Glycolic acid is awater-solubleÂ alphahydroxy acid (AHA)Â that is derived from sugar cane. It is one of the most well-known and widely used alpha-hydroxy acids in the skincare industry.Â
Glycolic acid has the smallest sized molecules of all the alpha-hydroxy acids.Â Because of these super tiny molecules, glycolic acid can easily penetrate the skin. This allows glycolic acid toÂ exfoliateÂ the skin more effectively than other AHAs. Glycolic acid works by speeding upÃÂÂ cell turnover. It helps dissolve the bonds that hold skin cells together, allowing dead skin cells to slough off more rapidly than they would on their own.
Glycolic acid also stimulates your skin to create more collagen.Collagen is the protein that gives skin its firmness, plumpness, and elasticity. (Collagen is also the protein that gives strength to your bones and connective tissues.) As you age, collagen production naturally slows down. It's also destroyed by excessive sun exposure. Using glycolic acid regularly can help prevent this breakdown of collagen.