Glycolic Acid

Is Glycolic Acid Safe for Sensitive Skin?

6 Mins read

Glycolic acid is a popular skincare ingredient favored by many dermatologists.

But is this chemical safe for sensitive skin? Find out the real deal before using it on your skin!

Is Glycolic Acid Safe for Sensitive Skin?

Glycolic acid can be an effective ingredient for people with sensitive skin, but it’s not a one-size-fits-all solution.

If you have sensitive skin, you may find that glycolic acid is a great addition to your beauty routine or you may find that it’s too harsh for your skin.

The only way to know for sure is to try it out and see how your skin reacts.

How Does Glycolic Acid Work for Sensitive Skin?

Glycolic acid, an alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA) found naturally in sugarcane, works by gently sloughing off the top layer of dead skin cells, revealing the brighter, smoother skin underneath.

While this can sound harsh, glycolic acid is actually one of the gentler AHAs on the skin.

In fact, it’s often used to treat sensitive skin and can be soothing while also treating a slew of other common skin concerns.

How to Safely Use Glycolic Acid for Sensitive Skin

It’s a powerful ingredient for improving the appearance of wrinkles, acne scars, and hyperpigmentation, but you need to know how to use glycolic acid correctly (and safely) if you have sensitive skin.

Here are tips on how you can use glycolic acid for sensitive skin:

1. Start with a low percentage

Glycolic acid is available in different concentrations ranging from 5% to 70%. If you have sensitive skin, you should start with a lower concentration such as 10%, and slowly build up your tolerance.

A higher concentration will cause more irritation and redness, even if you have normal or oily skin. Don’t go higher than 30% without consulting your doctor first.

2. Use it in your PM routine

Glycolic acid can increase your skin’s sensitivity to sunlight and make it more prone to sunburns.

So it’s best to apply it only at night when you’re less likely to be exposed to harmful UV rays.

3. Apply a hydrating serum or moisturizer first

Always apply a hydrating serum or moisturizer before applying any AHA products.

This will protect your sensitive skin against potential irritation.

4. Use once daily

I always recommend using your AHA product once daily in the evening because AHAs can increase sun sensitivity; therefore, it’s best to apply them at night when you don’t have to worry about UVA.

5. Clean your skin before applying the glycolic acid

Apply a toner to your face before applying the glycolic acid. This should be done in order to get rid of excess dirt from the skin.

SEE ALSO:  Is Glycolic Acid Safe for Dark Skin?

The toner helps to bring the PH level back to normal and makes your skin more receptive to the application of glycolic acid.

6. Do not apply too much glycolic acid to your face

You should apply a pea-sized amount of glycolic acid after it has been diluted with water or rose water.

Rub in circular motions until it is absorbed by your skin.

7. Do not leave it on for long periods of time

After applying, you should gently rinse off within 10 minutes if you have sensitive skin or 15 minutes if you have normal or oily skin.

You should never leave it on for more than 10-15 minutes as this will lead to irritation and burning sensation in your skin.

Does Glycolic Acid Work on All Skin Types?

Glycolic acid works for all skin types. It has been used in a variety of skincare products for years, and there’s no indication that it’s more or less effective depending on whether you have oily, dry, or combination skin.

However, if you have sensitive skin, you might want to test-drive a small amount of product on your forearm before committing to use it regularly by applying it to your face.

It’s also important to select the right concentration when using glycolic acid in order to avoid irritation.

A product with 10% concentration is a good place to start because it’s effective but not too irritating.

You can always increase your concentration later if you don’t see the results you want.

Does Glycolic Acid Remove Scars?

Yes, glycolic acid can help with scars, and not just acne scars. Glycolic acid is a form of alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) derived from cane sugar.

It is often used in chemical peels that lighten and rejuvenate the skin while treating acne and acne scars.

It also helps with other types of scars such as those caused by surgery or injury.

You can start with a gentle cleanser or toner applied twice daily for best results.

For moderate to deep scars, you may want to try a peel pad or peel applied once or twice a week.

Does Glycolic Acid Dry Out Sensitive Skin?

The short answer is no, as long as you are using the right amount of glycolic acid in your skincare routine.

Glycolic acid can be used on sensitive skin and has even been shown to reduce some signs of aging.

Glycolic acid is considered the holy grail of exfoliating ingredients because it’s the smallest of all alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs).

SEE ALSO:  Is Glycolic Acid Safe for Dark Skin?

This makes it highly effective at lifting away dead skin cells, making it suitable for all skin types, including sensitive skin.

However, if you are new to AHAs or if you have dry or sensitive skin, you should start with a low concentration and gradually increase over time to prevent irritation.

How Can You Tell if Glycolic Acid Is Safe for Your Skin?

The best way to find out if glycolic acid is right for you is to start with a product that contains a low percentage of the ingredient – usually around 10%.

You can always increase the concentration as your skin gets used to the product. Be sure to wear sunscreen daily when you use glycolic acid products.

If you want to try a powerful glycolic peel at home, we recommend using Glycolic Peel Treatment.

This 15% peel is formulated with antioxidant Vitamin E to help defend against environmental stressors that can lead to premature aging of the skin and improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

How to Build Up the Use of Glycolic Acid for Sensitive Skin

There are a number of ways to incorporate this acid into your skincare routine. Here’s how to do it safely and effectively:

1. Wash your face before using a glycolic product.

2. Apply a moisturizer and let it dry before applying the glycolic product.

3. Choose a product that contains no more than 10 percent glycolic acid, if you have sensitive skin.

4. Start off by using the product once per week for one month and then twice per week for the next month until you can use it every other day.

5. Wipe a cotton ball with glycolic acid across your face after cleansing in the evening, avoiding the eyes, and rinse off with warm water in the morning. Do this two to three times per week, but no more than once per day.

6. Try a facial mask that contains glycolic acid instead of using an exfoliating solution or toner on days you aren’t doing a peel or scrub.

7. Apply moisturizer over the mask after rinsing it off, or whenever your skin feels tight or uncomfortable after using a product that contains glycolic acid.

8. Wash off products containing glycolic acid if they cause burning or tingling that doesn’t go away within 20 minutes or so after applying them to your face or body.

Benefits of Glycolic Acid for Sensitive Skin

Here are some of the amazing benefits of glycolic acid for sensitive skin:

SEE ALSO:  Is Glycolic Acid Safe for Dark Skin?

Removes dead skin cells

Glycolic acid works as a natural exfoliant that helps in removing dead skin cells.

The dead skin cells can clog the pores and make your skin look dull and dry.

Therefore, glycolic acid is known to be perfect for sensitive skin as it removes all the dead skin cells.

Evens out your complexion

By removing dead skin cells from the surface of your skin, glycolic acid allows new skin cells to regenerate more easily.

This gives you a smoother complexion and evens out discoloration, age spots, and freckles.

Glycolic acid also removes excess oils from the surface of your skin, making it less likely for pores to become blocked and therefore reducing blackheads

Reduces signs of aging

The biggest benefit of glycolic acid is that it helps reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, while also helping to even out skin tone and texture.

Glycolic acid essentially breaks down the “glue” that holds the dead skin cells together on your face, leaving you with a smoother, more polished complexion.

Helps fade acne scars

Turns out, glycolic acid can have a profound effect on acne-prone skin, as well, because it removes the buildup of dead skin cells that clog pores and cause breakouts in the first place.

This can prevent future breakouts—just make sure you’re using an oil-free moisturizer along with your glycolic products so that you don’t contribute to future acne flareups.

Lessens discoloration from melasma

Glycolic acid is also known for its ability to fade discolorations in your skin, including age spots and sun damage.

It can also help reduce redness from scarring or rosacea.

Improves skin tone and color

Glycolic acid improves overall skin tone by removing discoloration caused by excess pigmentation and sun damage.

It also helps even out blotchy or patchy areas of the skin to create a more consistent complexion.

Exfoliates the skin

As a natural exfoliant, glycolic acid sloughs away dead skin cells from the surface so that new, healthy cells can grow in their place.

This keeps your pores clear and prevents acne breakouts.

Final Thoughts

People with sensitive skin should be aware that while glycolic acid shows promise as a skincare product, it’s important to proceed cautiously.

Starting with a lower concentration of glycolic acid and slowly increasing it until you no longer experience irritation can help ensure that your skin stays healthy long term.

You should also check for any signs of allergic reactions when using new products, as well.