The removal of dead skin cells with (fruit) Acids is called exfoliating. The best known and most used ingredient for that is Salicylic Acid. But for some skin types Glycolic Acid works better. How does that work and what more can these substances mean for the skin?
The exfoliating effect of Glycolic Acid
Glycolic Acid falls into the group of fruit Acids, also known as alpha hydroxyl Acids (AHA). Glycolic Acid was originally extracted from sugar cane, but is now mainly produced synthetically. As with Salicylic Acid, this ingredient helps to dislodge dead skin cells so that they shed more easily from the skin. And that is no unnecessary luxury after your thirtieth birthday; as we get older this process becomes more challenging for our skin.
Reduce signs of skin ageing
Glycolic Acid does more than just exfoliating. Studies have found that a 5% concentration of the ingredient makes the skin stronger. The moisture balance recovers, through this fine lines diminish and collagen production is stimulated. Because the outer skin layer with dead skin cells is removed light is more easily reflected. The result is that the skin looks more radiant and fresh. Glycolic Acid with a concentration of 8% is proven to be effective at reducing surface pigmentation spots. When combined with kojic Acid this product is even more effective than hydroquinone in reducing melasma and hyperpigmentation. As well as this Glycolic Acid helps reduce blocked pores and blackheads.
Does exfoliating make the skin thinner?
Glycolic Acid helps to reduce dead skin cells whereby the stratum corneum becomes thinner. This brought about the idea that using an Exfoliant makes skin become more vulnerable. That is not so clear cut. The skin is made up of different layers. Although the outermost skin layer does lose its thickness, the layers of skin underneath actually become thicker through exfoliating. It has even been discovered that Glycolic Acid can counteract the thinning of the skin through long term use of steroids, such as hormone creams.
What should you look out for in an Exfoliant?
The pH level.
The effectiveness of an Exfoliant does not only depend on the concentration of Acids used; the pH level (Acidity) is also important. This should be between 3 and 5. At a higher or lower Acidity there is a risk that the product will irritate the skin or that it is not sufficiently effective. The Exfoliant by Dr. Jetske Ultee fulfils this requirement.
When you begin exfoliating it is important to let your skin adjust. Increase the use slowly. Start with two to three times a week. If you see that your skin goes red or starts to flake or peel, take it a step back.
Extra protection from the sun.
Glycolic Acid can cause the skin to become more sensitive to the sun. So protect your skin properly with a sun cream. Although that is, in fact, always important, even if not using an Exfoliant.
Which skin type.
Lastly, before use first have a good look at your skin type. A sensitive or unsettled (oily) skin with impurities will benefit more from Salicylic Acid than Glycolic Acid. This fat soluble Acid penetrates the pores, soothes and improves sebum regulation.
Treating Skin with Salicylic Acid
Can You Combine Our Exfoliants?