Phytic Acid / Pyruvic Acid: A Powerful One, Two Punch


Phytic acid is a hexaphosphoric acid ester of inositol, also known as phytate, and a natural plant antioxidant found primarily in bran, cereal seeds, and fruit seeds. Most often used as a skin lighting agent in the skin care industry, phytic acid basically works by blocking the entrance of iron and copper in the formation of melanin. For years phytic acid has been used as an antioxidant in the food industry, an anti-corrosion product for car radiators in the auto industry, an anti-oxidation metal protector in engineering and architecture and is being used in odontology to increase the resistance of odontologic cements and increase the resistance of teeth against periodontal diseases.

As well as acting as a melanin formation blocker, phytic acid has been described as an iron specific antioxidant which demonstrates its chelating action on iron, copper and calcium. This antioxidant action is important to the skin because oxidation stress is an important factor in the reduction of the inflammatory process, the precursor to postinflammatory hyperpigmentation lesions. Pyhtic acid has also proven to be very efficient in the treatment of epidermic melasmas when its associated with glycolic acid or retinoic acid.


In the body, glycogen in the muscles is broken down into glucose, the main source of bodily energy. Each glucose molecule splits into two molecules of pyruvic acid. Along with it, a lot of energy is released in the process. If sufficient oxygen is present in the cells, the pyruvic acid will further oxidize to release more energy. However, if there is an insufficient supply of oxygen, the pyruvic acid molecule is transformed into lactic acid. This usually happens during strenuous exercise when the requirement for oxygen intake is increased. It is the lactic acid formed during this time that causes a burning sensation in the muscles. Although lactic acid has a larger molecular weight than glycolic acid, it is capable of being converted in vivo to pyruvic acid which is presumed to be a more effective exfoliating agent for the skin.

While pyruvic acid, also known as pyruvate, is often mistaken for an alpha hydroxyl acid, it is actually considered an alpha-keto acid with a pH of 2.65 and part of the Krebs cycle of respiration, stimulating collagen production, elastin, and dermal glycoproteins to a greater extent than most AHAs, reducing corneocytes, and providing antiseptic properties. Also, when lactic acid is released in the body, it stimulates the endocrine system, resulting in more production of a natural anti-aging serum that helps the body to prevent the withering effects of aging. The net result is a younger skin – smoother texture, less evident fine wrinkles, and evident lightening of hyperpigmentation.

Produced from the dry distillation of racemic acid and present in naturein grapes, honey, apples, fermented fruit, and vinegar, pyruvic acid (with three carbon atoms), has been recently used as a medium-high strength chemical peeling agent. Its remodeling properties may be compared to those of TCA peels where the gel texture and extremely acidic pH allow the peel to uniformly and slowly penetrate the skin with only a very mild prickling sensation. In solution, it is converted to its corresponding AHA lactic acid.

Pyruvic acid induces both epidermal and dermal effects and has proven its efficacy for the treatment of many dermatological conditions such as acne, superficial scarring, photodamage, greasy skin, actinic keratosis, warts and pigmentary disorders. Packing a powerful one, two punch, phytic acid and pyruvic acid team up to form a potent, non-irritating enhancement for many acid formulas. While phytic acid, a natural antioxidant, provides the necessary acidity and prevents the formation of damaging free radicals and the formation of melanin, pyruvic acid works hard, metabolizing rapidly during a peel to stimulate collagen production and provide antiseptic support. The results are amazing – smoother, more even skin tone, fewer wrinkles, and reduced pigmentation.

The following Rhonda Allison products contain the synergistic power of both phytic acid and pyruvic acids:

  • MANDELIC ARGININE PEEL – A gentle youth-replenishing rejuvenator for all skin types. Provides antibacterial, antioxidant, and cellular support. The natural acidity of this formula makes it the perfect addition to most treatments, preventing the formation of damaging radicals that follow cell disruption caused by microdermabrasion or chemical peels.
  • HIBISCUS PEEL – With the next generation of AHAs and enhanced with a mandelic complex, Hibiscus Peel is non-irritating, phytobioactive peel that accelerates cell turnover while providing skin lightening, healing, and moisturizing benefits. Great for all skin types, this peel fights the signs of aging and brightens skin tone while improving cell regeneration. On its own or paired with other skin peeling applications, Hibiscus Peel will tone skin, stimulate collagen activity, balance excess oil, and provide antioxidant benefits.
  • FLOWER ACID PEEL – A primarily all natural, pure acid formulation, this unique peeling paste not only creates desquamation and brings about cell renewal utilizing the next generation of flower acids, but provides potent healing and moisturizing properties. The enhanced complex, with azelaic acid and L-mandelic acid, smoothes and evens skin tone while giving extra support for acne, impure skin conditions and reduces pigmentation issues for many skin types including hyperpigmentation, rosacea, and congested skin.
Phytic Acid / Pyruvic Acid