Glycolic Acid 101: Meet the New Star of Your Skincare Routine

Looking to better your skin at home in one quick, easy step? It’s time to meet the multi-tasking superstar known as glycolic acid.

What is glycolic acid?

The shortcut to clearer, brighter, smoother and firmer skin can be summed up in two words: glycolic acid. Typically derived from sugar cane, glycolic acid is an exfoliator that belongs to the alpha-hydroxy acid (or AHA) family, along with lactic, citric and malic acids. Glycolic acid is an incredibly popular skincare ingredient that can be found in everything from face cleansers to skin toners to face masks to serums like L’Oréal Paris Revitalift Triple Power LZR Glycolic Acid Serum.

In contrast to alternative types of AHA, glycolic acid is a small but mighty molecule with the ability to work on the surface layer of your complexion while also penetrating deeply into the epidermis. An ideal aid for signs of stressed skin, glycolic acid benefits can deliver a rejuvenating boost to your current at-home skincare routine and transform your bathroom into a DIY treatment room.

What does glycolic acid do?

Glycolic acid has earned a solid track record, we often hear about glycolic acid peeling: it has been well documented by dermatologists as a powerful exfoliator that is an excellent multi-tasker. Troublesome acne? It can help with that. Dull skin and dark spots? Consider them gone. As we age, cell turnover naturally slows down and allows dead cells to linger on the surface of skin. Glycolic acid can sweep in and loosen the substance that holds dead cells together, freeing them up to be sloughed off with ease and allowing a fresh, rejuvenated layer to step into the spotlight. By sending dead cells packing, glycolic acid and its benefits can assist a range of skin concerns.

The superstar skincare ingredient can also work beyond the upper layer of the epidermis. Its small chemical construction allows it to travel deeper. This helps in the case of blemishes, which are the result of dead skin cells that have clogged pores and hair follicles, as well as where skin hyperpigmentation is a concern. It can also have a positive effect on collagen production, resulting in a firming effect. If you’re experiencing an increase of fine lines, glycolic acid can help with that, too!

A “last but not least” reason to get on the glycolic acid train: it makes everything else you’re already using perform better. Remember all those dead cells? If they’re left to sit on skin, they can hinder the deeper absorption of whatever you’re putting on top, creating an obstacle to efficacy and results. By providing an unobstructed slate, glycolic acid helps amplify the good stuff. In whisking away excess cellular debris, it can maximize a potent hydrator, like hyaluronic acid, or a protective antioxidant, like vitamin C.

How to use glycolic acid

Now that you know about all the wonderful things glycolic acid can deliver, you’re likely pumped to get in on the action. Before you leap, a little skincare due diligence will set you up for success. Your skin type is a good place to start. Glycolic Acid treats most skin types well. The VIP ingredient is an ideal match for anyone with a normal, oily or combination complexion. If you have rosacea or extremely dry, reactive or sensitive skin, you should take a pass because you may find this exfoliator too irritating. It’s also important to review which skincare products you’re already using regularly in your routine. Adding glycolic acid to the mix isn’t necessary if you’re hopelessly devoted to retinol, which also has a strong exfoliating effect.

Because an exfoliator can make skin more sensitive to the sun, a glycolic-acid-based product can be used at nighttime or in the morning, but we recommend using an SPF during the day time like L’Oréal Paris Revitalift Triple Power LZR SPF 30 Day Lotion to protect the skin from UV rays. A face serum, like L’Oréal Paris Revitalift Triple Power LZR Glycolic Acid Serum, is an easy upgrade to your at-home skincare ritual. The paraben-, mineral oil- and colourant-free formula balances 10% glycolic acid with soothing aloe vera leaf juice to nourish skin as it exfoliates. Apply your glycolic acid serum to freshly cleansed skin and you’ll begin to notice a smoother, less congested visage and a radiant, glowing skin.

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