What is glycolic acid good for? Guide

What is glycolic acid and what advantages does it have? Read the article and find out when to use cosmetics with this active ingredient.

Glycolic acid – effects?

Glycolic acid, called hydroxyacetic acid (HO-CH2-COOH), belongs to the group of the simplest alpha-hydroxy acids, or AHAs. It is a substance extracted most often from sugar cane. Of all the acids, AHA has the lowest molecular weight and simplest structure. The small particle size makes it easy for the acid to penetrate deep into the skin. This, in turn, translates into excellent care results.

Compared to other cosmetic acids, glycolic acid has medium potency. It is valued for its ability to penetrate deeply through the epidermis and for its wide range of applications.

Application of glycolic acid

Glycolic acid is found in the formulation of cosmetics such as creams, scrubs, gels and cheeses. It is used for facial care both at home and in beauty parlors. It is typically used in concentrations ranging from 5% to 70%. The concentration of glycolic acid affects the intensity and mode of action of the cosmetic.

  • 5%-15% – cosmetics containing this concentration of glycolic acid have a strong moisturizing effect. They gently exfoliate dead skin and promote the reconstruction and regeneration of the dermis. A higher concentration of acid in a cream that is intended for daily care could cause skin irritation.
  • 20%-35% – this concentration is for combination, oily, polluted skin. Glycolic acid in this concentration range produces a surface peeling effect and excellent hydration.
  • 50%-70% – is a concentration with a strong exfoliating effect. It is used in specialized cosmetic surgeries.

What is glycolic acid good for? Indications

Glycolic acid is the perfect answer to the following questions:

  • What for blemishes on the face?
  • What for blackheads?
  • How to exfoliate excess dead skin cells?
  • How to simultaneously moisturize the skin and stimulate its regeneration?
  • How to regulate the process of keratinization of the epidermis?
  • How to smooth the epidermis and increase its firmness?

The solution to all these problems can become properly selected cosmetics with glycolic acid. They are especially recommended for people struggling with acne, seborrheic blemishes and those with dry oroily, combination, aging skin.

Glycolic acid – effects

The effects of glycolic acid are:

  • equalizing color,
  • smoothing out wrinkles,
  • skin cleansing,
  • accelerating cellular renewal,
  • regulation of the process of keratinization of the epidermis,
  • skin rejuvenation.
  • increasing the firmness of the epidermis,
  • increasing the level of hydration.

The specific properties of glycolic acid are responsible for such a comprehensive effect. This ingredient inhibits the activity of enzymes whose task is to maintain cohesion between corneocytes, or dead cells of the epidermis. This is the mechanism underlying exfoliation.

Regulation of the thickness of the stratum corneum is essential for the skin to remain in good condition. Thanks to this aspect of care, the sebaceous glands’ mouths are unblocked, which prevents the formation of closed and open blackheads.

The effect of glycolic acid on skin tone also cannot be overestimated. What for blemishes on the face? Glycolic acid is a good choice here. This substance reduces the production of melanin, the pigment responsible for the formation of dark spots and nevi. Thanks to this property of glycolic acid, discolorations lighten and are less visible.

Curiosity: open blackheads and closed blackheads

Open blackheads are dark efflorescences formed due to excess sebum and dead skin cells. Their color is caused by oxidation and bacterial superinfection.

Closed blackheads are less visible and take the form of light-colored lumps. They form when skin pores become blocked by sebum and dead skin cells.

When to use glycolic acid?

The introduction of glycolic acid into care depends not on age, but on indications. If you notice that your skin needs exfoliation, clearing blackheads, reducing hyperpigmentation, reducing seborrhea – glycolic acid may be the right solution for you.

Keep in mind that the use of glycolic acid requires photoprotection. For this reason, glycolic acid creams are usually designed for evening care. It is essential to use sunscreen during the day.

Cosmetic treatments based on glycolic acid are best performed in autumn, winter and spring. The skin’s exposure to the sun’s rays is then less, making it easier to protect against irritation.

Glycolic acid – contraindications

What are the contraindications to the use of glycolic acid? Among them can be mentioned:

  • pregnancy and breastfeeding,
  • autoimmune diseases,
  • herpes,
  • retinoid therapy.

If you have these contraindications, do not use cosmetics with glycolic acid. Also give up on glycolic acid-based cosmetic treatments.

Inform your cosmetologist about all contraindications during your interview at the cosmetic surgery.

Where to buy glycolic acid?

You can buy glycolic acid creams at and at selected beauty salons. Dottore offers two creams with this ingredient:

  • Novo ‒ intensive rejuvenating night cream with 8% glycolic acid. It ensures cell regeneration and stimulates fibroblasts to divide. The cream is designed primarily for people with gray, tired, aging skin.
  • Novo forte ‒ intensive rejuvenating night cream with 12% glycolic acid, moisturizing, soothing and anti-inflammatory ingredients. This is a cream for people who have already had an AHA acid treatment. Novo forte is recommended for dry, aging, tired skin.

You can also sign up for a glycolic acid treatment. Find a beauty salon in your area and ask about studio.peel treatments.


Glycolic acid is a substance extracted from sugar cane, which has a positive effect on the appearance and condition of the skin – it exfoliates dead skin, evens out the color, has a seboregulatory effect. Glycolic acid is an ingredient in creams, gels, scrubs and other cosmetics. It is also used in professional facial treatments.

No Comments

Leave a Reply

MenuVirtual CosmetologistAccount