Glycolic acid has been around for a long time in the skincare industry. It is one of the most popular and effective options available to address skincare needs. It is readily available as an over the counter product in facial cleansers, moisturizers, toners, exfoliants, masks, and serums. The ideal safe use concentration for at-home use is up to 30%. If you are looking for a more potent concentration, it can be found in spas and dermatologist offices. Before you start thinking about putting it on your face, let's see if it's right for you.
What Is Glycolic Acid?
Glycolic acid is an alpha hydroxy acid (AHA), a group of naturally occurring "fruit acid" found in food. It is derived from sugarcane and has the smallest size molecule of all the AHA's allowing it to penetrate the skin. It general, glycolic acid is a chemical exfoliant.
How Does It Work?
Glycolic acid works by dissolving the bond that holds dull and dead skin cells to the top layer, allowing the skin to turn over more rapidly.
Benefits of Glycolic Acid
Aging - As you age, the cellular turnover process slows down. Glycolic acid helps to shed dull, dead skin cells to reveal healthier new skin. It works to smooth fine wrinkles and improve the skin's tone and texture by stimulating collagen growth. Glycolic acid also plumps the skin and helps boost hydration levels.
Acne - Glycolic acid contains antibacterial properties. It improves acne by exfoliating the dead skin cells and removing the excess oil that normally clogs pores causing breakouts.
Hyperpigmentation. - Because glycolic acid is an effective exfoliator, it helps to fade minor discoloration for a brighter complexion.
Improve absorption of other products. - Removing dead skin cells allows for subsequent treatment products to better absorb into the skin, allowing them to work more effectively.
Is It Safe?
In general, at-home glycolic use is safe. For those with sensitive skin, it may cause irritation though. Another side effect is that if too high of a percentage of glycolic acid is used, it can cause burning. It is also important to keep skin protected from the sun when using glycolic acid because it can increase skin sensitivity to UV rays.