Glycolic acid, a type of alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA), has gained popularity in recent years for its exfoliating and anti-aging benefits. However, many people are unsure of what percentage of glycolic acid is effective and safe for use on the skin. Dr. B, Dermatologist for nearly 50 years offers his experience on the topic.
Clinical studies have shown that glycolic acid concentrations ranging from 7% to 17% are effective for improving the texture and appearance of the skin. A study published in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology found that a 10% glycolic acid solution like the Dermatologist's Choice Glycolic Peel Cleansing Pads was effective in reducing the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and hyperpigmentation in 24 participants after 12 weeks of use. Another study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology found that an 8% glycolic acid solution like the Dermatologist's Choice Facial Enhancement Cream daily moisturizer+ improved skin texture and decreased the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles in 21 participants after 22 weeks of use.
While higher concentrations of glycolic acid may produce more immediate results, they also increase the risk of skin irritation and sensitivity. Concentrations above 20% should only be used under the guidance of a dermatologist.
" I recommend glycolic to all my patients. I've used the ingredient for almost a half a century, it works and I continue to trust it when caring for my patients." states Dr. B., founder of Dermatologist's Choice Skincare.
It's important to note that glycolic acid may not be suitable for all skin types, particularly those with sensitive or reactive skin. It's always a good idea to patch test a new product containing glycolic acid before applying it to your entire face. Keep in mind this doesn't mean if you have sensitive or reactive skin you can't use Glycolic, we recommend starting with a lower concentration of glycolic in a gentle formulation like in the Dermatologist's Choice Facial Enhancement Cream daily moisturizer+.
In conclusion, a glycolic acid concentration of 7% to 17% is generally considered effective and safe for improving skin texture and reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. As with any skincare ingredient, it's important to patch test and consult with a dermatologist if you have any concerns about using glycolic acid.
If you're interested in incorporating glycolic acid into your skincare routine, we have many products at Dermatologist's Choice that contain this ingredient, including Purifying Toner with glycolic, Glycolic Peel Cleansing Pads, and day/night glycolic treatment moisturizers such as the Ultra Anti-Aging Cream medical-grade and Facial Enhancement Cream daily moisturizer+. Be sure to read product labels carefully to ensure that you're using a concentration that is appropriate for your skin type and concerns.