Using a Glycolic Acid Serum

A glycolic acid serum is a great treatment for wrinkles, fine lines, hyperpigmentation like age spots, acne, and acne scars.  It can also be used on the body for stretch marks and scars.  Glycolic acid benefits every skin type; it helps control oily skin, improves hydration for dry skin, and has anti aging and anti acne products.  These products are very strong and effective, and can cause irritation and skin damage when not used correctly.

Glycolic acid is the most popular alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) used in skin care as a form a chemical exfoliation.  In low concentrations, it helps the body’s natural exfoliation process by dissolving away dead skin cells that can accumulate on the surface of live skin.  In higher concentrations, glycolic acid produces a peeling effect that can remove damaged tissue and exposes fresh, younger looking skin below.  Chemical exfoliation can be a very invasive process that has the potential to burn the skin.  It is a form of controlled damage that stimulates your skins own healing processes and removes wrinkled, discolored skin.  Exfoliation will also make your other skin care products and treatments more effective because it increases absorption by removing dead cells that can prevent your treatments reaching live skin.

Serums usually contain the highest concentrations of active ingredients compared to lotions and creams.  They typically lack moisturizers and can be drying and irritating.  They are also some of the most effective anti aging products available.  A glycolic acid serum usually has the perfect concentration and pH to be truly effective at removing wrinkles, discoloration and scars.

Glycolic acid serums will often produce a peeling effect, which is what makes them so effective.  Some mild formulations are designed for daily use, but strong serums used daily can lead to over exfoliation because they essentially function as a mild glycolic acid peel.  When you peel your skin, it needs time to heal.  You’ll get the best result by combining products that peel with products that renew skin and help it heal faster and with a better texture.  Repeating this process over and over again is the best way to get rid of wrinkles, stretch marks, and scars.  It’s typically more effective to use mild peels frequently than to do a strong peel every once in a while.

Glycolic acid skin care products that contain 10% or less are considered mild.  10% is actually a good concentration for most people to use daily.  New users and people with sensitive skin may want to try something containing 5%-8% for a week or so before trying 10%, or start off using a 10% product every other day.  It’s also a good idea to follow a serum with a moisturizer, or start off by using a glycolic acid cream or lotion.

A strong glycolic acid serum will contain more than 10% and can irritate new users.  You need to give your skin time to adjust to using higher, more effective concentrations of alpha hydroxy acids.  Don’t start off using a serum that contains 15% or 20% glycolic acid.  Find a mild product like glycolic acid lotion or cream to use for a few weeks to prepare your skin for a strong serum.  Then begin using a strong glycolic acid serum every other day.  You can try to use it daily if you tolerate it well.  There will likely be some visible skin flaking and peeling.  Allow it slough off naturally; don’t pick at it or you can cause your skin to scar.  Most can use this concentration daily or every other day for 2-4 weeks before they should give their skin a rest for the same amount of time or greater.  You can also use a strong serum weekly.  You’ll get the best results by allowing your skin to properly recuperate.  It’s very important to moisturize after the serum, preferably with a natural product that contain soothing botanicals, antioxidants, and/or peptides to stimulate better healing.

A glycolic acid serum will often contain other active ingredients.  A retinol serum will often contain glycolic acid.  It works very well in combination with other treatments in the same routine, like wrinkle creams.  Some strong anti aging products cannot be used too soon after peeling.  Strong concentrations of Vitamin C and retinoids can irritate freshly exposed skin.  Add new products to your routine gradually.  Getting serious result from skin care products takes time, so don’t rush try to rush the process.

Sun protection is an absolute must if you are using a glycolic acid serum.  Alpha hydroxy acids cause your skin to become photosensitive for at least a week following each application.  It will burn and discolor much easier than usual, so it is imperative to use sun block and/or sun protective clothing daily so that you don’t undo your results by damaging your skin.  Only use glycolic acid products in the evening.  Many people stop using AHAs in the summer to avoid the potential increased risk of sun damage.

A glycolic acid serum can be very effective at improving the appearance of aging skin.  Use caution in the beginning and don’t start off using strong formulations.  Make sure you enhance your results with proper after care by using moisturizers with active ingredients and sun protection.