AHAs or alpha hydroxy acids are naturally found in several fruits as well as cane sugar. They're added to treatments designed for oily or acne-prone skin, dry skin, dull complexions, sun-damaged skin and mature skin. Glycolic acid is the smallest of the AHA family, meaning it better penetrates skin than lactic, citric, malic or tartaric acid.
Being a tiny molecule, glycolic acid can deeply penetrate the epidermis to stimulate cellular activity. This means it's often added to anti-ageing and anti-blemish treatments in order to hydrate, brighten and tone up our skin. It's a smoothing active ingredient that evens out skin texture by getting rid of dead cells to leave our skin soft, clean and youthfully fresh.
Glycolic acid's greatest asset is its ability to peel away the uppermost layer of our skin, by breaking down the bonds that bind dead cells together. This in turn boosts cell renewal, leaving our skin squeaky clean and bright. Wrinkles become less apparent, skin's pH level is balanced, acne scars fade and pores are unclogged. A turbo-charged scrub that leaves our skin soft and supple.
Glycolic acid was once only used on oily or acne-prone skin. Nowadays it's recommended by dermatologists for all skin types, depending on the formula in question. It regulates seborrhea on young or oily skin and both moisturises and brightens mature or dry skin, depending on the amount of glycolic acid in each treatment (between 2 and 15%). However, be warned that it can irritate sensitive skin.
Glycolic acid is found in creams and fruit acid peels. Night creams should be progressively applied - once a week, followed by every 3 nights if your skin responds well. Peeling treatments can be applied once or twice a week for a gentle, exfoliating action. Dermatologists use higher concentrations of glycolic acid (20 to 70%) to remove several layers of skin over a set period of time.
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