Exfoliation has become one of the most basic skincare staples that everyone needs. And Glycolic acid is the gold standard of exfoliation. It’s the secret to a flawless, younger-looking complexion.
If you’re an acid virgin, glycolic acid is an ideal choice because it’s a gentle exfoliator but still offers serious skin benefits. From shedding off dead skin cells to treating skin discoloration, this AHA has a lot to offer. Because of its small molecule size, it’s able to penetrate deeply into your skin and exfoliate thoroughly.
Also, it’s perfect for mature skin because of its proven anti-aging properties. It stimulates fibroblasts cells to increase collagen production. And in doing so, it firms your skin and minimizes the appearance of fine lines & wrinkles.
Does that mean you can never go wrong with glycolic acid? Well, that’s not entirely true. If used incorrectly, it can have the opposite effect on your skin than intended. In this article, we’re gonna answer a few basic questions about glycolic acid and its usage.
Can You Use Glycolic Acid Every Day?
Whether or not can you use glycolic acid every day depends on several factors including your skin type, age, and acid concentration. But the most important thing is your tolerance to the acid.
That means you can use glycolic acid as often as your skin can tolerate it.
Anyway, here’s a quick guide on using glycolic acid as per your age group:
Teens & the Early 20s
Teens often suffer from oiliness and acne breakouts. And glycolic acid is a holy-grail ingredient when it comes to removing excess oil and preventing breakouts. That being said, you should refrain from using acids in your teens unless prescribed by your dermatologist.
Your dermatologist should be able to assess your skin needs and recommend products based on the assessment.
If you’re above 20 years of age, you should start by incorporating 5% glycolic acid to your skincare routine. Use it 2-3 times a week unless prescribed otherwise by your dermatologist. Regular exfoliation will prevent pimples, slow down aging, and keep your skin looking healthy.
For people aged between 25 to 35 years old, you can start using 10% glycolic acid 4 times a week. Your skin should be able to tolerate this much concentration of the acid. But it’s advised that you do a patch test first especially if you have sensitive skin.
If you have overly dry and highly sensitive skin, you may develop irritation and redness. But it would work great if you have normal, oily, or combination skin type.
In case you have sensitive skin, you would want to start real slow. Go with a lower concentration of acids and do a patch test before putting it all over your face. And it’s important that you go with facial cleansers rather than leave-on glycolic acid products.
When you feel that your sensitive skin is ready for something intense, you can do a chemical peel once every two weeks.
Regular application will brighten your complexion, even out skin tone, reduce sebum activity, boost cell turnover, and provide anti-aging benefits.
When you’re over 35 years of age, the tell-tale signs of aging will set in. Just stick to your rigorous skincare routine and continue using acids as you were doing in your early 30s.
Consider adding retinoid to your skincare routine at this point. It stimulates collagen, repairs sun damage, and reduces fine lines & wrinkles.
If you’re someone who’s over 45 years of age and has been using acids in the past, you will age gracefully. When you’re in your late 40s, you can go with 30% glycolic acid peels or masks once a week. Or you can also use 8 to 10% glycolic acid products every day as you would have developed some decent tolerance over the years.
Please note that this only applies if you’ve been using acids for a long time. For beginners, you should always start slow.
Upon regular application, it will fade age spots, increase cell turnover, treat skin discoloration, and keep the pores clear.
So, the answer to the question “Is it ok to use glycolic acid everyday?” is yes. That said, it’s vital that your skin is totally up for it. And it also depends on the product you’re using.
How to Use Glycolic Acid?
You can use glycolic acid in the form of cleansers, creams, serums, peels, and masks. Just remember not every product is created equal. As a general rule of thumb, you should start with cleanser or creams and then move on to peels and masks as your skin develops a tolerance to glycolic acid.
Using glycolic acid face washes or creams every day may be fine but doing chemical peels daily isn’t a great idea. If you’re going with a chemical peel, don’t do it more than once a week. Doing a peel once every other week is ideal.
Also, you should know when to stop. If your skin is feeling irritated, then you should hold off on those peels.
Is it Safe to Use Glycolic Acid?
Glycolic acid is usually safe for use by everyone. But it’s important to know what you’re doing. Dermatologists use peels with 70% concentration of the acid. But you shouldn’t invest in glycolic acid home peels with more than 30% concentration of the acid.
If you don’t have sensitive skin, you can use 10% glycolic acid face washes every day without any problem. The number can go up to 15% for face creams.
If the concentration is higher, then you should limit the usage to twice or thrice a week. Overall, it’s quite safe and effective. That’s not to say, you’ll never experience any negative effects. You may still experience some side effects including:
- Increased Sun Sensitivity: Glycolic acid has the tendency to make your skin more sensitive to the sun. Therefore, you should avoid going out in the sun after using the acid. Or your skin will be all messed up. And don’t forget the importance of sunscreens.
- Irritation: Irritation is common with higher concentrations of glycolic acid. A patch test goes a long way before you decide to put it all over your face.
- Skin Discoloration: If you’re using high strength peels at home, you can experience scarring and skin discoloration. That’s why it’s recommended that you start small.
- Dryness: Glycolic acid can strip the skin of its moisture. Therefore, you may be left with dry and parched skin. Moisturization is the key.
If used correctly, glycolic acid can improve your skin dramatically. But you should know how to do it right. It’s important that you pick the right formulas and learn about how often you should use them. And if you do that, you’ll be able to achieve your best skin ever.
We hope this guide answered all your basic questions about glycolic acid. If you still have queries, feel free to let us know in the comments below. We’ll do our best to resolve all your doubts.