What is Glycolic Acid?
Glycolic Acid is a popular skin care ingredient, and one of a group of acids called Alpha Hydroxy Acids. Derived naturally from plants including sugar cane, sugar beets, and pineapple, Glycolic Acid is the holy grail of exfoliation and rejuvenation when it comes to Alpha Hydroxy Acids.
Glycolic Acid is found in many skin treatments, chemical peels, and daily skincare products for good reason. This superstar lets you add rejuvenation benefits at every stage of your skincare routine from daily washing to monthly in-office visits.
Why is there so much hype about it?
Glycolic Acid is known best for is amazing exfoliation benefits. Whether used in a full strength chemical peel, or the lower percentages found in skincare products for home, this ingredient effectively removes the outermost layer of dead skin cells. The exfoliation provided is remarkably even, as the chemical exfoliation dissolves excess sebum and other substances that bind the skin cells together. This reveals brighter, fresh skin that looks amazing. The exfoliating action is effective to treat visible aging like lines, wrinkles, and discoloration, as well as scarring, dullness, and uneven skin tone. This also helps clear up blocked pores and blackheads, excellent benefits for oily or acne-prone skin. Even if you don't see visible peeling, know that this ingredient is working hard to improve your skin even when used in lower concentrations.
Of all the AHAs, Glycolic Acid has the smallest molecule size, which allows it to penetrate deeply into skin for maximum efficacy. Glycolic Acid is also known for its ability to promote collagen regeneration, which is why many doctors offices offer products with this ingredient. Consistent use can lead to thicker, stronger skin without causing flaking or redness that more harsh ingredients may cause. Along with improved skin strength, Glycolic Acid helps transfer water molecules from the air into skin tissues, making it an effective ingredient when used in lower percentages in face, hand, or body moisturizers.
Are there any drawbacks?
Although this is the most gentle of the Alpha Hydroxy Acids, your skin may still need to adjust the a Glycolic Acid skincare regimen. Jumping in to a product with a high percentage of Glycolic Acid may induce redness or flaking, it's best to start with a low percentage product like Glyderm Cream 5 or Glytone Gentle Rejuvenating Cream SPF 15. If you do experience flaking don't pick at it. This can cause hyperpigmentation, scarring, and other unwanted skin complications. Glycolic Acid can also make your skin more sensitive to the sun, so it is best to be very consistent with use of sunscreen when beginning or continuing a Glycolic Acid skincare regimen.