Glycolic acid, which is derived from sugar cane and is an AHA (alpha hydroxy acid), is an ingredient that is beloved not just for how it can benefit the skin, such as by giving it a more radiant appearance, but also in how safe it could be to use (when used properly). It’s in a multitude of products, and there is, of course, the glycolic acid peel. However, as with using anything on your skin, it’s important to know how to properly use it and what it could do for you. Keep reading for info about glycolic acid and how to go about incorporating it into your skin care routine.
Start Out With a Low Concentration
Glycolic acid can be used at several different concentration levels, but you’re going to want to start out extremely low considering it is an acid and you want your skin to be able to get used to it. Just how low, however, depends on your particular skin and its condition. It’s a determination your dermatologist can make after a proper skin examination.
Know What’s Normal and What’s Not
Not everyone is going to react the same way to glycolic acid (or with any topical product) considering we all have different skin. When it comes to using glycolic acid, the dermatologist is going to need you to tell them how it feels on your skin in order to see how it’s working for you. While tingling is normal, burning, pain, and discomfort are not, so pay careful attention to how your skin feels and if you get the slightest inkling that something just isn’t right, make it immediately known.
Be Diligent About Sun Protection
Your skin will be more sensitive to the sun after you get a glycolic acid peel or use any glycolic acid product, so it’s best to be even more diligent about using sun protection than you already are on a daily basis. This means applying sunscreen before you leave your home and reapplying it every two hours, wearing a wide-brimmed hat, and staying out of the sun when the UV rays are at their strongest between 10am and 4pm.
Don’t Overuse the Products
Whatever glycolic acid method you go with for your skin, it’s important that you use the products and do the treatments only as directed and not overuse them as it could lead to problems with your skin. Regarding the products you want to use, more does not necessarily equate to better and could actually do more harm than good.
You can use glycolic acid products at home, but it’s so important to get the okay from your dermatologist first before giving them a try. You want to make sure the concentration and the product itself would be beneficial for your skin and that you’re going about using them in the right manner. This is especially vital if you’re already being treated for a skin condition and/or you’re taking prescriptions.