ICYMI, it’s time to drop the sugar scrubs (on your face, at least). When it comes to exfoliation, dermatologists are ushering abrasive scrubs out the door and turning to chemical exfoliators to gently slough away dead skin cells, product buildup, and pore-clogging sebum. Their ingredient of choice? Glycolic acid.
If you flinched when you read the word “chemical exfoliator,” then please just hear me out for a second. It sounds scary, but chemical exfoliation is actually much, much gentler than any gritty scrub you’ve used to grind away at your sensitive epidermis.
“When glycolic acid is used at the right percentage and when done appropriately, it’s a much gentler way to exfoliate the skin,” says Dr. Carmen Castilla of Tribeca Skin Center. To boot, glycolic acid boasts claims beyond smooth skin. Since GA works gently to dissolve the outermost layer of dead skin cells (called the stratum corneum), it’s also extremely effective at reducing the appearance of dark spots, hyper-pigmentation, acne scars, and early signs of aging—as well as polishing away those pore-clogging dead skin cells that can cause breakouts.
Which Glycolic Acid Formula Is Right For You?
Formulation is key when it comes to choosing the right glycolic acid product. And while GA is gentler than a scrub, it can still be harsh for those who have super sensitive, irritable skin. Lucky for you, I volunteered my (sensitive) skin as tribute to find a glycolic acid serum that’s actually suitable for all skin types.
If other GA products have irritated your skin, don’t give up on the ingredient altogether until you’ve tried L’Oréal Paris Revitalift Derm Intensives 10% Glycolic Acid. It was formulated with the highest concentration of glycolic acid allowed over the counter, specifically with sensitive skin in mind. The serum contains aloe, glycerin, and hyaluronic acid (a key moisturizing ingredient) to soothe as it exfoliates. The result? Brilliantly resurfaced skin.
You’ll notice a smoother, more radiant complexion immediately after your first use, younger looking skin in one week, visibly lightened dark spots after two weeks, and reduced fine lines and wrinkles after just four weeks. (Pro tip: Use nightly in place of your current anti-aging serum, and protect your new baby skin every day with SPF 30 or higher.) And since it’s $23.99, there’s zero reason not to try it. Happy resurfacing!