The 4-night protocol for more radiant skin

The 4-night protocol for more radiant skin

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Mode d'utilisation de l'acide glycolique.

How to use Glycolic Acid?

Glycolic acid is an exfoliating ingredient, used in several sectors within cosmetology. Thanks to the different benefits it provides for your skin and scalp, glycolic acid is used in various formulations for skin care or bathing.

Published December 5, 2022, by Stéphanie, Doctorate in Life and Health Sciences, — 11 min read

All Typology products with glycolic acid.

The main ways in which glycolic acid works.

Often nicknamed fruit acid, glycolic acid is a powerful ingredient found in many beauty products: from peels to masks, plus serums and targeted night creams like products for oily skin, brightening or anti-wrinkle products, body products, shampoos and conditioners, and even toners and cleansing lotions.

Glycolic acid is derived from fruit sugar (beetroot, grape, sugarcane, pineapple, etc…) and is part of the alpha-hydroxy acids (A.H.A.) family. Its low molecular weight (M = 76,05 g/mol) helps it to fully penetrate the deepest layers of the skin. The percentages of A.H.A. in individual products on the market varies between 4% and 10%. It’s suitable for all skin types, as long as you choose a product adapted to your skin. Any stronger concentrations have to be prescribed by a doctor.

Glycolic acid is known and loved for its exfoliating properties. It reacts on contact with the stratum corneum, without rubbing, weakening the lipid bonds holding the corneocytes together, accelerating the natural desquamation process and effectively removing impurities to reveal smoother, more toned and younger-looking skin underneath. It can really improve the look and texture of your skin, because it helps to boost skin cell renewal and microcirculation. It leaves your complexion smooth and brightened, your skin purified (it regulates sebum production), it tightens your pores, and it reduces the appearance of skin irregularities (acne scarring, etc…).

It has other benefits, too: glycolic acid helps to reduce the appearance of pigmentation marks by slowing the overproduction of melanin, as well as firming and hydrating the skin, and reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles by boosting collagen and elastin production, both responsible for firm skin, and hyaluronic acid. These benefits often depend on the volume of glycolic acid and the other key ingredients in any skincare product.

When should you use glycolic acid?

Most skin types can benefit from using a product with glycolic acid. It’s best suited to those with skin that is dry, normal, combination to oily, prone to imperfections (dilated pores, spots, blackheads) or redness, dull, hyperpigmented, and mature. However, glycolic acid doesn’t work for everyone. If you have sensitive skin, these probably aren’t the right products for you. We strongly advise you to consult a dermatologist before trying them. They can cause allergic reactions and skin irritations. Similarly, those with darker skin can be at risk of pigmentation issues when using glycolic acid.

Glycolic acid fits perfectly with formulations designed for those with combination to oily skin, because it works to regulate sebum production and prevents acne breakouts, blocked pores, and spots. For those with dry skin, glycolic acid helps to increase skin hydration by encouraging synthesis of hyaluronic acid. It can even help those with pigmentation issues (brown marks, sun spots, melasma, acne scarring) by evening the skin tone and making the marks less visible. Glycolic acid is also known for brightening tired and dull skin, leaving it fresher, more radiant, and looking younger. For mature skin, skincare products with glycolic acid are appreciated for their brightening properties, their toning effect, and their effectiveness at reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

Plus, by removing the outer layer of dead skin cells and boosting cell renewal, it facilitates the skin’s absorption of other skincare products.

How to use glycolic acid in a skincare routine?

Although glycolic acid has hydrating properties, the skincare products which contain this ingredient are, above all, exfoliating products. So, it’s important to hydrate your skin when you’ve used fruit acids because, as well as exfoliating your skin, glycolic acid risks also drying it out. To tackle this side effect, apply a moisturizer suited to your skin type after using a product with glycolic acid.

Pro tip: Our exfoliating serum with 10% glycolic acid also contains ingredients with soothing, anti-irritation, anti-inflammatory and reparatory properties, such as bisabolol and chamomile extract. Our exfoliating toner with 8% glycolic acid contains vegetable glycerine, known for its hydrating properties, reducing the possibility of irritation or inflammation, and the same goes for our exfoliating shower gel.

When you exfoliate, you refine the stratum corneum. This leaves your skin more exposed, vulnerable, and sensitive, which is why you should only use products with glycolic acid in the evening. Your skin will then have enough time to renew while you’re asleep. In fact, it’s during this time that skin cell renewal is at a maximum. Plus, we advise you to protect your skin from UV rays, regardless of the season, with a sunscreen (SPF 30 minimum) during the day and, if possible, by avoiding lengthy exposure to the sun for several weeks after use. If you don’t protect your skin, it’ll get red quickly and you’ll be at higher risk of sunburn.

If you want skin that is smoother, healthier and brighter, begin by removing your makeup and cleansing your face. Glycolic acid is best used on properly dried skin; using it on damp skin is less effective and less well tolerated because the acid is more irritating when mixed with water. If you choose our exfoliating face serum with glycolic acid, spread three or four drops (the equivalent of a pea-sized amount) on your face during your evening skincare routine. Gently massage it in for a few moments so that it can deeply penetrate your skin. You don’t need to rinse your face. When using glycolic acid, make sure to avoid your eye contour!

Use our exfoliating toner with glycolic acid daily, in the evening only, after removing your makeup. To use it, soak a reusable cotton pad with the toner, then sweep it over your face, carefully avoiding your eye contour. You don’t need to rinse your face afterwards, and can complete your skincare routine with a serum and a night cream.

We’ve also developed an exfoliating shower gel with 6% glycolic acid. In the evenings only, apply a small amount of product all over your damp body. You don’t need much to properly clean your body. After your shower, we recommend applying a hydrating product to finish off your routine. In terms of hair care products, for example a shampoo with glycolic acid, apply it to damp hair, massage for a few moments, then rinse off.

Treat yourself to a moment of pleasure by discovering our range of glycolic acid products on our site, alongside all related products.

Sources :

  • WON Y. H. & al. The effet of glycolic acid on cultured human skin fibroblasts : celle proliferative effect and increased collagen synthesis. The Journal of Dermatology (1998).

  • MAIBACH H.I. & al. Increased in vivo collagen synthesis and in vitro cell proliferative effect of glycolic acid. Dermatologic Surgery (1998).

  • GARG G. & al. Chemical peeling - glycolic acid in varying concentrations and time intervals. Indian Journal of Dermatology, Venereology and Leprology (2001).

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