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Glycolic Acid

Glycolic Acid is a Skin Renewing Brightening Exfoliator

EWG Rating
Beauty Ingredient EWG

Scientific Name: {Glycolic Acid}
Common Name: {Acetic Acid, Hydroxy}

Glycolic acid is a common ingredient found in skincare products. It is an alpha hydroxy acid or AHA. It is arguably one of the safest and most famous of the Alpha Hydroxy Acids. Glycolic acid can significantly improve your skin as it removed dirt and unclogs pores. It gently exfoliates the skin providing your skin with a radiant glow.

It works to brighten your skin and smooth and improve its tone and texture. Glycolic acid is excellent for many skin concerns as it clarifies and brightens for a healthy complexion.

You have probably seen "Glycolic Acid" in many different products. As it comes in many forms, face wash to gel cleansers, peels, face creams, and moisturizers, to name a few. Many over-the-counter products use anywhere between 1 to 2%. You can find it in strengths of up to 10%. Only a professional esthetician should administer any peel stronger than 10%.

Glycolic acid is an acid that is extracted from the sugar cane. Today in most skin care applications, the glycolic acid used is produced synthetically in a lab. Glycolic acid is in a category of skincare products called alpha-hydroxy acids. Originally, all of these are derived from natural sources, but many are now produced synthetically.

Glycolic is likely the most popular and most common of the alpha hydroxy acid family. It is touted as being much more effective and much safer than some of the other acids.

Glycolic acid’s most straightforward function is as an exfoliator. In the world of skincare, we often think of exfoliators as those scrubs that contain small beads or abrasions that help to peel away dead skin cells. They soften the rough patches of the face by breaking down hardened skin.

There are also brushes specially made to exfoliate the face, which uses coarse, rotating bristles to scrub away lingering dirt, grime, and debris. All of these can be very harsh on the face and can do more harm than good.

These exfoliators can dig and tear perfectly healthy skin, in an attempt to clean it, primarily if these products are used too often or incorrectly. In small amounts, chemical exfoliants are much safer for the skin. Women that have sensitive skin need to be especially careful when using peels or products that contain acids.

Glycolic acid safely peels away dead skin cells from the face, allowing them to slough off naturally. This is a better option than settling into lines and wrinkles or becoming lodged in pores, where they can cause blemishes.

Salicylic acid is often used as a treatment for acne. Glycolic acid—though it has many of the same functions—is commonly considered as a treatment for lines and wrinkles. As we age, our skin becomes thinner and holds onto dead skin cells for longer.

These dead skin cells settle into our lines and wrinkles, making them more pronounced, deeper, and darker. Exfoliating the skin not only encourages a new crop of skin cells to grow. It also removes the old skin cells that exacerbate the appearance of lines of wrinkles — thus brightening exfoliator that is skin renewing.

With a regimen of exfoliation that includes glycolic acid, many women begin to see a reduction in the severity of their wrinkles’ appearances. Because it also has to lighten and brightening properties, it makes skin appear more youthful and radiant. And it can further diminish the appearance of any wrinkles or lines on the face.

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