The Ultimate Guide to Glycolic Acid Cream: Expert Tips from a Dermatologist
Updated: May 19
As a dermatologist, I have encountered numerous skincare products in my career, but today we will dive into one of the most potent ingredients (and my favorite) in skincare – Glycolic Acid!
After reading this article, you'll learn about what glycolic acid is, the concentration of glycolic acid cream you should use, the process of using it, and some things you might want to be careful about before using it. We end the article with some of my personal glycolic acid cream recommendations.
Table of contents
What is Glycolic Acid Cream? | What is Glycolic Acid Cream Used For? What are its Benefits? | How to Use Glycolic Acid Cream? - Steps for using it for your face - For the rest of the body | What Should I Be Careful About Before and After Using Glycolic Acid Cream? | What are the Ingredients of Glycolic Acid Cream? | My top picks
What is Glycolic Acid Cream?
Glycolic Acid is a type of alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA) derived from sugar cane. It has been used in skincare for many years and is known for its exfoliating properties. In fact, glycolic acid is often used in professional chemical peels. However, depending on the chemical peel, you may initially encounter redness, irritation, scarring, and discoloration. With a glycolic acid cream, these initial side effects will be almost inexistent. Plus, you can do it on your own at home.
What is Glycolic Acid Cream Used For? What are its Benefits?
Glycolic Acid Cream is used for the following:
To exfoliate the skin, remove dead skin cells, and reveal brighter, smoother skin.
To help improve dyspigmentation (it can also help remove tan) and skin texture.
To reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
To even out skin tone.
To help unclog pores, which can reduce the occurrence of acne breakouts.
To help remove dark spots
So, if you are looking for "Glycolic Acid Cream 12 benefits" or "Glycolic Acid Cream 6 benefits" or "cutiyt cream benefits" or "glyco 6 cream benefits", note that they will more or less be the same as the points mentioned above. The numbers 2, 6, and 12 in the names refer to the %w/w (weight for weight concentration) of glycolic acid. The higher the concentration, the higher would be the peeling effect and the more careful you'll need to be. Therefore, depending on your skin tolerance and requirement (also discussed in the next section), you may use the corresponding concentration.
How to Use Glycolic Acid Cream?
Glycolic acid cream can give you the smoothest, most radiant skin of your life, but you must use it right!
Steps for using it for your face:
Thoroughly cleanse your face.
Start with a pea-sized amount (this should be enough for your entire face) of a low-concentration Glycolic acid cream like CutiYt G2 Cream or Glycolic Acid 6 cream. Don't pair it with any other reactive serum like retinol. Remember only to apply it at night. It's best to leave it overnight while you go to sleep.
Before covering your entire face with it, I'd advise you to start with a patch test. Then, we slowly build your skin's tolerance with the following steps: - In the first week, apply it only once. - In the next week, apply it twice; you can take a gap of 3 days between the applications. - Apply it thrice each week over the next 3-6 weeks. - After six weeks, you can increase the stakes using a higher concentration glycolic acid cream like Glycolic Acid 12 cream. However, again, start with a patch test.
You should give your skin a rest for at least a day in between applications of glycolic acid cream. So, don't apply it daily.
If, during the increase in the concentration, you experience any irritation, then switch back to a lower concentration.
Note: If you have sensitive skin, then stick to a lower concentration, like CutiYt G2 Cream. or a milder AHA, like lactic acid or mandelic acid. You can even try azelaic acid.
As mentioned in the next section, you must use sunscreen during the daytime!
For the rest of the body:
Glycolic can help brighten your underarms, dark elbows, and neck. You can directly start with Glycolic Acid 6 cream or Glycolic Acid 12 cream. You can start with the same tolerance-building steps as mentioned above. Start with once a week for the first week, then twice the next week, and so on and so forth.
What Should I Be Careful About Before and After Using Glycolic Acid Cream?
Before using glycolic acid cream, do a patch test; Always test it on a small area of the skin to ensure that you are not allergic to it. And always remember that sunscreen is a must if you use glycolic acid cream, as it can increase your skin's sensitivity to the sun. Opt for a physical or chemical sunscreen with SPF 50 or higher.
In terms of side effects, some people may experience redness, peeling, or irritation, but these symptoms usually subside after a few days of use. If you experience any severe reactions, discontinue use and consult with a dermatologist.
What are the Ingredients of Glycolic Acid Cream?
The primary ingredient in glycolic acid cream is obviously glycolic acid. Still, there are usually other ingredients added to the formula to enhance its effectiveness, including moisturizing agents like hyaluronic acid or natural oils, soothing agents like aloe vera, and antioxidants like Vitamin C. To enhance potency and reduce skin irritation, some glycolic acid creams also contain other gentler AHAs like lactic acid and mandelic acid.
My top picks
Sesderma Acglicolic Classic Forte cream This is my favorite! It is, IMHO, the best of glycolic acid-based creams out there. However, this cream has a slightly higher concentration of glycolic acid (~10%). So, you shouldn't directly start with this. First, follow the 4-6 week routine of using lower concentration products like CutiYt G2 Cream (2%) or Glycolic Acid 6 cream (6%). Once your skin is ready to go to the next level, you can purchase this.
If you want to try glycolic acid for your entire body, another good option is Fixderma 15% Glycolic Acid.
So, there you have it, gorgeous/handsome! Follow these tips, and you, too, will develop an alabaster skin!
I hope you found this informative and entertaining. Stay tuned for more skincare tips and tricks from your friendly neighborhood dermatologist!