Glycolic acid is the most common ingredient used in the cosmetics industry for the sole purpose of improving the appearance and texture of the skin. Being an acid it does not dry your skin in low concentration.
It is hygroscopic in nature. That means it attract and hold water molecules from the surrounding. This gives it an upper hand among other Alpha hydroxy acids.
Who can use Glycolic Acid?
Oily skin and dry skin can both be benefitted. It is tolerated by most people except the most sensitive one. It is a safe skin care option for pregnant women but consults your doctor before using.
On first few applications, it stings a bit but nothing that you can not tolerate. If it stings much then wash your face immediately.
Where to buy Glycolic Acid?
There are many over the counter product that you can buy from pharmacy:
- Glyco 6 (6% glycolic acid)
- Glyco A (12% glycolic acid)
- Decroma 6 (6% glycolic acid)
- Golic (6% glycolic acid)
Glycolic acid peels of 30-70% concentration are available online as a home-kit. And if you are new to this acid you should not try them without any proper guidance. A Higher percentage can burn your skin and leave a scar.
Things to remember before using Glycolic Acid
It is a safe option(in low concentration) for skin problems prescribed by the dermatologist around the world. It comes in various strengths of 6-70%. Being said that, it becomes important that you know everything about Glycolic Acid before using.
- Start with a low concentration of 6% or less.
- Initially, it is going to sting for first few days.
- It makes skin sun sensitive. Don’t forget your SPF.
- pH in glycolic acids makes all the difference.
How to use Glycolic Acid?
It should be used during bedtime followed by the sunscreen in the daytime. The formula of using any exfoliating agent is to ease into it slowly. Let your skin decide for you. Start with the mildest in the beginning and ease into the greater concentration as your skin starts to adjust.
Here is how you can start with glycolic acid:
- Wash your face with gentle cleanser or face wash and pat dry.
- Wait for a few minutes to ensure your face is free from moisture. Application on wet skin irritates more.
- Now, take a pea size amount of glycolic acid cream and apply all over your face. Don’t apply on your eye area.
- You may feel mild stinging for a few seconds. If you can not tolerate then wash it off immediately.
- Those who are new to glycolic acid can apply it for 15 minutes and then wash it off.
- Use it on alternative days when you are able to use it overnight.
- After a week or two, you can use it daily.
What to expect from Glycolic acid?
Glycolic acid exfoliates the upper layer and leaves the glowing skin behind. When you use an exfoliating agent at the lower strength, they are less irritating and more effective in the long run. The same is with the glycolic acid.
It works by dissolving dead skin cells. And there may be thousands of dead skin cells coming off at the same time but the whole process is invisible to the naked eyes. So, peeling skin is not the parameter of an acid efficacy.
Being said that, GA attracts water molecules and used in many dry skin treatments. It is less likely that you will face dry skin. However, you may experience flakiness if you are using a higher concentration.
Effect of Glycolic acid over time
Click a picture of yourself when you first start using. This may give you a clear image of how fast it is working for you. Glycolic acid works better when used daily for a long time.
The first application causes irritation that is because of the pH of the acid. The lower the pH, the more the stinging. And it may happen for a few days.
The third day, you will see a slight change in the appearance of your skin.
By the weekend, pigmentation andmarks start to fade. New marks fade faster.
- If your skin feels dry then use a moisturiser.
- If you feel irritation then stop using it for a few days.
- Start using it again once your skin feels better. This time in smaller size.
The Second weekend, your skin is glowing with fewer marks to worry about.
By Month end, a significant change in skin texture and overall appearance. It appears smooth and glowing.
In Three months, skin is clear than ever.
Things to avoid while using Glycolic Acid
- Do not scrub your skin as the GA in itself is an excellent exfoliating agent.
- Avoid going out in sun without protection. Use sunscreen of SPF 30 or greater to prevent any pigmentation.
- Stay away from other exfoliating agents like salicylic acid, retinol and tretinoin while using glycolic acid.
- Other exfoliating agents can be used together but in complementary concentration. If you are unsure then stay clear.
- It is a powerful acid and can burn your skin if used in higher concentration without physician help.