Glycolic acid is derived from sugar cane and is widely considered to be the gold standard of exfoliation for a brighter, more radiant complexion. It is a water-soluble Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA) and is categorised as a humectant, which means it chemically attracts water molecules to itself, thus making your skin look and feel more hydrated.
How glycolic acid works
Alpha hydroxy acids consist of incredibly small molecules that are absorbed easily by the skin. Because glycolic acid is the smallest of all AHAs, it can penetrate the skin more easily, visibly improving skin texture, reducing uneven pigmentation, hydrating skin and preventing dryness, and reducing wrinkles. Glycolic acid has keratolytic properties, meaning it exfoliates the skin by breaking apart the bonds of dead skin cells on the skin’s surface and opening up clogged pores. Glycolic acid also triggers the skin to produce more collagen, the protein that makes skin firm and elastic, improving the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
The skincare benefits of glycolic acid
- Cleans, refines, and diminishes the appearance of enlarged pores
- Exfoliates by helping the skin shed dead skin cells
- Hydrates and brightens the skin
- Reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles by targeting natural collagen
- Evens skin tone, fights hyperpigmentation, and fades discolouration
- Improves skin texture
- Fights and prevents acne
Who can use glycolic acid?
Glycolic acid is ideal for:
- Normal skin
- Oily skin
- Acne-prone skin
The bottom line
Glycolic acid has changed the game when it comes to exfoliation, getting rid of dead skin cells and opening pores, thereby penetrating the skin to improve texture. Glycolic acid has many anti-ageing properties and can be used for the prevention and treatment of acne.
It is essential to apply sunscreen daily when using products that contain glycolic acid, as the skin could become photo-sensitive due to high concentrations of glycolic acid.