Glycolic Acid Skin Care Information

It’s likely you’ve heard about glycolic acid and wondered if it would work for you, but feel like you need to know more. That is, what is glycolic acid and how can you use it to make your skin healthier?

What is glycolic acid?

Glycolic acid is an AHA (or alpha hydroxy acid) that’s derived from sugar cane. It is, therefore, a natural product and is mild enough that it can be used for a variety of skin problems.

Glycolic acid exfoliates the skin, essentially sloughing off the top layer of skin to reveal the healthy, vital skin beneath.

One common use for glycolic acid is as a peel, which is performed in a doctor’s office and which provides patients with a more intense version of glycolic acid skin care.

Home users can derive benefit from glycolic acid as well, however. Many skin care products contain glycolic acid and people looking to reduce the look of fine lines and wrinkles, as well as those hoping to reduce acne and other skin problems find glycolic products to be useful.

Why do people use glycolic acid skin care products?

People with very oily skin or acne are those who usually seek out glycolic skin care products. Because it naturally exfoliates the skin, the glycolic acid skin care products often help to reduce acne and balance the skin’s PH. Over time, most people with very oily skin will find that their skin is clearer and healthier looking.

But other people can also find that glycolic acid helps them – those who are concerned about their aging skin, for example. Glycolic acid is found in many anti aging skin care products because it has an ability to – through that natural exfoliating process – reduce the look of fine lines and wrinkles.

Should you use glycolic skin care products?

If you think that your skin might benefit from glycolic skin care products, they likely will. That is, if your skin is oily or prone to acne and you can’t find anything else that seems to balance your skin, trying a glycolic skin care product can’t hurt. If you think that your fine line and wrinkles are becoming more and more of a problem and you want to see if a product can reel them in, it’s not harmful to give a glycolic product a try.

There are few people for whom glycolic products aren’t recommended. And those would the rare group of people who have the most sensitive skin that any cleanser with any (even light) chemical product will seriously irritate the skin.


And that leads us to precautions. While glycolic acid skin care products usually cause no problems for those who use them, there will always be a group of people who have problems.

In the case of glycolic skin care products, the side effects are usually mild. You might have some light irritation, leaving your skin painful or itchy and red. Usually the side effects last only for a few minutes. It’s always best to find a glycolic skin care product that has about an 8-10% concentration of glycolic acid, since that’s enough to provide benefit, but not so much that more severe side effects are to be expected.