Glycolic Acid Treatments
Glycolic acid, otherwise known as alpha hydroxy or fruity acid, is used for both acne treatments and to combat the signs of aging. It works to soften the skin by removing old and dead layers of skin cells, thus promoting new growth and enhanced texture. It is often especially successful for people who have coarse, sun-damaged skin. Bleaching solutions may be incorporated into glycolic acid treatments when one of the goals is to even out the skin’s pigmentation.
There are no serious side effects associated with the use of glycolic acid. The most common complaint is discomfort during the treatment itself, relating to a slight feeling of warmth during its application. It also has been known to result in some temporary minor skin irritation and redness. If the symptoms do not resolve themselves, your doctor may suggest changing to a milder formula.
When your doctor prescribes a glycolic acid treatment, the initial application will take place in the doctor’s office to teach you the correct method of use. This will allow you to properly continue your skin-care routine at home. There are two different forms of glycolic acid treatments commonly used, a cream and a facial wash. Both typically contain about 12 percent glycolic acid, which seems to be the optimal amount for many people to remove any dry, damaged facial skin. A moisturizer is usually blended into the formula and, when necessary, a bleaching agent is added as well.
Most patients are recommended to apply the glycolic acid to their faces twice a day, whether it is a cream to lightly spread across the face or a facial wash to gently use to cleanse. During follow-up visits with your doctor, he or she may change the concentration of the formulation or how often you use the product.
Many patients will find that their skin becomes a little red, irritated, itchy or dry in the first few weeks after beginning to use glycolic acid. But over time, these symptoms will lessen and stop altogether as the skin becomes accustomed to the treatments.
It is essential to protect and care for your freshly rejuvenated skin. Glycolic acid has a thinning effect on the skin, so it is important to avoid spending long periods of time exposed to the sun and to regularly apply sunscreen. If you do get a sunburn, you should discontinue use of glycolic acid until it has disappeared. Wind and cold weather may also irritate your skin.
For each patient using glycolic acid, the overall results and how quickly they take place will vary somewhat. However, over the course of treatment with glycolic acid, you should eventually begin to notice improvements in both the texture and the tone of your skin. It can often provide a general smoothness and rejuvenation to the skin and over time, pigmented spots fade away. Sometimes visible results take place after only six weeks of treatment.