What Is Glycolic Acid Facial and How Should I Use It at Home?

Among the anti-aging treatments, one stands above all others. The glycolic acid facial is so widespread and so effective that by now everyone must have heard of it. But in case some of you haven’t, we’re here to tell you everything about it.

Glycolic Acid Facial

This treatment is one of the most frequently done facial treatments and has been for a while now. It works by loosening the ‘glue’ which holds the dead skin cells together and removes it without any visible peeling or flaking.

With the topmost layer gone, the body works quickly to renew the removed skin, replacing it with a new, young layer. The reason why this acid is so popular and so frequently used is that glycolic is the acid with one of the smallest molecules among the AHAs.

Small molecules mean that it penetrates the skin more easily and not only does it peel the upper layer, but it also prompts the layer underneath to start producing more collagen. Because of this, after the treatment, the skin looks younger, tighter, smoother and more even.


It was mentioned above that this is an anti-aging treatment, and this is true, however, as it cleanses the skin and unclogs pores, it can also be used for treating acne. And here’s how the procedure works:

Step 1: Cleansing

Cleansing is a necessary part of any facial treatment. It gets rid of any impurities or dirt that may hinder the process that follows. It should be done with a light hand and repeated several times in case there is makeup on the face, to make sure that the skin is nice and clean.

Step 2: Testing

During this step, a prepping solution is applied to the face. It contains a small amount of glycolic acid which helps to check the skin’s reaction to the acid as well as get rid of any excess oil that might hinder the peel from giving the best results.

Step 3: Applying the Acid

Finally, a thin layer of glycolic acid is applied all over the face and left to sit for 5-10 minutes, depending on the concentration of the acid and how used to the acid the skin is.

The acid is bet applied with a cotton pad. The pad must be thoroughly drained from any excess solution to avoid dripping and stop the solution from getting in or around the eyes. During the time the acid stays of the face, a slight tingling sensation is quite normal.

Step 4: Neutralizing and Cooling

After the 5-10 minutes are over, a neutralizer is applied over the acid to stop the reaction. Next, cold pads are used to cool the face and remove the leftover product. After this, any redness that might have resulted from the treatment should be gone.

Step 5: Moisturizing

A terribly important step after a glycolic peel is moisturizing the skin and protecting it with an SPF of 30 or higher. Keep in mind that the face loses its upper, protective layer during the treatment and is afterward especially vulnerable to UV rays and bacteria which is why you should take special care of it during the days following the treatment.

The word ‘acid’ may sound scary to some, but rest assured, there is nothing to fear. In its essence, the glycolic acid facial is actually a peel and works like any other peeling product.

In fact, many over-the-counter peeling products contain glycolic acid to some degree. Usually, these products have a very low percentage of the acid (somewhere between 7% and 12%).

This is done so that the products would be safe to use at home, and they work quite well for the skin. However, the professional peel you get at the dermatologist’s office will have between 20% and 50% acid and ill in turn yield much better results.

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