Glycolic acid comes from sugar cane juice. It falls under a category of natural acids called alpha hydroxy acids. It's a popular ingredient in anti-aging skin care products because it helps improve the appearance of aging skin. One way it does this is by increasing skin cell turnover or shedding. This removes dead skin cells that can cause skin to look dull. The result is skin that looks brighter and has a smoother texture. Some dermatologists recommend glycolic acid skin peels for patients with aging skin. These peels use higher concentrations of glycolic acid to help improve skin texture, soften fine lines and lighten pigmented areas. According to research, you can get some of these benefits by applying a weaker concentration of glycolic acid to your skin over a longer period of time. That's why glycolic acid is a popular ingredient in anti-aging skin care products. Some studies suggest that it boosts collagen synthesis. Collagen is a protein that supports your skin and keeps it firm and youthful. Your skin produces less collagen with age. Plus, collagen can be damaged by exposure to sunlight. Glycolic acid also helps to unclog pores by lifting away dead skin cells. This is beneficial if you have blemish-prone skin. Therefore, glycolic acid may be helpful for aging skin and skin troubled by acne.
Does Glycolic Acid Have Side Effects?
Glycolic acid can cause mild skin irritation. Some people experience redness, itching and peeling when they first start using it but this usually improves over time. There are products available that have various concentrations of glycolic acid. If you have sensitive skin, it's best to start with a weaker concentration when you first start using it. Once your skin adjusts, you can choose a product that has a higher concentration. Mild tingling means glycolic acid is doing its job. You can find glycolic acid in a growing number of facial cleansing products, peels and moisturizers. Be sure to choose products that are appropriate for your skin type. If you're unsure which products are right for you, get the advice of your dermatologist.