What exactly is glycolic acid and what are its benefits?
Glycolic acid is actually the same as fruit acid oralpha-hydroxy acid, which will be recognized by many as one of the most commoningredients of various products for skin care. A very important characteristicof this acid is its ability to penetrate the skin, and when applied, it practicallyburns one layer of the skin because it affects the lipids, which areresponsible for holding the dead skin cells together. Due to this reaction, theoutermost layer of the skin can be exfoliated, while live skin cells are beingexposed, which improves the appearance and the texture of the skin, thus giving itsmoother, tighter and younger look. This is why glycolic acid can be used whenwrinkles or acne scarring need to be treated and reduced, as well as in casesof various skin conditions, such as hyperpigmentation, actinic keratosis, seborrheickeratosis and others.
Are there any side effects?
It is necessary to be very careful when using glycolic acid,particularly when having in mind that it is a strong irritant and it can bedangerous if ingested. Generally, over the counter skin care products do nothave high concentration of this acid, so it is not dangerous to use them, butproducts that are used in dermatology offices as facial cleansers, creams or chemicalpeels can contain as much as 50% concentration of glycolic acid.
However, those who have sensitive skin simply need to becareful, because their skin might be irritated easily, or redness and burningsensation might be present after using a product that contains this ingredient.This is not a serious side effect, but it indicates that some other productwith lower concentration of glycolic acid should be tried out.
Among the most common side effects of glycolic acid peel aredryness, flaking, crusting and scarring of the skin, while changes in the toneare extremely rare. If any of them occurs, a dermatologist should definitely beconsulted. Still all these problems can be avoided if products with lowerconcentration of this acid are used. Also, a good piece of advice would be towear a sunscreen regularly if some facial cleanser with glycolic acid is beingused every day, because the skin might become more sensitive to the sun andmore susceptible to damage, particularly the skin that is already more sensitive.