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97. Conversations with a Skin Therapist - guide to glycolic acid

Updated: Mar 21


In skincare, glycolic acid is commonly used as an exfoliator and peeling agent. It helps to remove dead skin cells from the surface of the skin, promoting cell turnover and revealing smoother, brighter skin. By exfoliating the outermost layer of the skin, it can also help improve the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and hyperpigmentation.


It's naturally derived from sugar cane and forms a smaller molecular structure to penetrate the deeper layers of epidermis. Glycolic acid is a water-soluble acid with the smallest molecular size among alpha hydroxy acids (AHA), which allows it to penetrate the skin easily.



Glycolic acid is also known for its ability to increase collagen production in the skin, which can help improve the skin's firmness and elasticity. It can also improve the absorption of other skincare products, making them more effective. We love combining biolumin c in our regime to improve luminosity.


However, it is important to note that glycolic acid may cause skin irritation and sensitivity in some individuals, especially those with sensitive skin. It is recommended to start with a lower concentration and gradually increase it, and to always use sunscreen when using products containing glycolic acid as it can increase skin's sensitivity to the sun.


Glycolic acid is a popular skincare ingredient for several reasons:


1. Exfoliation:


Glycolic acid is an alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA) that effectively exfoliates the skin by removing dead skin cells. This helps to unclog pores, refine skin texture, and promote a smoother and brighter complexion.



One of my favourites is the liquid peelfoliant! I love that it's pink and smells amazing with the pomegranate enzyme and upcycled cranberry extract. It contains 30% hydroxy acids (Glycolic, Lactic, Salicylic, Phytic and Tranexamic acids)


Apply 1 dropper to cleansed skin and massage in for 1-3 minutes. Remove with a warm sponge cloth and follow with a serum and masque (evening) or sun protection (daytime). By using this 2-3 times a week it will help to improve skin tone and texture, refine pores and boost radiance.


2. Anti-aging benefits:


Regular use of glycolic acid can stimulate collagen production, which can help reduce the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and signs of aging. It also helps to improve skin elasticity and firmness.


3. Hyperpigmentation treatment:


Glycolic acid is known to lighten and fade dark spots, hyperpigmentation, and uneven skin tone. It works by breaking down and reducing the production of melanin, which is responsible for skin pigmentation.


The daily glycolic cleanser is a great combination with the biolumin c range to boost luminosity or the powerbright trio to treat pigmentation.


4. Acne treatment:


Glycolic acid has antibacterial properties that can help treat acne and prevent future breakouts. It penetrates into the pores, clearing out excess oil, dirt, and debris, reducing inflammation, and improving overall skin clarity.



We've used the Pro Power Peel advanced renewal peel which contains 30% glycolic acid to help treat our clients with acneic skin during their course of pro power peels.


Glycolic cleansers or home exfoliants can also help reduce the post inflammatory hyperpigmentation left after breakouts. Speak with your professional skin therapist for your homecare recommendations.


5. Improved absorption of other skincare products:


Glycolic acid's exfoliating properties can enhance the absorption of other skincare ingredients, allowing them to penetrate deeper into the skin and work more effectively.


The benefits of glycolic acid on the skin vary with the concentration used:


Glycolic acid is available in different concentrations, typically ranging from 5% to 30% or higher. The percentage refers to the strength or potency of the glycolic acid solution.

Daily Glycolic Cleanser uses highly efficacious 3% Glycolic Acid to brighten skin while conditioners help maintain the skin's moisture barrier. ~ Dermalogica

1. Lower percentages (5% to 10%):


These concentrations are generally considered milder and are suitable for individuals with sensitive or dry skin. They can help to improve skin tone and texture, gently exfoliate, and enhance the skin's natural radiance.


2. Medium percentages (10% to 20%):


These concentrations are effective for exfoliating the skin, reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, and improving uneven skin tone. They can also help with acne-prone skin by unclogging pores and reducing breakouts.


3. Higher percentages (20% to 30% or higher):


These concentrations are typically used in professional or medical settings and may require supervision from a dermatologist. They can provide more intense exfoliation and target specific skin concerns such as hyperpigmentation, acne scars, or signs of aging.



It's important to note that higher concentrations of glycolic acid may increase the risk of skin irritation or sensitivity.


It's advisable to start with a lower concentration and gradually increase over time, following the instructions provided by the product or consulting with a skincare professional.


Additionally, it's crucial to use sunscreen when incorporating glycolic acid into your skincare routine as it can increase sun sensitivity.


Helping you put your best face forward, if you have any questions or would like a personalised skincare recommendation please visit our website to book a consultation. https://www.dianarichardson.uk


Thank you for reading, if this was useful please 🩵 and if it could help someone in your network, please share.


Thank you ~ Diana x




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