Glycolic acid treatment for brighter skin: breaking down the what, how, and why?
Glycolic acid is an AHA (Alpha Hydroxy Acid) that’s derived from sugarcane and is used for various skin issues such as acne, anti-ageing, dryness, and hyperpigmentation. It has keratolytic properties that exfoliate dead cells from your skin and this reduces wrinkles, fine lines, and dull skin.
It also acts as a booster to other skincare ingredients because it improves their penetration power. So, the beauty industry loves glycolic acid, and we are no different. We have made a guide to walk you through how to use it, when to use it and what are the benefits of using glycolic acid
How does glycolic acid work?
It exfoliates and removes the dead skin automatically without you having to rub off the dead skin. It melts down the bond that holds these dead skin cells. As a result, you get fresh, smooth, and radiant skin.
Benefits of glycolic acid:
- Reduces wrinkles, fine lines, and all signs of ageing.
- Because of its tiny molecule size, it’s the best AHA (strongest too).
- Hydrates the skin as it can draw moisture from itself.
- Boosts the power of other elements in a skincare product.
- Actively fights breakouts.
- Reduces hyperpigmentation .
- The tiny molecules go deeper than your skin's surface and give you a natural glow and bright complexion.
- Helps reduce acne scars/blemishes.
How to use glycolic acid?
First, prep your skin
Glycolic acid, can at times cause slight irritation such as redness and stinging. Test it out on a small portion of your skin first before you apply it all over your face. The slight burning is normal. Anything more than that means it’s not suitable for your skin. If the burning or irritations persists, see your dermatologist.It’s advised to test it out on your forehead first, since it’s the thickest layer of skin. If there’s no irritation or burning, it is okay for you to use. Wait for 24 hours to see if it goes down (which it should if it’s suitable for your skin). If it does, apply a thin layer of it the next time. Don’t apply a thick layer to start with. Prepare your skin for it gradually.
*Note- To begin with, start with products that have less than 10% of glycolic acid.
Use in the evening or at night only
Glycolic acid makes your skin extremely sensitive to UV rays. If you use it during the day and go out, your skin won’t be able to take that. So always use products with glycolic acid during bedtime, before you sleep. In the morning, use a generous amount of sunscreen to ensure that the new layer of skin remains unharmed. Do not skip this step!
A small amount is enough
Don’t use it in large quantities, because that would irritate your skin. Start with a few drops and keep its quantity to the size of a pea.
Don’t scrub or rub forcefully
Glycolic is an exfoliator. It will loosen the dead skin cells on its own. Just dab it over your face and let it soak on its own. Don’t rub too much or scrub.
No daily exfoliation
Over exfoliating your skin while using glycolic acid would speed up ageing, dryness, and even breakouts. Once or twice a week is fine, but don’t over exfoliate your skin.
*Note- follow it up with moisturizer or sunscreen ALWAYS.
Is there a particular form of it that’s more effective?
Glycolic acid is available in peels, masks, creams, gel, face wash, skin pads, and serums. Using glycolic acid in any of these products will get you similar results .Follow the application directions we have provided and you are good.
Glycolic acid is efficient in multitasking on your skin issues. However, too much of it will have a complete reverse effect. You must remember to use it at night only and in small quantities. And don’t forget to always follow up with a moisturizer. When you head out the next morning, use sunscreen generously. If you follow the steps, you will see a significant change in your skin.So have you set up your skincare routine yet for brighter skin? If not, find out more about SkinQ’s Glycolic Acid-powered DIY Active Facial Kit with Turmeric, to detan and lighten pigmentation, formulated-safe by Dermatologist Dr. Chytra Anand.