|DeVita High Performance Glycolic Acid Blend - my favorite AHA serum|
If I could choose one ingredient that has made the most noticeable difference in my skin, I’d say it was glycolic acid. Prior to using glycolic acid, I always had a rough skin texture with tiny bumps under the skin surface. I also had much larger and darker pores. Regular use of glycolic gave my skin a smooth texture, reduced the number of blocked pores, and made my pores look smaller.
Glycolic acid is an alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) that works by loosening the top layer of dead skin cells, which allows the new skin cells underneath to reach the surface. Here are a few of the benefits of glycolic acid:
- Fades acne scars
- Fades sun damage/hyperpigmentation spots
- Keeps flaky dry skin patches away
- Keeps debris (oil, dead skin cells) from building up in pores, thus reducing the number of blocked pores and the perceived pore size
- Stimulates collagen and elastin production (what keeps skin smooth and wrinkle-free!)
- Helps other skin care ingredients penetrate the skin more effectively
- Helps diminish wrinkles in mature skin by increasing cell turnover
- Gives skin a soft, smooth texture
While there are other alpha hydroxy acids (AHA) – citric acid, malic acid, lactic acid, mandelic acid, and tartaric acid - I have always had the best results with glycolic acid. Its smaller molecular structure allows it to penetrate the skin more effectively.
When choosing a glycolic acid product, opt for a serum or toner rather than a cleanser. Glycolic acid must stay on the skin and have a certain pH (around 3 is best) in order to work. By mixing a cleanser with water, you raise the pH, rendering the acid useless. A cleanser is also rinsed off too quickly to have much effect. I’ve tried dozens of glycolic products, and here are two I recommend:
DeVita High Performance Glycolic Acid Blend – I’ve been using this product for the last six months, and it has kept my skin very soft and smooth. It has a blend of glycolic and lactic acids. This serum has never irritated me or dried me out (though like all glycolic products, it stings/tingles a little at first). The aloe vera gel base makes the serum soothing, and it is packed with beneficial ingredients such as green tea, allantoin, and panthenol. (Product is pictured above).
MyChelle Fruit Fiesta Peel is a mask that combines glycolic acid with mandelic, malic and tartaric acid. It definitely imparts a smoother, glowy look to skin, and I found it very similar to the raved-about Renee Rouleau Triple Berry Peel, which is over three times the price.
|MyChelle Fruit Fiesta Peel|
It is important to use alpha hydroxy acids properly – using a chemical exfoliant every day can actually damage skin in the long run. I recommend using it for 3 or 4 consecutive nights, then break from using it the next 4 days. When you first start using it, you may want to start by using it once a week, then work your way up to using it more often.It is also VERY important to wear sunscreen if you are exfoliating with AHAs – recently exfoliated skin is more sensitive to UV rays and prone to sun damage. Make sure you are wearing a broad spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 daily.
If you are not used to AHAs, your skin may purge for a few days (meaning, a few break outs), so I would not recommend using AHAs for the very first time right before a big event – give your skin a few weeks to adjust. I have never had any breakouts using AHAs, so purging does not happen to everyone.
I'd love to hear what glycolic products are your favorite!
I have no affiliation with DeVita or MyChelle and purchased the reviewed products myself.