Knowing how to use glycolic acid properly will ensure you get the amazing benefits… and none of the unwanted side effects.
Should you purchase the highest percentage of glycolic acid possible and use that, because higher concentration means better results, faster?
No—skin that isn’t used to glycolic acid or is already sensitized can react severely. So continue reading for detailed information on how to use glycolic acid to ensure clear, healthy, awesome skin!
How to Use Glycolic Acid: a Summary
- Start with a product containing between 5 – 8%. This is high enough to do something but is still a safe range
- A daily glycolic exfoliator is one of the best choices: easy consistent use and the right way to build up your skins tolerance.
- Monitor how your skin reacts: if it becomes red or irritated reduce usage to once every 2 or 3 days for a week or two
- Increase application frequency or time left on skin if your skin as you go (eg. the tingling sensation is less, there is no redness)
- Monitor your skin: you may not need to increase anything—plenty of people find using a good product with 5 – 8% concentration every day is enough to keep skin healthy and clear of blackheads and fine lines
- BONUS TIP: try “dermaplaning” before hand to increase results. See this page for details
The Importance of Concentration (%) and Building Up
Over the counter products (OTC) containing glycolic acid range in concentration from 1% to 30%.
Chemical peels performed by dermatologists range from 30% to 70%.
- Evaluate how your skin feels while you use it—a mild tingling is normal and an indication it is working (but not required, if you don’t feel anything the product is still working)
- You can decrease the usage to every second day—or start at a frequency of every few days. This is fine, as along as you listen to your skin
- After a 3 or 4 weeks you can increase the frequency or application time. By now your skin will be used to the acid and will be able to handle more
- Some people claim anything lower than 20% concentration isn’t worth doing—but this is dangerous as glycolic acid cause damage to skin if not used correctly
- Low doses used consistently work best at helping to restore normal health, keeping it clear, and providing a fresh glow
- Try a glycolic acid toner product, which you can easily apply everyday and not worry about having to perform a heavier glycolic peel
Who Shouldn’t Use Glycolic Acid?
Don’t use if you:
- Are or recently stopped using prescription medication for acne
- Have recently had a microdermabrasion treatment
- Use sun beds or are in the sun frequently without adequate protection
- Have thinned or sensitized skin
Nothing beats consistency in skin care, and this is especially true when it comes to using this AHA.
It can remarkably improve the condition of skin by balancing the acid mantle, providing an even and deep exfoliation, and increasing cell turnover resulting in a healthy fresh face. Enjoy!