Back in college, I wasn't very nice to my skin. With skincare being a niche topic on the internet, I never really understood it to take care of it. Even though I followed a CTM routine, I wasn't consistent with it. Due to this factor, most of the times, my skin looked dull, oily and tired.
It was only in my late 20s did I make a conscious attempt to look after my skin. However, the damage was already done. To reverse the effects of sun damage and pimple popping, I experimented with various skincare products and home remedies- only to find a forever mate in glycolic acid! A close friend from school had recommended it to me two years ago, and I can't thank her enough for it even today.
Just so that we're on the same page, I would like you to know what glycolic acid is first. It's basically a chemical exfoliating ingredient that is extracted from sugarcane. Second, it dissolves dead skin cells instantly, removes makeup residue and gets rid of any gunk on the skin's surface. Not to mention that it also stimulates collagen production and keeps the fine lines and wrinkles at bay.
You will mostly find glycolic acid in different peels, toners and face creams. I like using a toner with glycolic acid in it as it makes my skin feel fresh and my pores squeaky clean. Please note that different skin types can tolerate different percentages of glycolic acid. A safe number to start with is 5%. If your skin can handle it, try 10%. Any number above that requires your dermatologist's consent.
The best time and the only time you should be using glycolic acid is in the evening. Since glycolic acid makes your skin vulnerable to sun damage, it's safer to use it at night. This gives the product enough time to work its magic.
Depending on your skin's texture, results tend to show up 3-6 weeks. Using glycolic acid also keeps the skin's pores clean and prevents it from getting clogged or breaking out too.
I agree that toners aren't everyone's go-to product. If it isn't yours too then opt for glycolic peels or creams instead. You can buy them from a reputed source or your dermatologist's clinic. Keep in mind that before applying a glycolic peel, make sure that your skin is clean and makeup-free. Do a patch test first to see how your skin reacts to glycolic acid. If it burns, wash it off, if you feel a slight tingle, this is normal, go ahead with it. Apply the peel using a fan brush and leave it on for not more than 10 minutes.
To remove the acid, you can use a neutralizer or plain water too. Your skin will most likely feel dry and itchy post the peel. Use a cold cloth or aloe vera gel to cool and soothe it. Don't forget to moisturise your skin after!
Glycolic acid is one skincare product that I will never break up with. I think it does a far better job at exfoliating my skin than most face scrubs I tried in the past. The wrong face scrub can irritate and dry out the skin. That's never going to be the case with glycolic acid. On the contrary, your skin will thank you for it!
Featured Image: Writer's Own