Glycolic Acid is basically called a fruit acid and can be derived from sugarcane. It is a kind of alpha hydroxy that is mainly derived from natural ingredients. It’s specifically used to treat acne and other skin aging issues(1).

image of old man signifying age spots
A man with Age spots

Uses

Glycolic acid is considered to be a natural product as it is derived from sugarcane, it is thus also classified under the same category as citrus fruits are. This is used for a number of skin issues ranging from wrinkles, pigmentation, aging, and acne.

It works by exfoliating the dead skin cells that are left on the surface of the skin, which can further clog pores and cause skin issues. It is also known to increase the amount of collagen in your skin, thus making it look younger and rejuvenated even as you age.

As glycolic acid is acidic it’s also highly soluble, it thus goes deep into the skin and helps cure it of acne-causing bacteria. It essentially helps get rid of the top layer of the skin that’s causing discoloration.

Glycolic acid is effectively used as a peel these days to help with wrinkles, acne and other signs of aging. This helps in removing the outer layers of the skin, which in turn exposes the new undamaged layer of the skin. This treatment can be done at home, but it’s better to have a professional help you with it.

This, however, can make your skin more sensitive to the environment, especially the sun. That’s why it’s important to take care of your skin post peel treatment, and if you’re going to step out in the sun, it’s always best to apply a good sunscreen.

On the other hand, it’s also seen that using glycolic acid can reverse the effects of sun tan on your skin. It helps in the regrowth of a new layer of skin of the original skin tone on the affected areas(2).

Also read: Is Acne a disease? (Myths about Acne and FAQ)

Precautions

In certain cases however, it’s better to stay away from using glycolic acid(3)

  • If you are or were on any sort of medication for acne, it’s better to stay away from using products that contain glycolic acid
  • In case you have recently undergone some kind of treatment for pigmentation, or microdermabrasion, any kind of treatment aimed to remove the top layer of skin, leaving it sensitive, then it’s better to stay away from glycolic acid.

  • If you are a frequent user of sunbeds or are out in the sun often, then you probably should be using glycolic acid.
  • Even during pregnancy, you are not supposed to use glycolic acid.
  • You cannot use it after waxing.
  • In case you have acne and have already gone for some kind of treatment such as laser treatment, you need to stay away from glycolic acid.

The products you use have a certain percentage of glycolic acid and it can be altered from time to time. Hence, its always advised to start from a lower concentration and work your way up.

Right before you start, it’s also advised to first make sure that it agrees with your skin. For this, take a small portion and apply it near the back of your thumb. If you have a tingling sensation, that’s alright. This just means it’s entering the dermis layers of your skin. However, if your skin turns red and starts itching, then this could mean that you’re allergic to this.

Side effects

There are a few common side effects which include stinging and burning. If you have sensitive skin, you can be at a higher risk of these side effects, in which case it’s always better to either find an alternative to glycolic acid or use lighter doses.

Is Glycolic acid good for sensitive skin?

Glycolic acid can be used for sensitive and can show results. However, it should be used in the right way with the right treatment.

Are Glycolic Acid peels effective?

Glycolic acid peels are definitely effective if you are looking to smoothen your skin and make it look younger. The peel as the term suggests peels off the outer layers of your skin, making it look smooth and young.

Is Glycolic Acid good for Acne Scars?

Acne scars or any type of scars will never completely leave your skin. However, you could reduce the depth and make it shallow, so as to reduce its visibility. Glycolic acid has this same effect on acne scars as it is known to increase the amount of collagen in your skin, that stretches it out and reduces visible scars.

What are the benefits of Glycolic Acid Peel?

The peel targets damaged areas on the skin and aims at removing bacteria and dirt that causes acne.

 

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