Glycolic Acid

What is Glycolic Acid?

Glycolic acid is part of the alpha hydroxy family of natural ingredients originally sourced fro sugar cane.  It has the smallest molecules in the group so is able to penetrate skin deeply and easily, making it the most effective for treating fine lines, acne, blackheads, dullness, and oiliness. Glycolic acid is derived from sugar cane and is essentially a fruit acid. It can be found in concentrations that range from very low (such as 3%) up to much higher concentrations used by dermatologists for in-office treatments. Because glycolic acid is derived from sugar cane, it is considered a natural product and falls under the same classification as citric acid from citrus fruits like lemons and oranges, pineapple and sugar beets- its botanical properties help to treat skin conditions such as Psoriasis, Melasma and Seborrheic keratosis. Glycolic acid is used for acne treatments as well as anti-aging treatments.  The level of acidity is determined by the product percentage  concentration used.  It makes skin more sensitive to the sun - VERY important to wear sunscreen whenever using any sort of AHA to avoid pigmentation and further damage. 

What's it good for?

Providing an even exfoliation, brightening skin, restoring healthy pH to skin, removing blackheads and fine lines, treating pigmentation , acne and other skin conditions such as anti aging.  It can transfer water molecules from the air into the skin tissue, replenishing any lost moisture. This makes it an effective ingredient in moisturizers when used at low strengths.

Glycolic acid works as an exfoliant. Because it’s highly acidic and it's  also highly soluble, it's able to penetrate under the damaged areas of the skin and essentially “burn” off the top layer of skin , the epidermis. By removing that top layer of skin, the newer (healthier) skin below can be revealed, resulting in  smoother skin that is also more youthful looking. Reasons for glycolic use relating to anti-aging is to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and to make the skin look smoother, tighter and younger looking overall.  Studies show that Glycolic Acid assists with boosting collagen production, which is brilliant for plumping up the skin. Collagen is a vital structural protein, helping the skin tissue remain firm and resist wrinkling.

Products  can range in percentage of concentration and pH levels.  Anything above a 10% concentration is high and needs to be used with knowledge and caution. Anything above 20% in everyday products isn't necessary  - don't mistake the highest percentage for the best effects!  A product with pure glycolic acid in a lower concentration is much more effective than another which includes a higher ones.  A percentage that is too high, used on skin that is not ready, can cause redness, irritation, 'frosting', pigmentation and thinned skin. Most at-home glycolic acid products are around pH 3-4 (slightly more acidic than normal skin), which is a good range for being effective. Sun protection and proper knowledge is vital while using it. The smart use of milder concentrations can provide the same benefits as a drastic peel, without the possible irritating side effects - and daily use is often more effective at keeping blackheads away and pores clean. 

Acne Treatment 

It’s believed that a good glycolic acid acne treatment plan will not only clear up the skin but help keep it clear in the future by giving it acne-fighting properties, it can make the skin more resistant to acne breakouts due oily skin and clogged pores, particulary cystic acne which is caused by deep blockages of dead skin cells and sebum, allowing further products and treatments can penetrate deeper, it can reduce the look of acne scars and dark spots caused from acne, Acne scars (and other scar lesions) respond well to consistent glycolic acid treatments.  It minimizes the appearance of pores by keeping them clear and helping the surrounding cells to strengthen and regain elasticity. 

Glycolic Acid is a fruit and is recommended by dermatologist to safely and effectively treat acne during pregnancy.Glycolic Acid products are also safe aleratives to those who have sensitive skin and become easily irritated by ingredients, such as salicylic acid, sulfer and benzoyl peroxide.

What are the functions of Glycolic Acid?

Glycolic Acid  has 12 functions:

  • Stimulates collagen for strength and firmness, plus elastin to retain skin's original shape in the second major layer of your skin called the dermis.

  • Stimulates glycosaminoglycans  (GAGS), moisture binding ground substances for volume and hydration in the dermis. 

  • Endial - attaches to damaging free radicals and renders them harmless, caused by such as, sun exposure or stress.  Anti-oxidant and free radical scavenger.

  • Releases and dissolves dead skin cells - clearing up blocked pores and blackheads

  • Evens darker surface skin tone.

  • Exfoliates and improves your skin texture - feels soft and smooth.

  • Brightening skin,

  • Restoring healthy pH to skin

  • Treating pigmentation

  • Transfer water molecules from the air into the skin tissue, replenishing any lost moisture.

  • Provides an even exofoliation

  • Removing  fine lines

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What are he benefits of using Glycolic Acid ?

  • Provides a remarkably even exfoliation of the skin

  • A very effective acne treatment - particulary cystic acne which is caused by deep blockages of dead skin cells and sebum

  • Reduces fine lines and signs of premature aging by increasing cell turnover - meaning younger, healthier cells are now visible on the skin's surface

  • Acne scars (and other scar lesions) respond well to consistent glycolic acid treatment

  • Further products and treatments can penetrate deeper as it removes the 'barrier' of dead cells and surface grime

  • The effects are compound - meaning frequent use will provide better and better skin

  • It minimizes the appearance of pores by keeping them clear and helping the surrounding cells to strengthen and regain elasticity 

Risks of using Glycolic Acid?

There are risk involved in using Glycolic Acid because it is an active compound  so it is important to understand these toensure you get only the best effect from this amazing treatment! As It’s considered a fruit acid and is relatively gentle to the skin, it provides significant benefits to people with many skin care concerns but precautions need to be used. Because its an active substance, if not used correctly it can cause damage.  Some people report tenderness, itching or redness after a treatment, but most people report no real trouble with glycolic acid treatments.

If you have very sensitive skin, you might find that you have slightly redness or irritation after the treatments, but they are usually of short duration. Keep in mind hen you first have a Glycolic Acid treatment, your skin is new to this   sensitivity and irritation can happen. Skin needs to get used to it - a percentage that is too high can cause redness, irritation and in severe cases 'frosting' - a flaky crusting of skin that develops as a protection reaction, and which can last for days. Picking at this 'frosting' can cause hyper pigmentation and scarring.  DON"T PICK!!  Use of other products containing Vitamin A, AHA's or taking Accutane and other medication can cause reaction as the skin is already sensitized. Retinol and AHA can be used together, but it needs to be done carefully. It makes skin more sensitive to the sun - VERY important to wear sunscreen whenever using any sort of AHA to avoid pigmentation and further damage  

Common uses  for glycolic acid are, acne-pimples, dandruff, dry flakey skin, ingrown hairs, pilaris keratosis, small scar reduction, and wrinkles including sun-damage and aging skin, to name a few

Is glycolic acid safe to use during pregnancy?

Glycolic acid is a fruit acid and is recommended by dermatologists to safely and effectively treat acne during pregnancy. Glycolic acid products are also safe alternatives to those who have sensitive skin and become easily irritated by ingredients, such as salicylic acid, sulfur and benzoyl peroxide.

8 reasons to use  Glycolic Acid skincare

  • Anti-oxidant or endial. Glycolic acid attaches itself to free radicals in your skin rendering them harmless before they can damage healthy cells

  • Cleans your pores (follicles) …pore scrubber…loosens the glue-like substance holding dead cells together, pore walls now fold together for a smaller, refined appearance.  Glycolic prevents dead cells from clumping, forming a plug, blackhead, or pimple ... your natural oil should be able to flow freely from your pores carrying dead cells to the surface to be sloughed off.

  • Collagen  and elastin is increased in the second major layer called the dermis.  Production and repair slow around the age of 28, and areas can dip below the top of the skin from loss and thinning especially due to sun damage or facial expressions to form wrinkles( expression lines) . Collagen, like a "Jell-O" mattress, gives you plump, firm skin and is defect-free in our youth providing a smooth, taut surface.  With age and damage the thickness decreases and flattens, now sagging occurs. Elastin allows your skin to change shape and expand…think elastic rubber band. If you pinch your skin and it stays the elastin is in very poor condition, your skin should snap back into place, gently pinch a baby’s skin then your own to see the difference.

  • Glycosaminoglycans  (GAGS) moisture-binding ground substances are increased in the second major layer called the dermis, replacing GAGS lost with age is essential. Their water binding action expands the dermis, plumping and smoothing away wrinkles. One of these compounds is "hyaluronic acid" binding water so tightly its appearance is gel-like. Visual aid, imagine a dry sponge, add water, the sponge will grow in volume, holding water inside and plumping the sponge…just like glycosaminoglycans! 

  • Ingrown hair or pseudofolliculitis barbae  in the beard. Red bumps which often form pus from hair curling or growing back into the skin causing inflammation, infection and a foreign body reaction, common in men’s beards and women’s bikini lines. Sometimes, skin grows over the hair follicle opening forcing growing hair back into the skin before it reaches the surface. Glycolic prevents skin from growing over the follicle, allowing hair to reach the surface, and there is some information indicating help straightening hair to avoid curl-back. Nicholas Perricone, M.D. holds the patent for ingrown hair use.

  • Scarring from acne or trauma is reduced by lowering the scar’s top ridge and raising the depth for a smoother appearance, gray shadowing from acne ice pick scars start to disappear, raised hypertrophic scars flatten, and lost skin tissue from pimples or cysts starts to regenerate. Improvement is six months to one year with continuing improvement although clients often see results after a month. 

  • Skin texture is restored to healthy, smooth, soft and lustrous.  Keeps living cells tightly packed like tiles on a roof  while removing dead cell build up causing dull lifeless skin, and splinter cells with jagged edges causing a rough dry feeling and allowing precious moisture to evaporate…your SPF 1 luster returns. Stimulates new fresh cells especially great for mature skin after the age of 28.

  • Skin tone evens in the top layer of your skin called the epidermis by sloughing old dark brown pigment. Glycolic acid will not stop your melanocytes cells, responsible for your skin color, from making new darker pigment but will exfoliate the old dark pigment.

Glycolic Acid used for anti aging to soften and smooth the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles 

Glycolic Acid used for the treatment of acne.

             An example of glycolic frosting 

Skin needs to get used to it - a percentage that is too high can cause redness, irritation and in severe cases 'frosting' - a flaky crusting of skin that develops as a protection reaction,and which can last for days. Picking at this 'frosting' can cause hyper pigmentation and scarring

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Natural & Organic Professional Skincare

The power of nature working for your skin!