Style Everything You Need To Know About Glycolic Acid
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The beauty industry is rife with jargon, obscure ingredients and technical terms. In light of the confusion, we've gone ahead and done the research on, , and .
Next term on the list? Glycolic acid.
First thing's first, what is glycolic acid?
In short, glycolic acid is an alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) and has a whole bunch of same-same-but-different AHA siblings, including: lactic, citric and mandalic acids.
What Is Glycolic Acid Used For?
Primarily, glycolic acid is used for getting rid of dead skin cells. It's also popular for its exfoliating properties, making it beneficial for un-clogging pores and thoroughly cleansing your face.
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What Does Glycolic Acid Do, Exactly?
As a chemical exfoliant, glycolic acid breaks down the substance that holds dead skin cells together. While some skin treatments cleanse the upper layer of your skin, glycolic acid penetrates deeper and un-clogs your pores from their base level.
This process of 'waking up' the skin leads to higher cell turnover and more youthful looking skin. Yes please!
How Does Glycolic Acid Compare To Other Chemical Exfoliants?
Compared to, say,, glycolic acid can be a little harsh. While glycolic acid peels were once at go-to for facialists, they've since fallen in popularity.
Instead, other popular, at-home products involving glycolic acid have become readily available on the market, including cleansers, toners and pads. While still good for your skin, these products involve a lower concentration of glycolic acid, so as to avoid damaging and wearing out your skin.
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How Do You Apply Glycolic Acid Products At Home
While glycolic acid peels are quite harsh, there are plenty of glycolic acid-infused skincare products that only use a small amount of the acid. This means skin is exfoliated (win!) without causing too much aggravation (win x2!).
If you'd like to introduce glycolic acid to your skincare routine, good for you—you've made the right choice. However, don't go too gung ho from the start. Introduce it slowly. Start with a glycolic acid toner/cream/etc once a week. If your skin starts to look more glow-y—and not at all ouch-y—increase the application to twice a week and then three times a week.
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Paulas Choice Daily Smoothing Treatment
Kiehls Ultra Facial Cream
Olay Regenerist Whip Face Moisturiser
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The Ordinary Natural Moisturising Factors
Go To Very Useful Face Cream
Aesop Primrose Hydrating Facial Cream
Rose Deep Hydration Face Cream Fresh
The Dewy Skin Cream Tatcha
Where Do You Use Glycolic Acid?
All over your face! Avoiding the eyes, that is.
The Best Glycolic Acid Skincare Products You Can Buy In Australia
Glycolic Acid 7% toning solution by The Ordinary, $16.30 at
Formulated to target uneven skin texture and lacklustre tone, this toning solution contains a potent 7% of glycolic acid, as well as amino acids for skin repair, aloe vera and Tasmanian pepperberry to soothe irritation and redness, and ginseng root for a touch of radiance.
Resurfacing Glycolic Pads by Malin + Goetz, $66 at
If you're in need of something quick and travel-friendly, these resurfacing glycolic pads by Malin + Goetz has got you covered. Boasting 10% glycolic acid, they work fast to slough away dead skin and encourage cell turnover. What you're left with? A healthy glow and clearer visage, without the irritation of an aggressive chemical peel.
Glycolic Cleansing Fix by Nip + Fab, $21.99 at
Glycolic acid may be the hero, but it's gotta a couple of serious sidekicks in this little potion! Here, apple amino acid adds a foaming and softening effect, while olive oil ensures long-lasting hydration and a smooth visage.
Glycolic Renewal Cleanser by SkinCeuticals, $64 at
By adding glycolic acid to the much-maligned cleansing step, this formula helps to ensure all your treatments and serums that follow get the most bang for their buck. In addition to glycolic acid, this radiance-enhancing cleanser also features 1% phytic acid to boost clarity and aloe leaf extract, as well as glycerin, to keep any inflammation at bay,
Glycolic Acid Toner by Mario Badescu, $27 at
A gentle toner that resurfaces and brightens, it combines glycolic acid with grapefruit to remove surface build-up that leaves the skin looking tired, while also helping to minimise the appearance of discolouration and scarring.
Note: Products that include glycolic acid as an ingredient are occasionally very potent and should be used sparingly. Make sure you have purchased the right product for your skin type and follow all instructions on packaging to not cause damage to your skin.
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