid is one of the gentlest chemical exfoliants out there. You can use it as part of a light peel to get rid of dead skin cells on the surface of the skin.

The most important advantage of using maltobionic acid as your chemical exfoliant is that it doesn’t sting, irritate, or cause sensitivity.

2. It Improves Skin Tone and Texture

Just like any other hydroxy acid, MBA increases skin turnover. As a result, it helps smooth out skin texture and reduces hyperpigmentation and the look of aging skin.

3. It Hydrates the Skin

Just like lactobionic acid and lactic acid, maltobionic acid is also hydrating for the skin. Because it attracts and binds water to the skin just like a humectant.

4. It Has Antioxidant Benefits

Much like other polyhydroxy acids, maltobionic acid works as an antioxidant and protects the skin against free radicals.

5. It Pairs Well with Other Exfoliants

Unlike AHAs and BHAs, maltobionic acid can be safely used with other active ingredients like glycolic acid and even retinol. Layering them together doesn’t increase irritation.

Additionally, maltobionic acid does not cause photosensitivity, meaning that your skin won’t be extra sensitive to sunlight after using it.

Who Should Use Maltobionic Acid?

Maltobionic acid is a great addition to any skincare routine. However, the people who will benefit from it the most are the ones who are dealing with sensitive skin, dry aging skin, and rosacea like yours truly.

When you’re dealing with these, you rule out most of the mainstream anti-aging ingredients like exfoliants and retinoids. We can’t afford to further irritate our skin with those.

So if you have dry skin, you can exfoliate with maltobionic acid while increasing moisture. If you have sensitive skin, you can exfoliate with maltobionic acid without worrying about irritation.

In summary, maltobionic acid is one of the best active ingredients problem skin can utilize to improve skin texture. Having said that, this is a new addition to the market. It’s not as widely available as other PHAs.

Not surprisingly, Neostrata is the pioneering brand to incorporate this hot new gem into its clinical-grade products. You can try Neostrata Dermal Replenishment, which is a maltobionic acid moisturizer. It’s great for dry skin with a compromised barrier.

You can also try Exuviance Age Reverse Night Lift, which is an anti-aging night cream that exfoliates with polyhydroxy acids as well as glycolic acid.

So this is how maltobionic works, how it benefits your skin. Again, this acid is still new. But it looks like we’ll see more of it. And when that happens, more budget-friendly options will come out too.

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