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Glycolic Acid

Glycolic Acid

Glycolic acid is an active ingredient that accelerates the turnover of dead skin cells, so it can soften and give a bright effect to the skin. Glycolic acid is often used in skin care products . This substance is available in the form of creams and lotions with a rate of 10%, 30%, or above 70%.

Glycolic acid or glycolic acid is one type of alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA) that works by removing dead skin cells on the outer layer of the skin. This way of working will stimulate the growth of new skin cells, thus making the skin smoother and brighter.


Glycolic acid can also stimulate the production of collagen which makes the skin more elastic. In addition, glycolic acid also has the effect of shrinking pores so that it keeps the pores of the skin clean. This will help prevent the formation of blackheads and acne.

The use of glycolic acid with a rate above 10% can only be done by a dermatologist. While glycolic acid products with a rate of less than 10% can be found in various beauty products that can be used independently at home.

Glycolic Acid trademarks: Glycore, Interquin, XP Peeling Cream

What Is Glycolic Acid?

Group Over-the-counter and prescription drugs
Category Skin care products
Benefits Lifting the outer skin cells ( peeling )
Used by Adults
Glycolic acid for pregnant and lactating women Category N: Not yet known

Glycolic acid may not be absorbed into breast milk, so in low doses, this drug is relatively safe for use by nursing mothers. Even so, consult a doctor first before using this medicine.

Drug form Creams, lotions with a rate of 10%, 30%, or above 70%

Warnings Before Using Glycolic Acid

There are several things that should be considered before using glycolic acid, among others:

  • Do not use glycolic acid if you are allergic to this ingredient. Consult your doctor regarding skin care products that are safe for you.
  • Do not use glycolic acid on skin that is experiencing infection, severe acne, irritation, wounds, or sunburn .
  • Do not smoke and avoid exposure to cigarette smoke while using glycolic acid.
  • Consult your doctor first if you plan to use glycolic acid while you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or planning to become pregnant.
  • Do not apply this medicine on parts of the body that may come into contact with the baby's mouth or skin.
  • Glycolic acid is only used for the skin, be careful when using this product, don't swallow it or get it in your eyes. Immediately wash with running water if this medicine gets into the eyes.
  • Discuss with a doctor if you plan to consume drugs, supplements, or herbal products, while using glycolic acid.
  • Do not use glycolic acid when you are undergoing treatment with an exfoliating effect, such as when using topical tretinoin .
  • Use sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 30 while using glycolic acid. Glycolic acid can make your skin more sensitive to sunlight.
  • See a doctor immediately if an allergic reaction or overdose occurs after using glycolic acid.

Dosage and Use of Glycolic Acid

To be safe, consult your doctor about the dosage of glycolic acid cream or lotion that is suitable for the condition or skin problem you are experiencing. This is to prevent irritation after using glycolic acid cream.

For glycolic acid in over-the-counter skin care products, follow the directions for use on the packaging. Apply a thin layer of cream or lotion evenly on the skin to be treated and let it sit for a few minutes. Observe the reaction of the skin after applying the glycolic acid product, if there is no redness or signs of irritation, continue using.

It is recommended not to directly use glycolic acid every day. Do it 3 times a week for 1–2 weeks first. If no irritation appears, continue with application 4 times a week for 1–2 weeks.

How to Use Glycolic Acid Correctly

Use products that contain glycolic acid according to the instructions on the packaging or recommended by a doctor. Do not increase the dose or extend the time of drug use.

Before using glycolic acid cream, clean the part of the skin to be treated with facial cleanser, then rinse with water. After that, use toner when needed. Take enough glycolic acid cream using your fingertips, then apply the cream evenly to the desired part of the skin.

Use sunscreen with SPF 30 or more during treatment with glycolic acid cream to avoid sunburn or irritation. Use a moisturizer and avoid using products that have an exfoliating or peeling effect while using glycolic acid.

Store glycolic acid at room temperature. Do not store it in a damp place, away from direct sunlight. Keep glycolic acid out of the reach of children.

Interactions of Glycolic Acid with Other Drugs

The use of glycolic acid with tretinoin, adapalene, or isotretinoin can increase the risk of side effects. To be safer, discuss with your doctor if you plan to use other treatment products or want to consume drugs, supplements, or herbal products during treatment with glycolic acid.

Side Effects and Dangers of Glycolic Acid

Some side effects that may appear after using glycolic acid are:

  • Skin irritation
  • The skin becomes red
  • The skin feels hot and burns
  • Swelling of the skin
  • Eye irritation if the medicine hits the eyes

Check with your doctor if the side effects that have been mentioned above do not subside or get worse. See a doctor immediately if you develop an allergic reaction or develop scars, blisters, or skin discoloration after using glycolic acid.

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