Glycolic Acid – What Is It And Why Do You Need It?

Glycolic Acid is a common ingredient in skincare products and treatments, but what exactly is it? In short, Glycolic Acid is an Alpha-Hydroxy Acid (AHA) – specifically the AHA with the smallest molecular structure. Its diminutive molecular size means greater penetration into the skin.

Ok…but what is an Alpha-Hydroxy Acid (AHA)?

AHAs are a class of chemical compounds that consist of a carboxylic acid with a hydroxyl group. AHAs include glycolic, lactic, and mandelic acids and are good exfoliating agents. Other exfoliating acids include beta hydroxy acids (BHAs) and polyhydroxy acids (PHA).

Glycolic acid exfoliates the skin by reacting to the top layer of the skin and unbinding the lipids that hold those skin cells together. Once this reaction occurs, the dead skin cells fall away. As the dead cells fall away, the lower layers of the skin produce new cells giving you a smooth, plump, and firmer appearance to your skin. As a bonus, Glycolic Acid is able to attract and bind moisture within the skin as well as help to support some of the body’s natural production of collagen, elastin, and hyaluronic acid.

How is Glycolic Acid Used?

Glycolic Acid is used in chemical peel treatments and professional skin care products. In fact, it’s the most used AHA in professional chemical peels because of how effective it is. Ranging in concentrations of 1% to 70% and often combined with other AHAs, BHAs, PHA, or TCA (trichloroacetic acid).

Glycolic-based Chemical peels have been found to effectively treat:

  • Acne
  • Scarring (including acne scars)
  • Stretch marks
  • Hyperpigmentation
  • Melasma
  • Sagging
  • Wrinkling
  • And spots caused by sun damage

What Products Do You Find Glycolic Acid In?

Glycolic acid is a popular ingredient in many skincare products due to its ability to effectively exfoliate the skin, boost collagen production, and improve the appearance of skin texture. As a result, there are various types of glycolic acid products available in the market ranging from chemical peels to topical creams and solutions.

You are likely to find Glycolic Acid in skin products for:

  • Anti-aging
  • Hydration
  • Brightening
  • Exfoliation
  • Cleaning out your pores (Acne, for example)

What To Expect

While glycolic acid is typically safe for most skin types, it is important to note that it can be irritating for those with sensitive skin. It is essential to start with a low concentration and gradually increase over time. However, the “sweet spot” for glycolic acid concentrations will depend on your specific skin concerns and skin type.

  • Peeling and flaking
  • Tightness of the skin
  • Slight burning and tingling
  • Redness

A trained clinician will be able to look at your skin and suggest the best product and strength avoid any adverse side effects.

What Glycolic Acid Products Does Skincredible Offer?

Skincredible offers several products with Glycolic Acid to help aid in your skincare goals, including:

  • Skincredible Gly/Sal 2-2, 5-2 & 10-2 pads (Glycolic and salicylic combo)
  • Skincredible Clarifying Brightening Polish
  • Skincredible Glycolic 10% Moisturizing Cleanser
  • Skinceuticals Blemish + Age Defense

Are you ready?

Our trained clinicians are available to assist you in achieving your skincare goals and recommend the best products for you!

Contact us today to schedule your consultation to find out if one of our recommended products is right for you!


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