Glycolic acid is one of the most popular and widely used skincare ingredients in the world. Found in everything from cleansers to serums, glycolic acid is renowned for its ability to exfoliate the skin and reveal a brighter, smoother complexion. But what exactly is glycolic acid, and what is it used for? In this article, we’ll be taking a closer look.
What is Glycolic Acid?
Glycolic acid is a type of alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA) that is derived from sugar cane. It has the smallest molecular size of all the AHAs, which means it can penetrate deeply into the skin and provide powerful exfoliation. Glycolic acid works by breaking down the bonds between dead skin cells, allowing them to be easily sloughed away and revealing the fresh, vibrant skin underneath.
What is Glycolic Acid Used For?
The primary use of glycolic acid is as an exfoliant. By removing dead skin cells from the surface of the skin, glycolic acid can help to unclog pores, reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, and even out skin tone. Glycolic acid can be found in a variety of exfoliating products, from toners to masks, and is suitable for nearly all skin types.
2. Acne Treatment
Glycolic acid’s exfoliating properties make it an effective treatment for acne. By unclogging pores and preventing the buildup of dead skin cells and oil, glycolic acid can help to prevent breakouts and reduce the appearance of existing acne. Some acne products even contain glycolic acid in combination with salicylic acid, another exfoliating AHA.
In addition to its acne-fighting abilities, glycolic acid is also a popular anti-aging ingredient. By promoting cell turnover and stimulating collagen production, glycolic acid can help to reduce the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and other signs of aging. Regular use of glycolic acid can lead to a brighter, more youthful-looking complexion.
Products that Contain Glycolic Acid
1. The Ordinary Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution
This popular toner from The Ordinary contains 7% glycolic acid, as well as amino acids, aloe vera, and ginseng to soothe and hydrate the skin. It’s an excellent choice for those looking to incorporate glycolic acid into their skincare routine.
2. Peach & Lily Glass Skin Refining Serum
This serum from Peach & Lily contains both glycolic and lactic acid for dual exfoliation, as well as hyaluronic acid and niacinamide to hydrate and brighten the skin. It’s a great option for those with dry or dull skin.
3. Mario Badescu Glycolic Foaming Cleanser
This foaming cleanser from Mario Badescu contains 2% glycolic acid, as well as herbal extracts to help brighten and clarify the skin. It’s gentle enough for daily use and suitable for all skin types.
Overall, glycolic acid is an incredibly versatile ingredient that can benefit nearly all skin types. Whether you’re looking to exfoliate, fight acne, or reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, glycolic acid is a fantastic choice. Just be sure to start slowly and build up your tolerance, as it can be quite powerful.
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