Glycolic acid is an alpha hydroxy acid, derived from plant sources such as sugar cane, sugar beet, pineapple, etc. It was first used in the cosmetic industry about 20 years ago, and is being used to date for its almost instantaneous, noticeable results on the skin. It is, no doubt, an effective ‘treatment’, and hence it comes as no surprise that it is considered the gold standard when it comes to chemical exfoliation.
(Chemically exfoliating the skin helps to break up and get rid of the dead, tough, outer layer of the skin that often becomes clogged with bacteria, dirt, sebum and sweat, thus exposing fresher, younger cells underneath.)
With its exfoliating properties come other benefits such as:
– Helping with faster healing of scars and marks
– ‘Treating’ skin discoloration, hyperpigmentation and spots
– ‘Unclogging’ of pores and regulating sebum production
– Preventing breakouts
– Combatting premature skin aging through boosting collagen production
– Achieving an overall even texture and tone
– Making the skin appear plumper and brighter with long-term, consistent use
How does it compare with other alpha hydroxy acids, such as lactic acid?
Glycolic acid possesses smaller molecular size compared to lactic acid hence may be able to penetrate deeper into the skin. Lactic acid being slightly bigger, provides more surface-level exfoliation. Both deliver their fair share of benefits to the skin and can be used in combination to exfoliate the skin in and out.
Points to consider when using glycolic acid:
1. Wear adequate SPF while on use.
2. Start with a lower percentage and introduce it slowly to your routine.
3. Don’t use too many actives along. Consult with a trained and/or experienced individual on what can be used along.
4. Use moisturizing products/ingredients as it can dry out the skin.
5. Do not be afraid!