Glycolic acid, an alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) derived from sugar cane, is a chemical exfoliator that is water soluble. Having the lowest particle size and the simplest structure, it penetrates our skin the best. It is the strongest and most effective. The powdered glycolic acid, or alpha hydroxy acid, has neither color nor smell. The alpha-hydroxy acid is a common ingredient in cosmetics and has a pH of 12. One of the most commonly used ingredients in skin care products, glycolic acid is commonly found in cleansers, toners, masks, and serums.
How does Glycolic acid works?
Peeling dead skin cells, raising pigment, and boosting collagen formation are all effects of glycolic acid. As it penetrates the skin, AHA loosens and sloughs away dead skin cells that cause dullness and roughness. Glycolic acid also helps erase dark spots and hyperpigmentation to balance out skin tone. This results in firmer, tighter-looking skin.
Glycolic acid encourages collagen production. One of the most important proteins in the body is collagen. (Collagen is the protein that makes bones and connective tissues strong.) Collagen production naturally slows with ageing. Excessive sun exposure also destroys it. Regular use of glycolic acid can help prevent collagen degradation.
Last but not least, glycolic acid improves the performance of other products. Those dead cells? They can obstruct the deeper absorption of anything you apply to the skin, reducing efficacy and results. Glycolic acid helps boost the good stuff by clearing the way. Debris removal can boost the effects of a powerful hydrator like hyaluronic acid or an antioxidant like vitamin C.
It depends on the concentration and product type. A glycolic acid serum is spot tested on a tiny area of skin before applying it to the entire face. After a week of daily application without redness, discomfort, or dryness, they can apply it all over.
Who can use ?
Despite the fact that it is safe for all skin types, glycolic acid is especially beneficial for people with oily or acne-prone complexions. When incorporating glycolic acid into your routine, however, you should proceed with caution if you have dry, sensitive skin, especially if you have rosacea or eczema.
Fortunately, goods contain a wide range of glycolic acid concentrations — ranging from as little as 5 percent to as much as 20 percent — allowing you to choose different solutions depending on your skin concerns.
Products for sensitive skin types should contain low percentages of glycolic acid, notably less than. They should also be used less frequently than the product's instructions dictate, preferably once every two weeks. In order to get smoother and brighter skin without peeling, you want to discover the perfect frequency.
Clinical trials have shown the effectiveness of this ingredient in reversing the effects of photoageing and improving wrinkles, skin elasticity, tone and hydration.
If you haven’t used a product containing this ingredient before, start with a wash-off product like a face wash. For leave-on products, perhaps taper in the frequency gradually and alternate nights you use it.
Precautions to be taken
Avoid applying glycolic acid to your face at the same time as retinol, retinoic acid, or tretinoin to avoid irritation and compromise of your skin's barrier. This is because both glycolic acid and retinoids speed up cell turnover, increasing one's risk of irritation and dryness when used in combination. Scrubs, for example, are physical exfoliants.
You should avoid glycolic acid products if you are going to be in the sun for an extended period of time on a particular day. The skin is more vulnerable to injury when exposed to glycolic acid. Sunscreen is essential, so don't skip it.
You should avoid combining vitamin C and glycolic acid, as vitamin C will lose its potency in this combination. The combination of vitamin B3 and glycolic acid should be avoided. Glycolic acid, on the other hand, has a low pH level, which makes vitamin B3 ineffective. Avoid taking retinol and glycolic acid together.
After using glycolic acid, apply a moisturiser. Apply moisturiser twice a day (morning and night) to keep your newly exfoliated skin hydrated and protected. Glycolic acid products might cause redness and irritation if your skin isn't properly moisturised.
Are there any side effects of glycolic acid?
Glycolic acid is generally safe to use, however it might be irritating to persons with "dry or sensitive skin." Medical grade peels, on the other hand, can only be used once a month by persons with oily skin, whereas low-percentage washes can be used everyday."
Glycolic acid products containing larger percentages of glycolic acid can cause the most serious adverse effects, even if they're rare. Skin can be scarred or burned by the acidity of glycolic acid. Signs of risk and permanent scarring include excessive redness, a lasting burning sensation, grayish-white skin, or skin blistering and sloughing off instantly.
It's also critical to take additional precautions to avoid solar damage. With the help of other AHAs, glycolic acid makes your skin more vulnerable to dangerous UV rays. Make careful to apply sunscreen liberally, wear a hat, and avoid the sun's rays whenever possible.
It can also improve the skin's barrier function, allowing it to better retain moisture, rather than drying it out. Because many other topical anti-acne treatments, such as salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide, are drying, this is a benefit for acne-prone persons.
Glycolic acid peeling can vary greatly depending on the quantity of the acid. A 1% glycolic acid solution influences the pH level of three layers of skin, but a 10% solution can penetrate between 10 and 20 layers .
Lower concentrations may be less irritating to the skin. In terms of percentage, you can discover topical medicines ranging from 1% to 10%.