Glycolic acid is a very familiar term for people who wish to be young. It is one of the important ingredients in a series of beauty skin care products. Glycolic acid is an acidic substance that can be obtained from fruits, milk or sugar. Glycolic acid (made with sugar) and lactic acid (made with milk) are the most commonly used types for skin care. These alpha hydroxy acids are also called hydroglycolic acid or citric acid, and women have used lemon juice to lighten freckles for centuries.
Glycolic acid works by exfoliating the skin, allowing the superficial skin to fall off without damaging the underlying skin and replace it with new skin. High-concentration glycolic acid can be used in beauty salons or hospital dermatology departments to achieve this beauty goal. This process is also known as chemical peeling. Low-concentration glycolic acid can produce similar effects under long-term use, but it takes several weeks or longer to see the effect.
Since glycolic acid is an acidic substance, it may cause skin irritation and allergies, and even cause pain and itching. The concentration of commercially available glycolic acid products is usually less than 10%. Long-term use can also cause users to be light sensitive. Therefore, you must take sun protection measures after using these products to avoid sunburn.
Beta hydroxy acid is a recent competitor of glycolic acid. Although it is similar to glycolic acid, this acid is only salicylic acid, and it is less irritating to the skin. It is derived from acetylsalicylic acid like aspirin and has some anti-inflammatory properties. Unfortunately, salicylic acid is more susceptible to sun damage.
When shopping for skin care products, look for products that contain glycolic acid, butylated hydroxyanisole, lactic acid, or salicylic acid. They should be applied to the skin together with the product, because they can only work after they are absorbed by skin cells. But never forget sun protection.