ALANNA: The Specialized Lip Brand.

It appears that your cart is currently empty!


Glycolic Acid for Skin : Benefits & Everything to Know

by Rashi Bahel Mehra |

Have you ever wondered what makes skin look flawless & radiant? You can achieve the skin of your dreams by using chemical exfoliants that bring out the natural glow of your skin. 

Exfoliation is a weekly skincare routine that helps to get rid of dead & dry skin cells. It is an essential step in the skincare routine. Certain chemical actives remove dead cells naturally. One of such ingredients is Glycolic Acid. Let's find out its ins & outs.

What is Glycolic Acid? 

Glycolic acid is a type of AHA that is naturally found in sugarcane. It's a colourless, odourless & water-soluble molecule known for its effortless exfoliating properties. 

It is effective in reducing dark spots and cells, treating hyperpigmentation, rejuvenating skin cells & smoothening the  skin texture. It works by losing the skin bond, which accelerates the exfoliation & peeling of the upper layer of skin. 

In other words, it  is a natural exfoliant that is used in various cosmetic & skincare products. For this same reason, even dermatologists use it in the peeling treatments. Let’s understand exactly how the peeling theory of glycolic acid works. 

Glycolic Acid: The Peel Theory 


Glycolic acid is one of the most common agents used in peeling treatments. It is used to improve the skin texture, even out uneven skin tone, reverse sun damage & make it smoother. 

The dermatologist starts by cleansing the dirt & impurities, then applying the chemical solution directly on the face. The layer of chemicals, glycolic acid & other chemicals, as per professionals is applied on skin for a definite period of time. It  gently starts to  exfoliate the dead cells, and with time, a new layer of skin is formed. 

The depth/intensity of the peel depends on the concentration of glycolic acid & other chemicals used in the process. Generally, for very superficial peels, 30-50% of glycolic acid is applied for 1-2 minutes. In the case of superficial peels & medium depth peels, the concentration of it  varies from 50-70%.


Benefits of Glycolic Acid 

Apart from peeling treatments, these are the other benefits of glycolic acid : 


Excellent Exfoliator: Glycolic acid peels off the upper layer of the skin, that is, the stratum corneum. The active exfoliant loosens the skin bonds & makes it easier to slough off. Using it as an exfoliator gives the maximum benefits. 

Boost Collagen Production: Research shows that glycolic acid stimulates the collagen-boosting cells, such as fibroblastin & elastin. This promotes the regeneration process, which results in radiant & glowing skin. 

Aids in effective absorption of skincare: Glycolic, when paired with other skincare products, amplifies the effectiveness of other products. It removes dead skin cells & allows skincare ingredients to penetrate deeper. 

Prevents Breakouts & Acne - Glycolic acid prevents breakouts & acne by unclogging the pores. It pulls out all the impurities, blackheads & whiteheads, resulting in clear skin. 

Humectant: It has properties to absorb & bind with water molecules within the skin layer. It acts as a moisture-locking agent. 

Anti-aging:  Glycolic acid removes and exfoliates the dead skin cells and stimulates the collagen-boosting proteins. Moreover, it also helps to reduce wrinkles, fine lines & ageing signs. 


How & When to use Glycolic Acid ?  


Glycolic acid promotes skin rejuvenation & boosts collagen. Hence, it can be used in the following skin conditions - 

Uneven Texture: Uneven texture refers to persistent bumps, rough patches, dark spots & scars. These issues can be solved by the use of chemical exfoliants like glycolic acid, trichloroacetic acid & salicylic acid.

Dull Skin: Dull skin lacks radiance, lustre & brightness. The build-up of dead skin cells makes the skin look dull. Glycolic acid removes the upper layer of the skin, which brings out the natural glow of the skin. 

Uneven Tone: Dark spots, pigmentation, skin discoloration & tanning are some conditions classified as uneven tones. These skin issues can be treated through regular exfoliation & removal of dead skin cells. 

How to use Glycolic Acid?

Glycolic acid is effective when used in definite concentration. 5-10% glycolic acid is adequate to peel off the skin. For beginners, 2-5% is most suitable & with time, you can increase the concentration. 

It is available in the market as toners, peeling masks, serums, face washes, face creams, face masks, etc. Most preferred form of glycolic acid are : 

As a cleanser -It  is a natural exfoliant that removes dirt, impurities, dust & makeup residues easily. You can include glycolic acid based face wash for evening or night skin care routine. 

Toner & serums: Using glycolic acid as serum & toners will give you a maximum result as it absorbs more profoundly into the skin. Within a few weeks, it reduces dark spots & even out uneven skin tone. 

Moisturizers - Pair glycolic acid moisturizer with UV protection for a hydrated, bright & even skin tone.  

Risks of Glycolic Acid 

Generally, glycolic acids do not cause any harm to the skin when used in 8-10% concentration. Above this, it may negatively impact the skin. 

Before you add it  to your cart, consider the risks involved in using it as well - 

Over-exfoliation: Even though exfoliation promotes skin rejuvenation, remember that over-exfoliation may cause skin damage as well . Consult a dermatologist in case you notice irritation or any side effects. 

Skin-Irritation: Some people experience redness, swelling, itching & burning sensation due to regular use of glycolic acid. Therefore, it's suggested to patch test before including it in skincare. 

Increases Risk of UV Damage - Glycolic acid exposes underneath skin directly to the sun. As a result, your skin may become sun sensitive. Pairing it  with sunscreen is beneficial. 

For the best, firstly patch test it  for a few weeks & if you don't notice any side effects, then only make it part of your skincare routine. Additionally, you can even consult a dermatologist in case you notice any side effects. 


Glycolic acid has multifaceted benefits, such as acting as an anti-aging agent, reducing hyperpigmentation, and also helps to attain even skin tone. It is one of the safest chemical exfoliators when used in the proper concentrations. Incorporating glycolic acid into your skincare routine can do wonders for your skin. 

Frequently Asked Questions (F.A.Q)

Is Glycolic Acid good for dry skin? 

People with dry skin can use glycolic acid to replenish skin & retain the lost hydration. It increases the penetration of skincare ingredients by removing the layer of dead skin cells.

Does Glycolic Acid lighten skin? 

When glycolic acid is used in higher concentrations, it’s observed to treat pigmentation, even out uneven skin tone &  reduce dark spots. It works by removing dead skin cells & makes skin light, bright & radiant. 


Comments (0)

Leave a comment