Glycolic acid is an alpha-hydroxy acid that has become increasingly popular in the cosmetic industry due to its potent exfoliating properties. It is derived from sugarcane and works by breaking down the bonds between dead skin cells on the skin’s surface, which helps to unclog pores and reduce fine lines and wrinkles. It also stimulates collagen and elastin production, helping maintain youthful-looking skin. Glycolic acid can also be used for medical treatments such as acne, hyperpigmentation, and scarring.
However, using glycolic acid products cautiously is essential, as they can cause irritation or sensitivity if misused. As such, discussing any potential risks or side effects with your doctor before using this product on your face or body is a good idea. It is generally recommended that you start slowly when introducing glycolic acid into your skincare routine so you can determine how your skin reacts to its use. Many dermatologists recommend using mild concentrations of glycolic acid (5%-10%) to minimize potential irritation while reaping its benefits over time.
Important Things to Know About Glycolic Acid
How Does Glycolic Acid Work?
Glycolic acid is an alpha-hydroxy acid derived from sugarcane widely used in the cosmetic industry for its powerful exfoliating properties. It’s a small molecule that can penetrate deep into the skin, breaking down the bonds between dead skin cells on the skin’s surface and allowing them to be easily removed. This process helps unclog pores, reduces fine lines and wrinkles, and stimulates collagen and elastin production—essential components for maintaining youthful-looking skin.
Glycolic acid is also used for medical treatments such as acne, hyperpigmentation, and scarring due to its many beneficial properties. However, it should always be used cautiously; incorrect use of glycolic products can cause irritation or sensitivity. Therefore, discussing potential risks or side effects with your doctor before using this product on your face or body is essential.
When introducing glycolic acid into your skincare routine, starting slowly is best; many dermatologists recommend mild concentrations (5%-10%), less likely to irritate sensitive areas while still receiving positive results over time. Regular use can help slow down premature ageing signs, even skin tone and texture, and reduce blemishes.
How Is Glycolic Acid Used?
Glycolic acid is an Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA) derived from sugarcane, and it’s a popular choice for skincare treatments because of its ability to exfoliate the skin. It can be used in various ways in your skincare routine, such as cleansers and exfoliators. Generally, it is best used at night since it makes your skin more sensitive to sunlight.
By breaking down bonds between dead cells on the skin’s surface and loosening them from healthier ones below, glycolic acid helps reveal brighter-looking skin that appears softer and smoother with an overall improved texture. This also gives other products you use better penetration into deeper layers of the dermis for even different results. In addition to this mild exfoliation process, glycolic acid also nourishes tired-looking skin by adding back some moisture through hydration.
Who Should You Use Glycolic Acid?
Glycolic acid is an exfoliating ingredient that can benefit those seeking a more even complexion. It can improve the look of enlarged pores, blackheads, wrinkles, dullness, dark spots and acne blemishes. The effects of glycolic acid can vary depending on its concentration level and your skin type.
As a result, it’s essential to know how your skin will react before using any product containing glycolic acid. Those with dry or sensitive skin prone to irritation should always start with products featuring lower percentages of this ingredient to assess their tolerance level. While most people can use higher concentrations without issues, some may experience burning sensations or temporary flaking throughout treatment.
Keeping proper hydration levels in your skin through gentle hydrating ingredients is essential when incorporating this form of chemical exfoliation into your daily routine.
Is Extra Sun Protection Necessary When Using Glycolic Acid?
Yes, extra sun protection is necessary when using glycolic acid. Glycolic acid can increase your skin’s sensitivity to the sun’s rays, making it more vulnerable to UV damage. Therefore, taking precautions to protect against this increased vulnerability is very important.
The FDA recommends applying a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher every two hours during extended periods of sunlight exposure and avoiding direct sunlight during peak hours from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., especially when using products that contain glycolic acid.
Sunscreen should be applied consistently throughout the year as part of your skincare routine when using these products to maximize protection while reaping all their benefits without the risk of sunburn or UV damage and long-term effects on your skin health and appearance.
Can Glycolic Acid Be Used With Other Skincare Ingredients?
Yes, glycolic acid can be used with other skincare ingredients. Glycolic acid is a type of alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) that works as an exfoliant and helps to reduce the appearance of wrinkles, fine lines, and sun damage by removing the outer layer of dead skin cells. It can be combined with other products, such as toners or serums, to boost hydration and improve skin texture.
Applying multiple products from lightest to heaviest weight is essential for all ingredients to be adequately absorbed into the skin. Care should also be taken when combining acids, so consulting a dermatologist is recommended.
Is It Safe To Use Glycolic Acid Every Day?
Using glycolic acid on your skin every day is generally considered safe, but it may not be recommended for everyone. For those with sensitive or dry skin, daily use may cause irritation and redness. When using glycolic acid for the first time, do a patch test to ensure you don’t react.
Start by using it once or twice weekly and increase frequency as needed so that your skin can adjust without any adverse effects. Sunscreen is also recommended when using any chemical exfoliant since increased cell turnover leaves your skin more vulnerable to sunlight.
How Is Glycolic Acid Different From Lactic Acid?
Glycolic acid and lactic acid are both alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs). Glycolic acid is derived from sugar cane, whereas lactic acid is derived from milk. Glycolic acid has a smaller molecular size, making it easier to penetrate the skin than Lactic Acid.
It also has a higher exfoliating rate – making it more effective for treating acne, wrinkles, and dryness and hyperpigmentation. The effect of glycolic acid lasts longer than that of lactic acid, making it the preferred AHA for many skincare regimens.