An Alpha-hydroxy acid, Glycolic acid, has become even popular in skincare, particularly in the treatment of acne. This organic, carbon-containing compound is extracted from sugar caneand can now be found as an ingredient in many face cleansers and toners.
Acting as a humectant that revitalises dry and acne-prone skin, Glycolic acid is a water-soluble molecule and a natural ingredient that helps in the treatment of skin dryness, acne and hyperpigmentation.
How Glycolic Acid Works
Made of small molecules, Glycolic acid easily penetrates the skin deeply, helping to loosen dead skin cells. By doing this, younger and more healthier skin can now grow with no restrictions. Glycolic acid also features antibacterial and antioxidant properties, which generally improve the appearance of the skin. All of these benefits explain why Glycolic acid has become an important part of skincare.
Effects of Glycolic Acid on the Skin
Glycolic acid is a plant-derived active ingredient with many skin benefits. It is suitable for nearly all skin types, with the exception of extremely allergic skin and rosacea patients.
- Exfoliation: Glycolic acid, when added to skincare, acts as an exfoliator by separating keratinocytes (skin cells) in the skin’s outer layers, removing dead skin cells from the next skin layer. Thus artificially speeding up cell regeneration allowing new cells to come to the surface. Glycolic acid produces a peeling effect, making the skin smoother, and its small molecular structure makes it a better effective exfoliator than other alpha-hydroxy acids.
- Treats Acne: Glycolic acid also helps with the treatment of acne. Acne is a skin problem caused by clogged skin pores and hair follicles. These pores are clogged by extra oil, soil, dead skin cells, and bacteria. Glycolic acid goes on to penetrate these clogged pores to treat acne, loosening built-up dirt that causes breakouts and blackheads.
- Aids Collagen Production: Collagen is a fibrous protein that penetrates skin tissue preventing wrinkles. Glycolic acid thus reduces fine lines and wrinkles on the skin by stimulating collagen production in the body.
- Functions as a humectant: Glycolic acid acts as a humectant, allowing water molecules to enter the skin pores, keeping them locked on the skin leaving it moisturised.
- Treats Hyper-Pigmentation: Darker patches of skin are referred to as hyperpigmentation. Glycolic acid exfoliates the skin’s surface by extracting these dark, dying skin cells, then allowing new skin cells to grow, reducing hyperpigmentation.
When using acne drugs, antioxidants and anti-ageing treatments, combining them with Glycolic acid allows them to be better absorbed by the skin.
Including Glycolic Acid into Your Skincare Routine
One of the most common alpha-hydroxy acids in skincare, Glycolic acid, is a naturally occurring ingredient found in sugarcane. To get the most out of this AHA, it must be synthesised in the lab to increase its potency and concentration.
When shopping for face masks, peels, anti-ageing moisturisers, be sure to be on the lookout for Glycolic acid as it works great to smoothen and cleanse the skin of any impurities. You should note that using Glycolic acid makes the skin photosensitive. Be sure to use it only at night when it can act without causing damage to your skin.
When choosing a product with Glycolic acid, make sure to find a brand that contains 8-30%. You can use Glycolic acid as a cleanser, mask or peel in your skincare routine.
Be sure to follow the advice of dermatologists before using Glycolic acid. So we advise that you start introducing Glycolic acid into your skincare routine gradually. Expect some stinging and redness when using the product for the first time, but your skin would start to adjust over time.
Only use as little as your skin can absorb; use only at night and be sure to combine with a moisturiser.