Glycolic Acid in Skincare | The Facts



We love getting our hands on new skincare products which contain the most talked about ingredients but what I love the most is getting my hands on products with ingredients that really, really work. So, today I would like to uncover what is really so beneficial about the most popular ingredient of the moment and that is Glycolic Acid.

What are Alpha Hyroxy Acids?

I’m sure you heard of Alpha Hydroxy Acids, which are known as AHA’s, which is a group of ingredients including glycolic, lactic and citric acid. The term alpha hydroxy means water soluble and know that these ingredients have all been clinically trialled. This is important to know as it proves the efficacy of using AHA’s in your skincare regimen.

Where does Glycolic Acid derive from?

Now Glycolic Acid is a naturally occurring substance derived from plants such as sugar cane or pineapple and it has the smallest molecular size of all AHA’s. It is The Holy Grail for causing natural exfoliation, effectively removing the outermost layer of dead cells from the skin, revealing brighter, fresher, smoother skin.  

How does it work?

The outer layer of the skin is called the epidermis and the top layer of the epidermis is the stratum corneum which is made up of dead skin cells. These dead skin cells are held together with your own natural oils. Think of a brick wall, with the bricks being your dead skin cells, and the mortar between them as your own natural mix of lipids. Glycolic acid melts this mortar allowing the dead skin cells to shed quicker.  

Due to it’s small molecular structure, it is able to penetrate the skin deeply and easily.  This makes it most effective for treating fine lines, wrinkles, acne, blackheads, dullness, oiliness and uneven texture. 

Skincare products that contain Glycolic Acid are used to treat scarring, skin discolouration and ageing skin.  

In low percentages in skincare, Glycolic Acid can transfer water molecules from the air into the skin tissue increasing skin hydration. So look out for it in moisturisers or face masks.

Studies show that Glycolic Acid skincare products boost collagen which is brilliant for plumping up the skin. Collagen is a vital structural protein lying in the Dermis layer of skin, helping skin tissue remain firm and preventing wrinkling. 

In my opinion and the majority fo skincare gurus – Glycolic Acid gives exceptional results for ageing, dull, pigmented, wrinkle prone and scarred skin. 

What you have to be careful of:

  •   Flaking. Try to start off with a low percentage and see how your skin reacts. 
  •   Using products containing Vitamin A, AHA’s or Accutane can cause a reaction as skin maybe already sensitised.
  •   It makes your skin more sensitive to the sun. So it’s a must to wear sunscreen when using any AHA products.

Final word, Glycolic is an acid that encourages exfoliation which means it’s good for almost any skin type. But people with very sensitive skin should never try it as they may find it too irritating.