No exaggeration here but Glycolic Acid needs a special mention as it’s one of the most underrated ingredients, infused in beauty products. Believe me when I say that Glycolic Acid is a game-changer and it won’t just elevate your routine but also ensures that if your skin is acne-prone, it turns into a dreamy canvas of freshness. The major advantage that is attached with using this amazing ingredient is that it does more than just being an acid.
Besides treating acne-prone skin, Glycolic Acid also lets you deal with other skin issues like hyperpigmentation, wrinkles and aging. I mean who wants to have saggy skin, while still being young, right?
That’s what Glycolic Acid does to your skin, It repairs it inside out. While all this might be some sort of an unachievable task or another thing that won’t work on your skin, here’s a compilation of everything that you need to know about Glycolic Acid. Right from its benefits to how to use products infused with this magical ingredient, this list guarantees that by the end of it, you would have made up your mind to shell out money on it and add it to your everyday routine. Check it out.
So What Is Glycolic Acid?
Glycolic Acid in simple terms is an ingredient, majorly found in beauty products. Made of small molecules, this acid is another type of AHA, also known as alpha-hydroxy acid, that’s extracted from sugarcane or grapes. The raw, colorless crystals come in a powder form that doesn’t have a scent and is later infused into beauty products, along with other acids, for example, lactic acid that comes from sour milk, tartaric acid which is derived from grapes and finally citric acid, that comes from citric fruits.
As per Dr Jessica Krant, dermatologist at the Laser & Skin Surgery Center Of New York has quoted that “Glycolic acid helps to separate the connections between keratinocytes [skin cells] in the outer layers of skin without rough, mechanical exfoliation techniques and promotes exfoliation,”
How Does Glycolic Acid Work For Your Skin?
This water-soluble acid has the capability to scrub your skin and help it get rid of the dead skin cells, or layer which is known as Stratum Corneum. Unlike scrubs, usage of Glycolic Acid is less aggressive and works gently on any skin type.
M.D Kenneth Howe, Dermatologist at Wexler Dermatology In New York says “Normal, intact stratum corneum consists of tightly packed layers of dead skin cells that are tightly bonded together,” He further added that. “Glycolic acid loosens these bonds.”
The molecules being small in nature produce collagen and by stimulating its production, the skin, in turn, becomes firmer and much better looking, with reduced skin issues and more radiance.
The products that are available in the market use Glycolic Acid along with other concentrators. But the one that only has Glycolic Acid in lower concentration, works faster than the one infused with other acids. If you are able to get your hands on a cream, that has Glycolic Acid blended with other natural ingredients, go for it, as it’s your best bet.
And after knowing so much about this all-in-one solution already, another question that might have crossed your mind must be related to your skin type.
Let me tell you that I belong to the sensitive skin group and everything that I apply on my skin would ultimately turn my skin quite rosy, filled with red spots and this would make me vex. But the thing with this beauty ingredient is it benefits every skin type.
So, Will Glycolic Acid Suit Your Skin Type? Know more here:
Fighting against issues like aging, wrinkles and fine lines? Then the time to bring Glycolic acid in use has come. It helps slow down the process of your skin changing and also minimizes any sort of other problems. But for people with oily and combination skin, use this ingredient wisely as it can create a tad bit of irritation for your skin.
Though it sloughs off the dead skin cells, this ingredient is also a must-add because it creates the new top-shelf layer for your skin, preventing it from any further damage.
But, How Will My Skin Even Benefit From This?
Besides its main function to make your skin stronger from the inside, this ingredient has oodles of benefits attached to it.
a. Your Best Bet For Acne-Prone Skin
A small blackhead or even a collage of monstrous pimples is the result of your skin getting clogged up. According to Dr Melda Isaac, a certified dermatologist in Washington , D.C says that the acid has the advantage to loosen the sebum and proteins that get accumulated, which ultimately leads to breakouts and then to a face full of pimples. Now, since you know that Glycolic acid helps in getting rid of dead skin cells, it gives room to the fresh skin, clearing all the acne on your skin.
b. It Has Tons Of Anti-Aging Power
The dead skin cells clog together and create a sticky layer, which instead of making your skin vibrant, ends up making it appear dull. As per Dr Ciraldo shedding skin at an older age is slower than when you are in your 20s or teens.
But with an acid like that of Glycolic, life is much simpler. The doctor further says “You also lose some of the rough texture, so you get more skin smoothness,”
Basically, the spots that we get from acne, sun damage etc are then converted into a dead layer but what this impeccable acid does is it helps you discard the excess pigment and evens out the skin tone. And if this isn’t enough for you to know that this is, in fact, is a one-stop solution, then hear me out when I say that this acid also helps in reducing fine lines because no one wants to look double their age.
c. And It Makes Your Makeup Absorb Much Better
Glycolic acid is a great remedy for your skin but it is also your mate when it comes prepping it before you start applying other products.
Isaac claims that “You’re going to get better absorption of other acne medications, like retinol, and other anti-aging products and antioxidants, like vitamin C and topical growth factors,”
Products infused with this acid also prep your skin before you start blending in your makeup. This might sound unbelievable but take it from me. Once the acid has done its magic of removing the dead layer from your skin, it will start blending it very smoothly.
But, How Do You Include It In Your Routine?
When you get any product that includes this acid, it is always better to start at a slow pace. In case of sensitive or combination skin, start with a face wash which includes Glycolic Acid in it.
It’s a good way to start to understand if your skin is getting used to the ingredient. In case you are willing to give this a shot, you can lay your hands on Glow Recipe Blueberry Bounce Gentle Foaming Cleanser as this one has hydrating properties of hyaluronic acid and Glycolic acid.
The time when you think your skin is ready to probably take a little more than usual, you can then lay your hands on toners or serums as well. Initially, start with using such products once or twice a week, to see if the skin is turning red or is irritated. If not, increase it to four times a week.
Give your skin some time before it is ready. A pro tip here though, which I think worked the best for me is that I use sunscreen every time I step out to ensure there’s no dryness on the skin due to the usage of this acid.
Can You Infuse It In Every Other Ingredient?
The simple answer to this is a NO and the reason why I say that is because the skin turns extremely dry and doesn’t respond well to harsh products. If you have been using retinol for a while, then adding another ingredient on it, is not a great idea.
Dr Howe says “The retinol products speed up cell turnover in the skin, resulting in a functional exfoliating effect,” This increases the chances of the acid penetrating deep in the skin, causing irritation.
It is also recommended that it is not blended with Differin or any item that causes your skin to exfoliate faster. In case you are seeing your dermatologist, you should not start using glycolic acid without getting an OK from your doctor as the medicines and creams can mingle with the acid and you don’t want to burden your skin with more issues.
So, What’s The Correct Percentage Of Glycolic Acid?
When you are at home, using products that have Glycolic Acid in it, try and keep the percentage to lower. If the percentage infused in the products is higher, chances are it will penetrate deep in your skin. You will learn more about this as I delve into this subject ahead.
It is also advised that you don’t keep this acid on for too long as it can lead to chemical burns as well.
Ensure that the percentage of Glycolic Acid in your products is around 10 percent. Anything more than that should only be used if it’s recommended by your dermatologist.
Side Effects of Glycolic Acid You Should Be Aware Of?
Dr Howe says “Not what happened to Samantha in Sex and the City,” meaning that since this one is quite powerful, there are chances your skin will undergo some changes. Usually, there are no side effects that happen due to this acid but only if you belong to the sensitive or dry skin category, you might experience it.
For me, I have sensitive skin and I have been using this magical ingredient for a while now. But all the products I have, do not have it in a higher percentage which means that I do not have sudden acne breakouts anymore and my skin is just fine!
Dr Adarsh Vijay Mudgil, a dermatologist and dermatopathologist at Mudgil Dermatology in NYC says “Low percentage washes can be used daily without issue in those with oily skin, whereas medical-grade peels may only be tolerated once a month.”
At most, people experience a side effect only if they are not careful with the percentage of this acid, infused in the products. In case of that, Dr Krant says “Excessive redness, a lingering burning sensation, skin turning grayish-white or — worst-case scenario — skin blistering and sloughing off immediately are all signs of possible danger and permanent scarring.”
In What Products Could You Find Glycolic Acid?
There are loads of options if you are looking at buying products that have Glycolic Acid in them. You can find this skincare mate in a plethora of products that include toners, masks, cleansers and moisturizers.
You can find them all at your local drugstore. Over-the-counter acid usually has lower strength with only 10 percent, which as stated above is your best bet.
For the stronger version, chemical peeling is done at salons or at dermatologist’s office.
Can this superb Glycolic Acid be converted into a DIY beauty product at home? Well, the thing with this one is that it’s extracted from sugar cane. While you can certainly use sugar as a scrub to exfoliate your skin, Glycolic acid available in the market gives better results than just plain sugar.
Skincare products are made keeping in mind so many skin textures and hence, making one at home will not be as great as a professional product would be.
What Are Some Other Skincare Ingredients That Can Be Used?
There are so many potent ingredients used to make a final beauty product. If you are also looking at other ingredients that manage acne-prone skin or are good at fighting anti-aging issues, give salicylic acid and lactic acid a try.
You may be familiar with salicylic acid already, which is useful for acne treatments, the BHA which is beta-hydroxy acid helps in exfoliating your skin and also helps with issues like signs of aging.
Unlike other ones, this acid is oil soluble and it goes deep in your skin to your greasy pores. This one is a great ingredient if you are used to having oily skin and some of the best products out there that have this key ingredient are Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant and SkinCeuticals Blemish + Age Defense
Lactic acid is another gentler version of AHA which removes dead skin cells and dirt. This one blends easily for sensitive skin type but according to dermatologist M.D Ellen Marmur , this one is also an amazing bet for people with dry skin and the ones who cannot use other exfoliants.
Some products have mixed ingredients for example salicylic acid or glycolic acid with lactic acid, as it lets you have benefits of major ingredients. Experience it in Revolution Skincare Mild Skin Exfoliator which is gentle and soothing for your skin!
Glycolic Acid definitely deems fit for your beauty routine. Most skin types can use this without any trouble and it will bless your skin with its benefits. It gives you a bang for your buck and If I were to award an ingredient that has worked really well for me, I guess Glycolic Acid takes the cake. Let your skin feel some bliss now with this incredible skincare product!