Glycolic acid is a water-soluble alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) derived from sugarcane. Of all the AHAs, glycolic acid has the smallest molecule size, allowing it to penetrate the skin more easily and exfoliate more effectively. It is a multitasking skincare ingredient that can help combat breakouts and improve skin’s appearance. It speeds up cell turnover by dissolving the bonds that hold skin cells together, allowing dead skin cells to be shed more rapidly and revealing a smoother and more luminous complexion. When regularly applied, glycolic acid has numerous proven benefits.
1. Reduces visible signs of ageing
Glycolic acid can greatly benefit skin with sun-induced pigmentation. It also helps to stimulate the skin to increase collagen production. Collagen is a protein that promotes skin firmness, plumpness, and elasticity. Continued use of glycolic acid can help slow down the breakdown of collagen.
2. Brightens complexion
Glycolic acid is water soluble and works by exfoliating and shedding the dull outer layer of skin, a healthier, brighter and more hydrated skin is revealed. Glycolic acid can also fade the appearance of hyperpigmentation by shedding off the top layer of skin.
3. Refines texture
Due to its small molecule size, it can penetrate the skin and exfoliate the skin effectively and help to reduce the appearance of large pores and improves skin texture. It is also effective in preventing ingrown hairs.
4. Combats breakouts
Using glycolic acid regularly can help to unclog pores and prevent blackheads and prevent breakouts from forming.
Glycolic acid is best suited for normal, combination and oily skin types. Those with dry and highly sensitive skin are advised to use glycolic acid in wash-off form to minimise the risk of irritation.
Glycolic acid can be beneficial when used with hydrating ingredients such as hyaluronic acid. Glycolic acid should not be used together with stronger exfoliants such as retinol, benzoyl peroxide, BHA or vitamin C. Using these active ingredients together may cause irritation and dryness.