Glycolic Acid (Hydroxyacetic acid)
Glycolic acid (also known as hydroxyacetic acid) is a type of alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA) used in cosmetic surgery for facial skin peels. It’s made from sugarcane and is also used in skin creams and other skin care products.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Why is Glycolic Acid used for Cosmetics?
- What Concentration is Used?
- What are the Uses for Glycolic Acid?
- Is Glycolic Acid Safe?
- Can Glycolic Acid be used on Other Parts of the Body?
Why is Glycolic Acid used for Cosmetics?
Glycolic acid has the smallest molecular size of all the AHAs, making it easily adaptable for cosmetic use. It is naturally occurring, odourless, colourless and highly water soluble. With an exceptional ability to penetrate the skin, glycolic acid is ideal for chemical peels and at-home peel kits.
What Concentration is Used?
The amount of glycolic acid used depends on the depth required, which is assessed the by doctor. If the peel is administered by a qualified doctor, surgeon or dermatologist, then consecrations can range from 20% to as high as 70%. Do-it-yourself kits have much lower concentrations of 10-20%. A concentration of less than 10 per cent is unlikely to be very effective (if at all).
What are the Uses for Glycolic Acid?
In cosmetic treatments, glycolic acid can improve the quality and appearance of the skin. It helps to alleviate fine lines and wrinkles, acne, acne scars, hyperpigmentation and other skin ailments such as keratosis. The acid exfoliates the skin and cleans the pores. It works by removing dead skin cells and allowing new softer skin to grow.
Is Glycolic acid Safe?
Glycolic acid is harmless if used in the right concentrations. With at-home kits, many people start off using a concentration of 10%, some work their way up to 30% over a period of time whilst others are happy to remain at the ten percent level. You should speak to your doctor or dermatologist for advice before applying any solutions to your face and prior to making any increases to the strength. A highly-concentrated product can leave you with scarring and burns. A properly qualified and experienced doctor can safely apply glycolic acid in higher concentrations. It’s worth spending time to find the right practitioner.
Can Glycolic Acid be used on Other Parts of the Body?
Yes. This is usually done in higher concentrations of approximately 30% due to the different skin texture to the face. Areas which can be treated include the neck, chest, elbows, hands, legs, knees and feet. When treating yourself, remember to seek professional guidance prior to your first application to ensure the proposed treatment is appropriate for your skin type. You should also do a spot test to rule out allergic reaction.
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