There are few things that make you feel better about yourself than looking in the mirror and see a vibrant, healthy-looking complexion. Healthy skin is important, for both your physical and mental health. That said, we all have those times when our skin just doesn’t look it’s best. Stress, diet, and everyday life can play a role in how healthy your skin looks and feels. Thankfully, there are skin care products out there that help erase the signs of stress and aging and leave a radiant complexion in their place. One of my favorites for accomplishing this is glycolic acid.
Starting with the Basics – What Is Glycolic Acid?
To understand how glycolic acid works, it’s best, to begin with, an understanding of what it is. Glycolic acid is a compound that’s a member of the alpha-hydroxy family, also known as AHAs. You’ve probably heard of AHAs, as they have been touted as miracle anti-aging skin care agents for years. In addition to glycolic acid, some of the more popular AHAs include lactic acid and citric acid.
Alpha hydroxy acids are naturally occurring in nature – think along the lines of lactic acid coming from dairy and citric acid being sourced from citrus. Glycolic acid is derived from sugar cane but has a unique quality that makes it one of the most effective of the AHA family. Of all the alpha-hydroxy acids, glycolic acid has the simplest and smallest molecular structure. What this means from the perspective of its effectiveness in skincare is that its small molecular size more easily penetrates the skin – meaning it’s more bioavailable, and therefore more effective.
So, what does glycolic acid really do? For starters, glycolic acid is best known for its exfoliating properties. It’s what’s known as an enzymatic exfoliant, meaning that it exfoliates through a chemical reaction rather than through harsh abrasives. Additionally, glycolic acid promotes cellular turnover – which translates to healthier, more vibrant looking skin. Let’s take a closer look at how it all works.
Why Glycolic Acid Is Nature’s Best Exfoliant
Regular exfoliation is extremely important for healthy skin. You might be surprised to hear this, especially if your familiarity with exfoliation involves super harsh and scratchy abrasive scrubs and creams. Overly abrasive exfoliants aren’t healthy for anyone’s skin. They can scratch and damage the skin surface, which not only increases the risk of inflammation or infection but also weakens the skin’s support structures.
Glycolic acid is different because instead of being abrasive, it settles into the areas where dead skin is adhered to the fresh, new skin beneath and works to loosen the bond between the two. As a result, old skin cells are more easily sloughed away – all without damaging delicate facial skin.
Glycolic acid treatments are also different from abrasive exfoliants in that they’re often applied as treatments that are meant to be left on the skin. It’s common to find glycolic acid in skincare products that are designed to be used in the evening so that the glycolic acid can work at loosening the glue that holds dead skin cells to the surface and promote cellular regeneration beneath the surface while you sleep.
How Glycolic Acid Helps Brings Out Healthy, Vibrant Skin
Glycolic acid’s exfoliating properties make it an effective treatment for skin that looks a little dull and lifeless, as well as for reducing the appearance of light to moderate skin discolorations. This happens through a couple of different mechanisms. First, all those hyperpigmented dead skin cells clinging to the surface are sloughed away, revealing the fresh, healthy skin in their place. Secondly, glycolic acid helps to repair some of the damage that leads to discolorations in the first place.
Because glycolic acid is such a small molecule, it can easily pass into the deeper layers of the skin. It’s here that it works to promote and speed up cellular regeneration. As we age, cell turn over begins to slow down a bit. All those damaged skin cells hang around longer, and the new skin cells that are produced are more likely to be damaged as well. When you apply a glycolic acid treatment, it gets in there and encourages faster cell turnover. In this way, glycolic acid slowly over time gives your skin a more youthful, smooth and even-toned appearance.
Glycolic Acid as an Anti-Aging Treatment
Glycolic acid is one of those skincare ingredients that can work wonders for a range of skin types. For example, it can be effective in helping to clear out blackheads and prevent blemishes from forming by keeping dead skin cells from settling into pores where they can cause problems. Glycolic acid, when used in a quality skincare formula, such as OZNaturals Glycolic 30% Micro Peel, it is usually well tolerated by individuals with sensitive skin as well.
Glycolic acid has also been gaining traction as one of the most effective anti-aging skincare ingredients. As it promotes cellular regeneration, glycolic acid also stimulates collagen synthesis – yet another thing that naturally declines as we age. Collagen is a major supportive structure of the skin, which is why as production declines, our skin begins to lose some of its elasticity and firmness. Glycolic acid helps to fight against this normal occurrence and slows down the rate at which your skin ages.
Gentle, Natural Skincare for Beautiful Skin
There are a lot of things you can do to help your skin look healthy and radiant, regardless of how many years you’ve lived or the number of laugh lines you’ve earned. Your skin can age gracefully and beautifully when you take care of it by choosing products that are gentle, effective, and as close to nature as possible. Choose wisely and let skincare ingredients like glycolic acid help your skin look its absolute best.