Alpha hydroxy acids, or AHAs, have long been known to be excellent additions to every skincare routine, but when you see these ingredients on product labels, you may not immediately recognize them. Glycolic acid, which is one of the five AHAs, is arguably the most common of this group for its use in skincare products, and here’s why.
What Is Glycolic Acid?
Along with lactic acid, citric acid, malic acid, and tartaric acids, glycolic acid is one of the alpha hydroxy acids. These ingredients are naturally-occurring, although they can also be created synthetically. Glycolic acid is derived from sugar cane and is the smallest molecule of the five AHAs. Because of this quality, it can penetrate the skin with ease, making it an excellent addition to skincare products aimed at improving the appearance of skin discoloration and dullness.
Skin Benefits of Glycolic Acid
Primarily, glycolic acid is a skin retexturizing ingredient, working to sweep away the outer layer of dead skin cells to reveal the fresh, revitalized skin underneath. Glycolic acid may also help to reduce the appearance of acne scars, blemishes, age spots and large pores by aiding in cell turnover.
Additionally, using glycolic acid with other skincare products can help to increase the effectiveness of those products by exfoliating the skin’s surface, which may help topical products to fully penetrate (American Academy of Dermatology).
How to Use Glycolic Acid in Skincare
Glycolic acid skincare products come in many different forms, but for a more comprehensive anti-aging strategy, it may be most effective when paired with other anti-aging ingredients as well.
AlphaRet™ Overnight Cream FACE and Intensive AlphaRet™ Overnight Cream FACE by skinbetter science utilize an innovative combination of glycolic acid and a retinoid, two gold-standard anti-aging ingredients, to create a revolutionary double conjugated retinoid. The glycolic acid in these formulas helps to retexturize to increase the efficacy of AlphaRet™, which is available in two concentrations. Intensive AlphaRet™ Overnight Cream FACE contains a higher level of glycolic acid for increased skin retexturizing.
In addition to glycolic acid and a retinoid, these formulas also contain a targeted peptide blend that acts synergistically with AlphaRet™ to create a collagen-nourishing environment. This may result in fewer visible age lines.
For a soothing effect, ingredients such as allantoin glycyrrhetinic acid, bisabolol and portulaca extract work alongside glycolic acid and the retinoid to provide a sensation of calmness.
Glycolic acid and other alpha hydroxy acids can be great additions to any skincare routine, especially when the signs of aging are a concern. It is essential, however, to use these products correctly and with the right blend of ingredients that complement its skin benefits for a gentle and effective anti-aging strategy.
If you’re interested in learning more about skinbetter science’s AlphaRet™ formulas or other professional-grade products, find a professional in you area and take the next step toward achieving the appearance of more youthful, smoother skin.