Glycolic acid is easily absorbed into your skin because it has extremely small molecules compared to other AHAs. Once absorbed by the skin, it acts as a chemical exfoliator and dissolves dead skin cells on the surface of the top layer of your skin. Glycolic acid sheds away dead skin cells quickly by increasing cell turnover, allowing new skin cells to replace old skin cells. When you apply glycolic acid to your skin, it also boosts your skin's collagen production. This protein helps plump the skin and give it a firm yet elastic feel. As a result, glycolic acid helps to strengthen the skin and prevent collagen breakdown that causes fine lines. Any skin type can benefit from using glycolic acid, including oily, dry, and combo skin. Let's know the benefits of glycolic acid in detail.
1. Helps Fight Acne
The effect of a peel which contains 70% glycolic acid with acne is that it quickly improves all types of acne which occurs when pores become clogged with oil and dead skin cells. Glycolic acid is only available as a chemical peel.
2. Protects From UV damage
Exposure to UV light can cause skin damage that includes sunspots, hyperpigmentation, and wrinkles. Health experts refer to this as photoaging. Glycolic acid is an effective treatment for sun damage in the skin. Glycolic acid has a protective effect against UVB rays, meaning it helps prevent photoaging.
3. Prevents Lines and wrinkles
With time, the skin starts losing its plumpness and elasticity. As a result, fine lines and wrinkles start to form. This is a natural process and not necessarily something a person needs to treat. However, for those who choose to, glycolic acid helps. Glycolic acid helps to increase the skin levels of hyaluronic acid, a substance that helps keep the skin moisturized. It increases fibroblast and keratinocyte proliferation rates, which help with skin repair and regeneration. It also improves the quality of elastin, which promotes skin elasticity.
4. May Help Fight Warts
Warts are small, hard growths on the skin that occur due to viruses. Glycolic acid proves to be an effective treatment in 31 HIV-positive children with warts. The results indicate that the treatment helped flatten and normalize the color of the warts. A gel containing 15% glycolic acid and 2% salicylic acid is effective with warts.
Glycolic Acid Side Effects
1. May Cause UV damage
AHAs help to reduce the signs of sun damage but AHAs also remove the top layer of skin cells that leave the cells underneath more vulnerable to further sun damage. For this reason, it is essential to wear sunscreen every before going outside and for 1 week after stopping glycolic acid use.
2. May Cause Irritation
Some people tend to have reactions to products that contain glycolic acid. They experience redness or inflammation, itching, swelling, and burning. Symptoms such as burning are not a sign that the product is working. If any of the above occur, wash the product off and discontinue use. These symptoms also occur if: a person uses glycolic acid that is too strong or they use it too frequently. If glycolic acid gets in the eyes, rinse them under clean running water immediately.
3. May Cause Hyperpigmentation
Glycolic acid proves to be an effective ingredient for reducing hyperpigmentation. However, strong or irritating skin care products also cause hyperpigmentation. It is especially important for people who are prone to hyperpigmentation to use nonirritating, gentle exfoliants.