Glycolic Acid: Benefits For Skin Care

Is your skin feeling a bit stretchy and lackluster? Are you looking for a way to give it an extra boost of hydration? If so, you might want to think about using glycolic acid. It is a type of alpha-hydroxy acid that can help improve the appearance of your skin by increasing its hydration levels. 

In addition, glycolic acid treatment has been shown to improve the condition of all skin types, and it’s one of the most favored ingredients in skincare products today. This chemical exfoliant  

can also help reduce the appearance of wrinkles and other signs of aging.

Keep your eyes peeled (pun intended) for glycolic acid if you wish to simplify your skincare regimen with a product that provides all of the advantages of reduced pores, younger-looking skin, and a clear, radiant complexion.

Read on to gain more about glycolic acid for skin benefits and how to use it correctly.

Key Takeaways

In a hurry? here are the key points regarding glycolic acid for skin:

  • Glycolic acid is an alpha-hydroxy acid used in skincare because of its ability to help moisturize the skin and lessens signs of aging, such as wrinkles. 
  • It is a relatively small molecule, so it’s able to penetrate deeper into your skin than other types of acids. 
  • Glycolic acid peel is excellent for removing wrinkles, fine lines, dryness, hyperpigmentation, and acne.
  • This chemical peel is ideal for combination, dry, normal, and oily skin.
  • In skincare products, glycolic acid is effective at up to 70% concentrations and is safe for topical application.
  • Before you see results, it might take four to six chemical peels or glycolic acid exfoliation treatments. Light tingling and redness are common.

What is Glycolic Acid? And, How Does it Work?

Glycolic acid has been the gold standard of alpha-hydroxy acids for decades. It has keratolytic properties, which means it can exfoliate dead cells from the surface layer of your epidermis. This helps to reduce existing fine lines or wrinkles while fading dark patches caused by hyperpigmentation or acne. 


Furthermore, it is derived from sugarcane and functions as a humectant, which means it can attract moisture to itself. This implies that glycolic acid draws moisture to your freshly exfoliated skin, which hydrates not only dry skin patches but also prevents new wrinkles and fine lines.

Glycolic acid is the lightest of all the alpha-hydroxy acids in terms of weight. Because of its tiny molecules, this alpha hydroxy acid can quickly get through the skin. This lets glycolic acid exfoliate dead skin cells more effectively than other AHAs.

This chemical exfoliant is a skin-renewing ingredient often found in anti-aging products. It can help smooth wrinkles, fine lines and improve the skin tone, texture, plus hydration levels.

Glycolic acid is a powerful exfoliator; using it regularly might help resurface the complexion.

Benefits of Using Glycolic Acid For Skin

Glycolic acid has a long list of well-known advantages, some of which are listed below:

1. Anti-aging

Think glycolic acid if you want to promote anti-aging. Glycolic acid stimulates collagen synthesis in the skin. Collagen is a fibrous protein that keeps the skin together and firm. It has the smallest molecular size of all the AHAs, allowing it to penetrate the skin and promote collagen creation deeply. 

2. Fights acne

Glycolic acid plays a crucial role in preventing and treating acne. It is a peeling ingredient that works to loosen the connections of skin cells on the outermost layer of skin and slough off dead cells and extra oils

These activities reduce the appearance of acne scars, stop new ones from developing, and improve the skin’s overall appearance. 

3. Increase the penetration of other ingredients

According to a practical chemical peels approach, the gold standard for eliminating surface dead skin cells is glycolic acid. Glycolic acid is a powerful exfoliant that not only helps to rejuvenate skin cells but also lets other ingredients penetrate deeper into the skin’s surface and work their magic. 

4. Fades hyperpigmentation

The sun-damaged skin, dark spots, age spots, post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, and roughness are all lightened with glycolic acid, although a medium (30%) to full-strength (70%) peel is most effective. As damaged and discolored cells are lifted from the skin, fresher healthy ones replace them for a more even-toned look.

5. Hydrates the dry skin

Glycolic acid not only peels but also hydrates dry skin. It is classified as a humectant because it attracts water molecules like crazy. This means glycolic can replenish your tired complexion with all new moisture that will have you feeling refreshed in no time at all.

How to Utilize Glycolic Acid in Your Skincare Regimen?

You can also use glycolic acid treatments in your skincare regimen by using cleansers, peels, toners, and creams. Glycolic acid products can help with scarring, pigmentation, fine lines, and wrinkles.

  • Use in your nighttime routine only: Only use glycolic acid products at night because glycolic acid (and all other AHAs) makes your skin more vulnerable to UV radiation. Apply before bed, and apply sunscreen in the morning to protect your freshly exfoliated baby skin.
  • Work your way up to it: When using glycolic acid for the first time, your skin may feel stinging and red. It’s perfectly normal at first. Don’t be concerned; your skin will get used to it after time. A patch test is required before applying it to your entire face.
  • Apply to your entire face: Glycolic acid works the best when used on your entire face. Right glycolic acid concentration dissolves dead skin cells; applying it to your entire face will ensure uniform exfoliation. 
  • Don’t over-exfoliate; less is more: Use only a pea-sized amount or less on your entire face. The excessive glycolic acid product can irritate. Exfoliate once or twice a week, not daily; exfoliating often can cause irritation or redness. 
  • Always follow up with a moisturizer: It’s essential to moisturize your skin twice a day, especially after exfoliating with products like glycolic acid. Keeping the surface of your face well moisturized will also prevent any redness or irritation from glycolic acid products.
  • Never skip sunscreen: The FDA has discovered that people with glycolic acid peel therapy are more susceptible to sun damage. Hence, they recommend using sunscreen daily with an SPF of 30 or above.

Is Glycolic Acid Safe to Use? Is There Any Adverse Effect?

Even with higher concentration peels, glycolic acid is considered safe and well-tolerated. Tingling (redness), stinging, burning, and irritation are the most frequent side effects. Due to professional peels, swelling may occur. 

It’s also crucial to use a hydrating serum or moisturizer after using a chemical exfoliant. When outside, even on cloudy days, apply an SPF of 30 or more to safeguard your skin from the sun.

Those with rosacea or open wounds should avoid glycolic acid. If you’re using OTC or prescription acne medications, double-check with your doctor to see if any of them might cause skin discoloration or scarring.

Some Vital Tips for Getting the Most Out of Your Glycolic Acid Products

Here are some tips to consider when using this powerful ingredient in your skincare regimen:

  • It’s natural to feel tingling: Glycolic acid produces tingling or a mild burning sensation when applied topically. It goes away in a few minutes. This is not an indication of efficacy; more tingle does not imply better. If you only feel a little tickle, don’t worry about it, but rinse it off if you think your face is on fire.
  • The glycolic acid cleanser is great to start for beginners: A cleanser that contains glycolic acid is mild. You’ll receive limited glycolic acid benefits and very little irritation since you’re rinsing the component off immediately. Even if you’re using a glycolic acid cleanser, use it at nighttime only to avoid sun damage. 
  • Consistency is the key: Results will take some time to show. It’s critical to be consistent. Before you start seeing benefits, it might take four to six glycolic acid exfoliation treatments or chemical peels, so be patient. If you don’t get results after 4 to 6 applications, consider trying another AHA like lactic acid.
  • Serums are more effective: Gels, toners, serums, and creams are more potent than rinse-off glycolic acid products and make your skin extra sensitive to sunlight. In the morning, ensure to apply sunscreen.

Best Glycolic Acid Skin Care Products

Below we’ve put up a list of valuable items to assist you in achieving your intended result:

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  • Visibly minimizes wrinkles, fine lines, and dark spots
  • Fragrance-free and great for all skin types
  • Lightweight serum

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  • It helps resurface and refine the skin
  • It doesn’t cause dryness or skin sensitization
  • Diminish wrinkles, fine lines, and other signs of aging

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  • Promotes the refined and smooth appearance
  • Quick absorbing cream
  • Improves uneven skin tone and texture

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  • Relieve skin sensitivity and inflammation
  • Exfoliate the skin gently
  • Removes dead skin cells, reduces wrinkle and fine line formation

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You don’t have to live with acne, blackheads, or wrinkles. Glycolic acid for the skin is the solution to all your skin problems. In short, glycolic acid is a safe and effective way to get the benefits of exfoliation.

You can find glycolic acid in many different over-the-counter products and various concentrations. To minimize skin irritation, use a lower concentration product and work your way up to a higher strength once your skin is used to it.

According to us, the ideal overall suggested products are:

  • Drunk Elephant – Glycolic Acid Night Serum
  • The Ordinary Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution

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