Beneficial Effects of Glycolic Acid

Many people use alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) because of the beneficial effects of glycolic acid and other AHAs. While reducing blemishes, glycolic acid also targets wrinkles and discoloration.

This makes it an especially great option for adult onset acne.


What is it?

Glycolic acid, the most common of the alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) is an all-natural derivative of sugar cane. Citric acid from lemon, orange and grapefruit extracts are also considered glycolic acids and are frequently used in face and body exfoliators.


Beneficial Effects of Glycolic Acid:

Glycolic acid naturally exfoliates the skin by sloughing off the multiple layers. Applying glycolic acid to the skin causes bacteria to die, pores to open and acne to become vulnerable. At this point, extractions are easier, treatments are more effective, and other products will penetrate better into the skin.

Glycolic acid also aids in bringing natural moisture to the surface of the skin where it's needed most.

Glycolic acid, unlike other AHAs, works well in an entire skin care regimen. It's great for keeping skin refreshed, rejuvenated and hydrated no matter which product type you choose.


What to expect:

Depending on what percentage of glycolic acid appears in your product - whether in a professional chemical peel or an at-home product - results will vary according to skin type.

People with acne might start out with a glycolic peel for treatments but may opt for something more aggressive if acne persists.

With a glycolic acid product, your skin will be fresher, smoother and more hydrated. You might experience a "peeling" effect after a few days, letting a healthier, new layer of skin to come through.


Side Effects of Glycolic Acid:

As with other alpha hydroxy acids and salicylic acid, your skin will become more sensitive to the sun. It's recommended that you wear sun block to help protect your skin from the sun's damaging rays. You can read about the top sunblock options here: Best Sunscreen for Oily/Acne Prone Skin.

Pregnant women, those with hyper-sensitive skin and teenagers should avoid using products that contain glycolic acid. Pregnant women should also discontinue chemical peel treatments.


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