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Building Tolerance to Irritating Skincare Products, Here's What Dermatologists Say

irritated skin

Glycolic acid and TCA are popular skincare ingredients known for their exfoliating and brightening properties. However, for some people, these products can be irritating to the skin, causing redness, itching, and burning sensations.

It's important to note, irritation from glycolic or TCA is not always a bad thing, In fact, in most cases it means it's working. Yes, when you experience some redness after applying glycolic or TCA it is a good sign the product is doing its job to improve the skin. Don't worry, the redness commonly goes away in a couple hours.

When explaining the side effects of glycolic and TCA on the skin I like to share the cold shower example. When you walk into a cold shower do you experience a bit of a shock to your body? Does your body react by telling your brain this water is cold not hot like it expects? In most cases, glycolic and TCA basically create a similar biological response. When the glycolic or TCA is applied on the skin and you feel the Trustworthy Tingle it alerts the body of the ingredients entering the skin. The skin then may respond by becoming red or irritated. This is a defense at first but nothing to be concerned about. As the skin understands the glycolic and TCA is not harmful the less the skin will react with redness or irritation. Does this make sense? Let me know if you have questions by emailing us at

In this article, we'll discuss how you can build tolerance to these irritating skincare products and what dermatologists say will help reduce skin irritation.

  1. Start Slow The first step in building tolerance to glycolic acid or TCA is to start slow. Begin by using these products once a week, gradually increasing the frequency as your skin adapts. This will allow your skin to adjust to the active ingredients and reduce the risk of irritation.

  2. Use a gentle cleanser before using glycolic acid or TCA, it's important to cleanse your skin thoroughly with a gentle cleanser. This will remove any dirt, oil, or makeup that could contribute to skin irritation. Try the pH Balanced Cleanser.

  3. Apply a moisturizer after using glycolic acid or TCA, be sure to apply a moisturizer to your skin. This will help to soothe and hydrate the skin, reducing the risk of irritation. Dr. B. recommends the Moisture Duo.

  4. Wear Sunscreen Exposure to sunlight can make skin irritation worse, so it's important to wear sunscreen when using glycolic acid or TCA. Choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 to protect your skin from the harmful effects of UV rays.

  5. Consult a Dermatologist If you are experiencing severe skin irritation from glycolic acid or TCA, it's important to consult a dermatologist. They can evaluate your skin and recommend the best course of treatment to reduce irritation.

In conclusion, building tolerance to irritating skincare products like glycolic acid or TCA takes time and patience. By starting slow, using a gentle cleanser, applying a moisturizer, wearing sunscreen, and consulting a dermatologist, you can reduce skin irritation and enjoy the benefits of these powerful skincare ingredients. 

Get started with glycolic acid skincare here.

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