Why Use Glycolic Acid? Find out the MANY benefits. August 17 2017

Why Use Glycolic Acid on Your Face?

If you're like me, it can get overwhelming with all of the health recommendations and expert tips I receive in my inbox every day.  "Sitting is the new smoking", "How much exercise does your body need", and the ever elusive "How many hours of sleep do you really need?" question.  It's no different with the beauty industry.  There is an expert around every corner and a trend cropping up every week. 

Whenever I feel overwhelmed, I remember that the basics are the best place to start and stay when we're pulled in a gazillion directions.  

When it comes to trying to alleviate skin issues, there are some basic ingredients that are proven reliable.  Doesn't it seem like the best ones are multi faceted - able to fix many things?  Glycolic acid is definitely one of those ingredients.  

Glycolic acid is naturally derived from cane sugar is an ingredient that has been used for a very long time by doctors and dermatologists. Now it's available and safe to use in over the counter skin care products as well.  As you wonder “Why use glycolic acid on your face and skin?”, you may initially only think of chemical peel treatments offered by doctor’s offices and salons. 

While that may have been the option years ago, today we have many options in all steps of traditional skin care: cleansers, toners, scrubs, lotions, creams and serums. 

Glycolic acid can help your skin look and become more radiant and bright without having to undergo any intense in-office treatment. The skin care benefits of glycolic acid are those worth considering for anyone who wants to reveal radiant skin that looks bright. That being said, glycolic acid can be an especially good component to an anti-aging or clear skin care routine.


#1: Removes dead skin cells.

The alpha hydroxy acid promotes exfoliation on the surface layer of your skin. When applied to your skin, glycolic acid can dissolve dead surface cells that can pile up on your skin’s outer layer over time, leaving behind a smoother surface. To refresh your skin daily, consider washing your face at night with a glycolic cleanser formulated with glycolic acid.

#2: Reveals fresh, bright skin.

Once glycolic acid works to remove dead cells on your skin’s surface, glowing skin will be revealed. As you age, skin can appear more dull and dry.  Incorporating glycolic acid products into you facial care and body care routine with be an effective way to slough away dead surface cells, and most are gentle enough to be used by most skin types.

#3: Keeps pores clear.

Removing dead skin cells on your skin’s surface will limit the chances of pores becoming clogged. Dead skin cells can mix with dirt, oil, sweat and makeup. Unlocked skin cells will leave your skin looking and feeling renewed and clarified.

Glycolic acid has made strides in the skin care world for good reason, after all who doesn’t want to encourage radiant skin? The skin benefits of glycolic acid can help skin look fresh and leave you with a youthful glow, so consider adding products with the alpha hydroxy acid into your regular routine.


Your Skin Doesn't Have to Peel With a Peel.

While earlier versions of acid-based exfoliating treatments could make skin visibly slough away, the latest formulas leave skin glowing, not flaking. Many include several alpha and beta hydroxy acids, rather than just one at a higher concentration. "When you combine acids at lower strengths, they're potentially less irritating," says a New York City dermatologist.  And you don't have to see peeling to see results. "As the acid dissolves the cement between skin cells, you may have thousands of them coming off at the same time—but the shedding is still invisible to the naked eye," says Neal Schultz, a clinical professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City.

The Percentage of Acid Isn't Everything.

An acid product is only as potent as the free-acid compounds floating around inside it. Too many acid bits and your skin stings and gets red; too few and nothing happens (we mean nada—no exfoliation, no glow). So chemists play with the pH, which adjusts the amount of free acids. The ideal pH is between 3 and 4.  Some experts say your skin should tingle for a few seconds when you apply the product. "If the acid is penetrating, you're going to feel something," says Eric ­Bernstein, a clinical professor of dermatology at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. And expect some instant gratification. "An effective product should leave your skin looking immediately refreshed".

Even the Supersensitive Can Use Them.

"Acids don't work like retinoids, which repair skin by kick-starting inflammation," says Ranella Hirsch, an assistant clinical professor of dermatology at Boston University School of Medicine. "They dissolve the upper layer of cells to trigger repair." Plus, unlike with scrubs, the skin is not damaged by abrasives. So if you're sensitive, acids are actually a wise choice. Look for formulas that combine them with an amino acid, which slows their penetration into skin.  And don't rush to see results. "Irritation can take a while to show up," says Hirsch. "You may get to day four, then all of a sudden your skin reacts."  Slowly access skin over the course of a month of glycolic use before ramping up to daily use.

One Acid is Better Than the Rest.

The smaller a molecule, the more easily it gets into the skin. Because glycolic is the smallest of all the acids, it yields the most dramatic results. While this may be true, there are many acids on the market that you can gain huge benefits from.  Lactic, Salicylic, Trichloroacetic, Hyaluronic, Ascorbic, Citric - the list goes on.  While many acids sound harsh in their name, they have very useful benefits for a variety of skin conditions.

They Work Wonders Below the Neck.

To treat a blotchy chest, extend your AHA face cream a few inches south. You can help clear up back acne with a salicylic acid body wash.  When the skin on your arms feels bumpy like a plucked goose, don't try to scrub the bumps away.   Try using a glycolic product instead, as it will unclog the pores and dissolve the dry skin.

Treats Acne Very Well.

Glycolic acid can penetrate deep into the skin, making it ideal for addressing cystic and regular acne breakouts alike—plus it almost seems to dissolve blackheads on contact.  Our Indulgent Retexturing Glycolic Acid & TCA Serum is an excellent choice.

Combat The Signs of Aging.

Glycolic acid increases cell turnover, which is a fancy way of saying that the ingredient sloughs away the dead skin built up on the very surface, and helps the new cells at a lower level surface to the top.   If you’re using a glycolic product during the day, that’s fine as long as you layer it with a good sunscreen. Our Rejuvenating Glycolic & TCA Cream will help keep skin looking vibrant and renewed.

Can Minimize Dark Spots and Pores.

Exfoliating your skin with glycolic acid can effectively fade spots caused by the sun or acne by evening out the scar and fading the discoloration. Additionally, the ingredient helps give pores a more miniscule appearance. The reason? When dirt, oil, and sebum are clogging your pores, they tend to take on a much larger appearance.  Our Papaya & Willow Bark Enzyme Peel can help your skin stay clear and smooth.

Treating Ingrown Hairs.

When an ingrown hair is trapped under your skin, resist the ever-present urge to reach for the tweezers. Instead, go for a glycolic-based product.  The exfoliation will help to slough away the dead skin keeping it just under the surface, and will prevent new ones from taking shape.

Ingrown hair twists back on itself. While ingrown hairs all the more regularly happen in people with wavy hair, nearly everyone will experience one sooner or later in their life. If you shave routinely, you might need to manage ingrown hairs more usually than the normal individual.

Wash the region around the ingrown hair with warm water and saturating cleanser. Apply a Glycolic Acid lotion and allow it to penetrate skin.  Abstain from wearing tight apparel in that area, which can also promote future ingrown hairs.


Treat Keratosis Pilaris

KP or Keratosis Pilaris is a hereditary skin issue that influences 45% of the world’s populace. KP shows up as a group of little red dot that are most ordinarily found on the upper area of the arms, thighs, posterior and less usually on the face, which might be more of an indication of acne.  While there is no cure for KP, there are various natural ways to treating it.

Using glycolic acid cream at about 15 to 25% will help calm your KP and keep skin smooth.  Also consider keeping a go to moisturizer to help skin heal during the glycolic acid process.  You’ll be very surprised how just the right potency can make a difference and consistency will ensure continued recovery. 

Removes Dead Skin

With such a wide range of acid products on the market, you’ll have no shortage of finding the right products to fit your needs.  Stick to natural ingredient lists, which will focus on avoiding synthetics, harsh chemicals, and potentially damaging preservatives. 

Apply glycolic acid creams, serums and treatments to clean, dry skin.  Give it time to penetrate before applying other products or cosmetics.  If you plan to use it during the day, be sure to layer with a reliable sunscreen.  Acids tend to make skin more sensitive to sun exposure.

After a few days of use, you will reach a point where you can gently exfoliate away the dead cells that are ready to be eliminated.  While you should do this part gently, it’s helpful to have a cotton wash cloth or exfoliating pad.  Do remember to pay attention to your neck and chest area, as you’ll want the skin on your face to resemble your neck and chest in terms of tone and condition.

Heal Damaged Skin

Healing damaged skin can be a long process. Most people have experienced some sun damage over the course of their normal daily routine.  Even just the accumulation of a few minutes of sun to and from your car throughout the day can show gradual damage.  Making it a point to use a glycolic product is a wise choice for everyone – women and men included.  Men will find that the benefits are not just better skin tone and condition, but glycolic products can also eliminate and prevent ingrown hairs along the jawline and help keep skin clear of breakouts. 

Treat Melasma

What is Melasma? Basically, it is an interminable skin condition that causes the skin to have dark patches.  It generally shows up as tan or brown patches along the upper lip, upper cheeks, forehead and jaw. The essential elements bringing on melasma are hormonal changes and outer sun presentation.  It is often called the “mask of pregnancy”.  90% of those who have melisma are women. 

The continued use of a good glycolic cream or serum is going to make significant improvements when treating melasma.  It will help gradually remove those discolored layers of skin to reveal fresh, evenly toned skin. 

Remove Stretch Marks

It can happen during sudden changes in body size, for example, during pregnancy, quick weight-pick up or puberty. Ninety percent of pregnant ladies will get stretch marks around their stomach area, and thighs. As it turns out, if your mother had stretch marks you might too – as they are hereditary. 

No worries, however. There are a few things you can do to anticipate stretch marks and deal with them if they do come along.  Using a glycolic acid product will make significant improvements in the appearance of stretch marks, by gradually removing those damaged layers and conditioning your skin to be more supple and toned. 

Glycolic acid products will increase collagen production and therefore allow your skin to have more “bounce and spring”, which in itself is highly beneficial since stretch marks are caused by the continual stretching and pulling of the skin.   

Remove Age Spots

Age spots are dark or yellow spots that show up on the neck, hands or even on the face. They are basically brought on by sun damage and as a rule, and often can start out by looking like freckles but can develop significantly as one ages.  While sun spots do not bring health concerns, they can make one feel older and less attractive.  There are some proven botanical extracts that can help and fade sun spots, like mushroom extract, alpha arbutin, or licorice extract – and if used in conjunction with a glycolic acid product – you can be confident this will make a world of difference.

If you’ve noticed some sun spots creeping up on your skin, this would be a great time to find a sunscreen you’re comfortable wearing daily.  If you’re skin tends to get oily, you might want to consider a dry feel or mattifying sunscreen.  If you tend to have dry skin, feel free to use a hydrating formula that will keep skin supple.   

Many cosmetics on the market contain sunscreen, so consider this when you’re shopping around for makeup products.  It’s much easier to prevent future sun spots and keep skin looking clear and evenly toned with the right steps in place.

Prevent Razor Bumps

When men shave, they may experience some razor bumps and ingrown hairs, especially along the jawline and neck.  Men who tend to have curly hair have a higher chance of experiencing ingrown hairs.  Ladies can also experience the same, especially along the bikini line.   Using a glycolic product will greatly reduce the chance of bumps and ingrown hair by keeping pores clear of dead skin. 

After shaving, while your skin is still warm, pat skin dry and apply your favorite glycolic product.  It can be a moisturizer, toner, or serum.  Proceed with the rest of your skin care routine as you normally would.  You’ll see an obvious reduction in bumps in no time.

Remove Blackheads

Clogged pores happen when your pores get to be hindered by oil and dead skin. The dark shading is not always an indication of dirt – but can be the combination of oil and dead skin which will eventually oxidize.  Products with glycolic acid will help skin rid itself of dead skin and keep pores clean and clear.  If you use a product that extracts the blackheads from your skin, immediately follow with a rinse of warm water and then a glycolic product.

Anti-aging Properties

Glycolic acid is one of the top recommended skin care ingredients for anti aging.  It has the ability to refresh your skin, reduce fine lines, give skin a toned and firmer appearance, and reduce discoloration – all things we look for in aging skin.  Combining glycolic acid with other valuable anti aging ingredients will increase your chances of better looking skin as you age gracefully.

Remove Acne / Cystic Acne

Glycolic acid in combination with lactic acid, salicylic acid, and/or plant based botanicals can also be useful for skin that is inclined to develop cysts.   Blocked pores can at times turn into something more than a typical breakout – a cyst – which is often painful and hard to manage.  Help cystic prone skin by keeping pore and hair follicles purged of debris by finding the right product. 

Questions or suggestions?  Please contact us direct at info@claribelskincare.com.