Glyolic acid is a member of the alpha hydroxyl family of substances and is a popular all-natural ingredient in many acne treatments and anti-ageing cosmetics.
It’s essentially a fruit acid that is derived from sugar cane which is applied topically to the skin in concentrations from 3% in over-the-counter products, to much higher concentrations used by dermatologists as an in-office treatment.
Glycolic acid products are used for a wide range of reason from anti-ageing, being used to smooth out and lessen the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, making the skin look tighter and younger, to being used as a means of effectively managing and treating acne.
How Glycolic Acid Works
As we age our skin becomes less efficient at producing new skin cells, especially on the face, slowing down the regeneration process, resulting in visible signs of ageing. This slowing of the regeneration process makes the properties of anti-ageing ingredients like Glycolic acid vital when wanting to keep your skin and complexion looking healthy, firm and youthful.
It also works as a highly effective exfoliant, making it far easier for your body to remove dead and damaged skin cells. It’s able to have this effect due to it’s high level of acidity, allowing newer skin cells to make it to the top surface more efficiently, smoothing the skin.
Most acne treatments contain Glycolic acid as one of it’s active ingredients. This is due to it’s ability to remove the top layer of skin, bringing newer, healthier skin to the surface, resulting in skin that’s both less oily and acne prone.
The level of acidity of products containing Glycolic acid depends on the type of treatment you use and whether or not it is to be carried out by a dermatologist or at home. Treatments done at a dermatologists office can contain as much as 50% or higher concentration of glycolic acid, where as over the counter creams and face masks typically contain far lower concentrations.
Glycolic acid can be found in numerous facial cleansers, chemical peels and creams, including snail cream, as well as in many of the treatments administered by dermatologists.