Using Glycolic Acid to Treat Acne

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The use of glycolic acid for the treatment of acne is a logical step forward from its general use in the treatment of other skin conditions. For those of you not familiar with it yet, glycolic acid is one of a series of acids known as alpha hydroxy acids. Although the word “acid” is used, these chemicals are not harsh, synthetic chemicals, but natural products derived from sugar cane. That doesn’t mean, however, that they can have no corrosive effects. Indeed, glycolic acid is used as a rust remover in industrial applications, and some governments have deemed that any glycolic acid product must have a concentration of less than 10% to be considered safe.

There is no need to be alarmed by this, as the industrial uses for the product involve concentrations of two thirds and above. There is a huge difference between these products, and any which you are likely to use on your own skin, even the ones used in at home chemical peel products. Glycolic acid is typically used for the removal of dead skin, by loosening it from the live, healthy skin. The dead skin is then naturally washed off. This explains why some people advocate the use of glycolic acid for the treatment of acne.

The use of glycolic acid in the treatment of acne is somewhat controversial because acne is an inflammatory condition and really needs soothing rather than aggravating. That is not to say that glycolic acid does not have a perfectly valid part to play in acne treatment, it just has to be used in the right way. Using glycolic acid to treat acne that is severely inflamed is probably not the best option. It is going to be better in this case to use a more traditional treatment such as benzoyl peroxide. This provides oxygen to the skin, and directly attacks the bacteria which cause the condition whereas a chemical peel acne treatment would be clearing the old, dead skin cells from the healthy skin.