Tried & Tested: What's So Special About Glycolic Skin Care?

Posted by in Skin Care

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You may have noticed a lot of skin care brands bragging about their Glycolic skin care ranges, but are you aware of exactly why this "miracle" ingredient is supposed to be so good? In this article I explain the secrets this mystery beauty ingredient holds and review what it's like to use these products for a month. Read on to find out if it's worth including Glycolic acid in your skin care routine.

So what is Glycolic acid?

Glycolic acid is a member of the AHA (alpha hydroxy acid) family, which are all derived from sugar cane. Of the group Glycolic acid has the smallest molecules, making it more efficient at penetrating the skin and treating common problems such as clogged pores, acne and even reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. In high percentages this acid can be used as a peel and when done properly (and safely) it can have fantastic results.

How does it work?

The best way to envisage the role of Glycolic acid in your skin care routine is to imagine a tiny little Pacman shuffling across the surface of your skin, eating away at the surface dirt and dead skin cells. Glycolic acid reacts with and breaks down skin by dissolving substances such as sebum which can lock down dead skin cells and dirt. All these nasty things then slough off when you wash your face to reveal smoother, fresher and brighter skin.

What are the benefits?

The benefits of continued use of Glycolic acid is that your skin receives frequent and even exfoliation, preventing your pores from becoming blocked which can result in acne and blackheads. Furthermore, since these products use acid to buff away dead skin instead of microbeads, you can feel happy in the knowledge that your skin care routine isn't adversely affecting the environment. As Glycolic acid encourages cell turnover and renewal, it can also be affective in reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles by improving the elasticity and overall health of the surface skin. The same benefits also apply to scars which can become visibly reduced in appearance with extended use of Glycolic acid.

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Does it actually work?

Ah, the question of the hour. When I read about the multiple benefits of Glycolic acid I felt it was too good to be true and had to include it in my skin care routine to find out if it lives up to the hype. Since the benefits seem to become apparent after continued use I felt it was only fair to give the products a month to work their magic, so what below are my perceived results after using each product for 4 weeks.

Products I used:

Rodial Super Acids X-Treme Exfoliating Glycolic Cleanser £29.00 - I absolutely love this cleanser and will carry on using it in my regular daily skin care routine. The smell is to die for, the texture feels very soothing on the skin but best of all it left my skin in such good condition. As someone who commonly suffers small blemishes, after the first 2 weeks of using this product they seemed to all but disappear.

Rodial Super Acids X-Treme Acid Rush Peel £51.00 - This mask has a delicious fragrance but stings quite a lot for the first 10 seconds after application, it might not be suitable for very sensitive skin types but for me personally it caused no issues. After each use (product recommends you only use twice a week) my skin felt soft, smoother and like it had been resurfaced. Love, love, love this product.

Nip + Fab Glycolic Fix Cleanser £5.29 - This cleanser was also amazing although had a much more watery texture compared to the Rodial cleanser. The citrus fragrance is delicious and after 1 week I felt I could see a visible improvement in my skin, with fewer and smaller visible pores. Very soothing formula with nourishing olive oil so potentially a good option for those with sensitive skin.

Nip + Fab Glycolic Fix Body Cream £7.99 - I really think this body cream made a noticeable difference to my skin, as someone who often suffers with small bumps and ingrown hairs these all seemed to fade after a couple of weeks of using this product. My skin felt softer and didn't look as dry, usually I often have areas of visibly dry skin but these vanished while I was using this body cream. This product also had the same gorgeous citrus fragrance as the cleanser.

Nip + Fab Glycolic Fix Overnight Purifying Gel £14.95 - Whilst I absolutely love the idea of beauty products that work while you sleep, I must admit I wasn't a great fan of this gel. The fragrance seemed like it was trying to be fragrance-free but actually smelt a bit stale and unpleasant. Whilst it felt very soothing to apply I'm not sure I noticed as dramatic a difference with this gel as I did with some of the other products.

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With the products I tested I think it's true to say that you get what you pay for, since whilst I love the Nip + Fab Glycolic Cleanser and Body Cream, the cleanser and mask from Rodial were hands down the winners. Whilst the X-treme Acids Mask did cause some stinging upon application, it felt strangely satisfying like I could feel the product burning away all the grime and sebum off my face. I think the results spoke for themselves in that after 4 weeks using these products my skin felt better, looked better and was just healthier all round. Of the Nip + Fab products the best had to be the body cream as it solved my dry, flaking skin issue which I really wasn't expecting. With the Glycolic acid acting as a gentle exfoliator I think the dead and dry skin cells were buffed away so I was left with happy healthy skin all over.

If you suffer with combination skin that's often affected by enlarged pores and acne then glycolic skin care products could be the extra boost you've been needing to get your skin back on track. If you decide to try any of these products however remember to do an initial patch test before using regularly as introducing a new ingredient into your skin care routine always has the potential to cause irritation. I'm definitely sold on the idea of glycolic acid and look forward to seeing how the results improve over time.

If you're looking for a new cleanser to get rid of the grime, you can shop our invigorating range here.

Not sure which skin care products are suitable for your skin? Try taking our quick and free online beauty quiz to discover your beauty matches.