Glycolic acid skincare benefits are plenty and remarkable. From minimising pores to promoting younger-looking skin and a clear, radiant complexion, this miraculous ingredient is an all-in-one solution to your greatest skin troubles. From lines and wrinkles to acne, hyperpigmentation, dullness, dry skin, and more, glycolic acid takes care of it all.
If you are looking to simplify your skincare routine by incorporating a powerful, all-rounded ingredient, glycolic acid is the answer to target most skin concerns.
If you haven’t started to use it yet, now it’s time to consider adding glycolic acid to your skincare routine for glowing skin. Keep reading to find out all the benefits of this ingredient and the wonders it can do to your skin when used properly.
What is Glycolic Acid?
Glycolic acid is a water-soluble alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) that is derived from sugar cane. Other alpha-hydroxy acids include lactic acid, malic acid, and citric acid, but glycolic is probably the most well-known and widely used in the skincare industry.
This is because glycolic acid has the smallest sized molecules of all the alpha-hydroxy acids and is able to easily penetrate the skin. This allows glycolic acid to exfoliate the skin more effectively than other acids. It also works by speeding up cell turnover, dissolving the bonds that hold skin cells together, thus getting rid of dead skin cells more rapidly.
Finally, glycolic acid also stimulates your skin to create more collagen, which is the protein that gives skin its firmness, plumpness, and elasticity.
Best Acids for Skincare
While glycolic acid is a type of alpha hydroxy acid (AHA), it should not be confused with beta hydroxy acids (BHAs), such as salicylic acid. Both AHAs and BHAs have many benefits for the skin, but their main purpose is to exfoliate.
However, neither type of hydroxy acid is “better” than the other. Both are highly effective methods of deep exfoliation, but they are used in different ways.
AHAs are primarily used for:
- mild hyperpigmentation like age spots, melasma, and scars
- enlarged pores
- fine lines and wrinkles
- uneven skin tone
BHAs, on the other hand, are primarily used for acne and sun damage. They are oil-soluble and tend to penetrate into the deeper layers of the skin, which makes them most suitable for combination to oily skin. You may also have more success with BHAs if you are targeting rosacea-related redness.
In short, AHAs such as glycolic acid may be the best fit for your skin if you are looking for an all-inclusive anti-aging treatment. BHAs, on the other hand, may be better suited if you want to target a specific skin problem, such as calming down inflammation and getting rid of acne.
Knowing your skin is the first step towards choosing the right skincare products and implementing a skincare regimen that is effective for your skin.
Hence, if you still aren’t sure which type of acid to choose, Dr Nina always recommends coming for an initial consultation before starting a new skincare routine.
Glycolic Acid Skincare Benefits
As mentioned, glycolic acid’s main property is to exfoliate dead skin cells from the skin’s surface. Thanks to this exfoliation process, incorporating glycolic acid into your daily skincare routine helps reducing existing fine lines and wrinkles, brightening the complexion, fading hyperpigmentation, and clearing acne.
But there are many other benefits that glycolic acid brings to your skin that we haven’t yet mentioned. Here are below.
- It acts as moisturiser.
Glycolic acid is also a humectant, meaning it has the ability to chemically draw moisture to itself. This is because humectants attract water both from the air (especially in humid climates) and from deeper layers of skin. This means glycolic acid draws moisture to your newly exfoliated skin which, when used correctly, not only hydrates dry skin, but also prevents new fine lines and wrinkles.
Pro Tip: if you live in dryer climates, make sure to always apply another layer of moisturiser or cream that’s thicker than your glycolic acid product on top. Doing so will help trap it in the hydration provided by the glycolic acid and keep your skin soft and well hydrated.
- It increases the penetration of other skincare ingredients.
By gently exfoliating the outer layers of the skin, glycolic acid not only accelerates skin cell rejuvenation, but also allows for your other skincare products to penetrate deeper and act stronger.
- Brightens and Smooths Complexion
Glycolic acid’s little molecules are able to break down bonds between dead skin cells, which brings out your fresh skin that’s brighter, smoother, and glowing. This process also helps with mild hyperpigmentation, brightening dark spots, age spots, freckles, and melasma, promoting a more even skin tone.
- Reduces Fine Lines and Wrinkles
Another advantage of glycolic acid’s low molecular weight is that deep penetration increases collagen synthesis, which prevents fine lines and wrinkles by increasing the thickness and firmness of your skin. But glycolic acid also can do wonders for existing fine lines and wrinkles, reducing their appearance by deeply exfoliating the top layer of skin and flattening the skin’s surface.
We love glycolic acid for her many superpowers, but her powers are fierce and can take some getting used to. Light stinging, redness, and burning is completely normal until your skin gets used to glycolic acid, and always wear sunscreen when using this ingredient as it makes your skin more sensitive to UV rays. If you have sensitive skin, a great alternative is glycolic acid’s sister, lactic acid. Overall, glycolic acid packs a punch and is a top tier ingredient to advance your skin care routine.
- Keeps Acne Under Control
Glycolic acid has been shown to reduce existing acne and maintain clear skin by peeling away dead skin cells that clog pores and trigger breakouts. All thanks to its ability to break apart dead skin cells on the skin’s surface to reveal fresh skin.
Glycolic Acid Skincare Benefits: A Word of Caution
Even though glycolic acid works by melting away dead skin cells from the skin’s surface, it is mild enough to not strip away your skin’s lipids layer (the healthy fatty acids that make up the bouncy barrier of your skin that keeps hydration in).
Another bonus: glycolic acid is safe for pregnant women, while certain beauty ingredients, such as BHAs and retinol, should be avoided during pregnancy and breastfeeding,
Nevertheless, when you first start using the acid, its exfoliation process can cause slight irritation until your skin gets used to it. That’s why glycolic acid generally works best for normal, combination, and oily skin types.
People with dry, highly sensitive skin might need to use caution, as they can react to glycolic acid and develop irritations. If you have sensitive skin, a great alternative is glycolic acid’s sister, lactic acid.
There’s also a couple of external factors to consider when using glycolic acid.
- During the winter, when your skin’s barrier function might be compromised by the colder temperatures, using AHAs might lead to dry or chapped skin.
- Conversely, during the summer, glycolic acid can make you more sensitive to sunlight and cause irritation or worse, sun spots.
No matter the time of year, always remember to use a moisturiser or cream with SPF during the day. This is especially important when using glycolic acid, as it makes your skin more sensitive to UV rays.
- Finally, while glycolic acid can be beneficial in conjunction with other BHAs like salicylic acid, it is best to avoid combining it with more aggressive exfoliators. That means any manual exfoliant (like a face scrub), benzoyl peroxide, and retinol.
Glycolic Acid Best Face Products
If you’re looking to incorporate glycolic acid into your skincare routine, you have a lot of options. This skincare ingredients can be found in a multitude of over-the-counter products, and – given all the benefits it provides – rightly so!
From cleansers, to masks, toners, serums and moisturisers, the choice can be sometimes overwhelming.
The glycolic acid product you choose depends a lot on your skin type and what your end goals are. However, regardless of whatever product you choose, you will see immediate benefits from any concentration percentage. Plus your skin will look better the longer you use it.
If you have normal to oily skin and your goal is to simply achieve brighter, healthier-looking skin, then look no further: we are going to save you a lot of time researching the market by introducing the one face glow serum you should try.
Combining the expertise of her trusted lab technicians and her 12-year-experience looking after the cosmetic needs of thousands of patients at her Facial Sculpting clinics in London, Dr Nina took her time to design her must-have, high-effective Face Sculpt Serum. After three years of testing, changing the formulation and testing again, she finally recently launched her very first skincare brand: Dr Nina Skin.
When used correctly, this serum can become one of the best ways to enhance your natural radiance and beauty. And of course, it contains glycolic acid!
Face Sculpt Serum’s Key Ingredients
The glow formula of Dr Nina’s Face Sculpt Serum has been specifically designed for most skin types to achieve immediate glowing skin.
It contains a low concentration of glycolic acid, which combined with the other active ingredients maximises the power of this serum. In fact, after two weeks of use, 75%* of the testers reported younger-looking, glowing skin.
How to Use
2 pumps to be applied to face, neck and décolletage in an upwards motion. Massage until completely absorbed. It can be used in the AM and/or PM.
Since ingredients are so powerful, there are a few points to be careful about when using the Face Sculpt Serum.
- Do not use if you are pregnant, breastfeeding or planning to get pregnant unless authorised by your doctor.
- Do not use it if you have an allergy to aspirin or derivatives.
- Due to the presence of AHA, there is an exfoliating action in the skin and therefore we recommend the use of SPF after this product to minimise the risk of sun damage and sunburn.
- Avoid contact with eyes, eyelids and mucous membranes.
- Once opened, use within 12 months.
Glycolic Acid Skincare Benefits: Conclusions
Glycolic acid is an incredibly popular treatment because of the many benefits it has for the skin. It can help smooth fine wrinkles and improve the skin’s tone and texture, plump the skin and boost hydration levels, fight sun damage and fade minor hyperpigmentation.
Because it’s an effective exfoliator, using glycolic acid regularly can help brighten the complexion. Make sure to always choose products made with high-quality ingredients, such as Dr Nina’s new Face Sculpt Serum.