You may have heard of glycolic acid, but you might not know what this colorless, odorless, hygroscopic liquid really is. Continue reading to learn about where glycolic acid comes from and why this highly soluble product is found in skin care products around the world.

What Is Glycolic Acid?

Glycolic acid is an alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA) made from sugar cane. This water-soluble additive is one of the most popular AHAs in skin care products due to its many enriching benefits. Glycolic acid can produce more collagen, dissolve dead skin cells, and prevent breakouts. 

Because of its small molecular size, glycolic acid is the most bioavailable and active out of all the AHAs.

What Types of Products Use Glycolic Acid? 

Since glycolic acid is so absorbent, it can hydrate skin and keep pores clean while reversing the effects of acne and aging. This is why glycolic acid works well in skin care products. Glycolic acid can be found in various products including:

  • Facial cleansers
  • Toners and facial mists
  • Liquid exfoliants
  • Serums and moisturizers
  • Acne treatments
  • Face masks & peels

Glycolic acid for hair care is less common, but it can help remove excess oils and product buildup.

What Else Is Glycolic Acid Used For?

This chemical exfoliant is predominantly found in skin care products. Glycolic acid is the preferred acid to improve skin conditions like blackheads, hyperpigmentation, psoriasis, and other issues. Dermatologists often choose glycolic acid over other acids due to its effectiveness and few side effects.

Glycolic acid can also be used as a dyeing and tanning agent, a flavoring agent, and a preserving agent in the textile and food industries.

What To Be Aware of When Using Glycolic Acid Products

In general, glycolic acid is safe to use. But as with all chemical exfoliants, there are a few risks to be aware of. Below are three side effects of glycolic acid usage.

  • Sun Damage

Chemical exfoliants are highly effective in removing the top layer of skin cells. For this reason, it’s important to always wear sunscreen when using glycolic acid. This is because glycolic acid treatments make the skin much more sensitive to the sun.

  • Skin Irritation

Even though a reaction to glycolic acid is rare, some people will still experience itching, burning, swelling, or inflammation. Burning sensations are a clear sign that the glycolic acid treatment isn’t working properly. Irritation may also be a result of frequent use or if the treatment gets in or near the eyes. 

  • Hyperpigmentation

Typically, glycolic acid can help reduce hyperpigmentation—but sometimes it can cause it. Those who are susceptible to hyperpigmentation should use gentle exfoliants instead of strong or abrasive skin care products.

Cosmetic & Personal Care Product Solutions From Kraft Chemical

Give your customers a product they can feel confident about. Kraft Chemical offers an extensive selection of cosmetic and personal care ingredients that you can integrate into the products consumers want. Explore glycolic acid and more at Kraft Chemical now.

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