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Glycolic acid has skin benefits that make it a very popular beauty ingredient. It gives you instantly younger looking skin and can help reduce breakouts, hyper-pigmentation and scarring.
You can improve the texture and tone of your skin by incorporating glycolic acid into your skin care routine.
What is GLycolic Acid?
Glycolic acid is an alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA) found in sugarcane. There are various AHA's such as lactic acid ( sour milk), malic acid (apples), tartaric acid (grapes), and citric acid (citrus fruits). Glycolic acid is the smallest AHA and deeply penetrates the skin.
Glycolic acid can be naturally derived from sugarcane, but is often made synthetically. Glycolic acid is used on the skin to remove dead skin cells, revealing fresh new skin. It can help lighten age spots, reduce scars, and help people dealing with acne and blackheads.
Glycolic acid is an effective anti-aging ingredient.
How Does Glycolic Acid Work?
Over time, your skin naturally exfoliates, shedding old, dead skin cells to reveal healthy, new ones. As we age, this shedding slows down, leaving us with dead skin cell buildup and dull looking skin.
Glycolic acid works by reacting with the upper layer of the epidermis, weakening the binding properties of the lipids that hold dead skin cells together. This exfoliates the skin and exposes live skin cells.
Glycolic acid improves the tone and texture of your skin, reducing blemishes, fine lines, wrinkles, large pores and uneven skin tone (source). It allows your younger, clearer complexion to shine through . It works on people of all ages, genders, skin types and tones.
The following video explains how glycolic acid works on the skin:
Glycolic Acid Skin Benefits
- Smooths wrinkles
- Fades hyper-pigmentation
- Improves skin tone
- Improves skin texture
- Makes skin feel softer
- Fights pore blockages and reduces acne breakouts
- Fades acne scars
- Stimulates collagen and elastin production
- Gives skin a more youthful, glowing appearance
Glycolic Acid vs Scrubs
Glycolic acid is known as a chemical exfoliate.
A mechanical exfoliate is something that rubs off dead skin cells with friction. Scrubs, cloths, microderm-abrasion machines, and loofahs are examples of mechanical exfoliates.
- offers a more even exfoliation
- less irritating to the skin than mechanical exfoliation
- dissolves dead skin cells, the chemical does the work
- may be too strong for some skin types
- can irritate sensitive skin
- can cause physical irritation
- easy to over-do it
- uses friction to remove dead skin cells
- can cause irritation and inflammation which contributes to acne breakouts
- lots of different choices for various skin types
Which is Better?
Both methods have their benefits. It is really a matter of personal preference. The main thing to remember with both methods is to not over-do it. With mechanical exfoliation, it is important to not over-scrub, as this will lead to irritation.
Chemical exfoliates are easier to control. The chemical does the work, and we can tweak the concentration to get the results we desire.
Chemical exfoliates offer more consistent results and are better for those suffering from acne, as mechanical exfoliation will actually lead to more breakouts.
How to use Glycolic Acid
Dermatologists use glycolic acid at high concentrations (70% and up) for in-office chemical peels. These offer dramatic results, but are not safe for preforming at home. For home use, concentrations of 3 - 10% are often used, though you can get concentrations up to 30%.
- Start with a low concentration (5 - 8%) and see how your skin tolerates it. You can then increase your usage or concentration as your skin gets used to it.
- Only use every 2 - 3 days.
- Use on freshly cleansed, rinsed and dried skin.
- DO NOT RUB IN - apply gently.
- Keep away from eyes, lips and mucous membranes.
- You may experience a slight tingling or stinging sensation while using the product and your skin may turn a light pink, this is normal.
- You should not experience severe redness, burning or blistering. If you experience this, stop using the product.
- It is normal for the skin to appear flaky for 1 - 2 days after use, this is the dead skin shedding.
- Glycolic acid can dry the skin, so make sure you use a moisturizer.
- You MUST use a sunscreen when using AHA's like glycolic acid (and for a week after use). It increases your skin's sensitivity to the sun.
The following video shows you how to use glycolic acid:
How I use Glycolic Acid to Control Acne
My skin care routine is for treating acne (read about my acne here). I am using the acne regimen from acne.org.
In the morning I wash my face, then dry it. I apply benzoyl peroxide (I use this one) to combat my acne. I then allow the BP to dry and then apply a facial oil (this is my favorite right now). I then put on my sunscreen.
In the evening I do the same routine. Every third night, I replace my moisturizer (facial oil) with a glycolic acid lotion ( I use this one). This helps keep my skin clear and looking it's best. If I am getting lots of breakouts, I may mix my glycolic acid lotion with a moisturizer and apply every night.
Recommended Glycolic Acid Product
Insta-Naturals Glycolic Acid Cream
InstaNatural's Glycolic Acid Cream offers superior hydration and exfoliation for the skin. Glycolic Acid is a gentle alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) that helps to cleanse pores, reduce signs of aging and restore moisture to rough, dry and sun-damaged skin. Vitamin C, another active ingredient, synergizes with the Glycolic Acid to both soften and nourish the skin for an even, brighter, more radiant glow. InstaNatural's Glycolic Acid Cream is produced in small batches to ensure quality and freshness, and is made in the USA.
Add glycolic acid to your skin routine and start seeing results today!
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Yours In Beauty,