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Glycolic Acid vs Salicylic Acid: Differences, Benefits & How To Layer Them Together

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Glycolic acid and salicylic acid are two common components used in skin care. Many over-the-counter (OTC) products, such as facial cleansers, serums, and toners, include them. Both exfoliate your skin and aid in acne treatment, but they’re not the same and have different properties and benefits.

Glycolic acid is a water-soluble Alpha Hydroxy Acid(AHA) produced from sugar cane. In the skincare industries, it is one of the most well-known and widely utilized alpha-hydroxy acids. Lactic acid, malic acid, tartaric acid, and citric acid are examples of alpha-hydroxy acids.

Glycolic acid has the smallest molecules of all the AHA’s (alpha-hydroxy acids). Because of its super small molecules, glycolic acid can easily penetrate the skin. When used topically, glycolic acid exfoliates your skin while keeping it hydrated. It works by removing dead skin cells from the top layer of your skin, which encourages the formation of new skin.

 

Salicylic acid is a BHA (beta hydroxy acid). Willow bark and wintergreen leaves produce it naturally. In a lab, salicylic acid can also be synthesized artificially. It also has the ability to eliminate excess sebum (oil) and reduce sebum production, making it a great component for unclogging pores. Salicylic acid is well in its capability to completely purge excess oil from pores and minimize oil production, making it a great choice for oily skin. Salicylic acid reduces the formation of future whiteheads and blackheads by keeping pores clean and unclogged. Salicylic acid removes dead skin cells  while also acting as an anti-inflammatory, making it perfect for psoriasis sufferers.

 

  • Hyperpigmentation: Age spots, melasma, and moderate acne scars are all examples of mild hyperpigmentation that can be treated with AHAs like glycolic acid.
  • Pore Enlargement: AHAs work wonders for pore reduction. Glycolic acid is the smallest molecular size of any AHA, therefore it can easily penetrate the skin. Pores will seem smaller when superfluous skin cells are removed from the skin’s surface.
  • Fine Lines and Wrinkles: Glycolic acid’s exfoliating and moisturizing effects aid to firm and smooth the skin’s edges, reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
  • Uneven Skin Tone: The skin will become more uniformly toned and brighter as the resilience of the skin improves and dead cells are sloughed away.
  • Salicylic acid is a peeling agent that exfoliates dead skin cells and speeds up the renewal of skin cells.
  • Salicylic acid is a comedolytic, which means it stops the formation of new whiteheads and blackheads. Whiteheads and blackheads will not form as a result of excess oil or dead skin cells nestled in your pores if you maintain your pores clean.
  • Willow bark includes a molecule called salicin, which is naturally found in salicylic acid. In the case of acne, this implies less redness, irritation, and puffiness.

Glycolic and salicylic acids are two exfoliation acids that are widely used to cleanse the skin. While they both have the same main aim of exfoliating the skin, they have specific distinctions that set them apart. Glycolic acid is an alpha hydroxy acid (AHA), whereas salicylic acid is a beta hydroxy acid (BHA) (BHA). The acid that’s best for you relies on a variety of circumstances, just like any other skin care component.

If you’re primarily concerned with hyperpigmentation or uneven skin tone and want to lessen the look of fine lines and wrinkles, glycolic acid may be a better choice.  acne outbreaks are rare if you don’t have oily skin.  Salicylic acid, on the other hand, is generally a better choice if you  suffer from active acne outbreaks, blocked  or pores if you have acne-prone or oily skin. If you suffer both hyperpigmentation and acne, this combination is great.

  • Glycolic and salicylic acids can be used simultaneously. Glycolic acid effectively exfoliates the outer layers of the skin, while salicylic acid penetrates the deeper layers of the skin to remove dead skin cells.
  • However, some individuals may find that using both acids at the same time is too harsh on their skin; you can try alternating acids by using one at night (glycolic) and one in the morning (salicylic). Alternatively, switch days altogether and utilize each acid twice before switching to the next acid the next day.
  •  One can use both Glycolic acid and Salicylic acid together advantageously if they are paired in the proper proportions. However, finding the right amounts to combine them that won’t harm your skin is challenging.
  • If you have combination skin, use the AHA to the dry regions while the BHA is applied to the oily areas.

Glycolic and Salicylic acid are not suitable for everyone. Swelling, itching, and burning sensations, as well as skin tingling or stinging, are common reactions to glycolic acid, whereas itching, peeling skin, and hives are common reactions to salicylic acid. Glycolic acid may be excessively harsh for those with dry or sensitive skin. When using Salicylic for the first time, it may irritate the skin. It might make your skin dry and itchy, due to removal too much oil from your skin.

Glycolic acid and salicylic acid are two common chemicals in skin care. Glycolic acid is an effective exfoliant, meaning it may remove dead skin cells. This product can help to minimize hyperpigmentation, fine wrinkles, and uneven skin tone. Salicylic acid is probably a much better choice if you already have acne-prone skin. It can be used to eliminate extra sebum and to prevent or treat acne. Always follow the instructions on the label when using any skin care product. Excessive use can irritate the skin.

Question1: Is it possible to utilize glycolic acid alongside retinoids?

Answer1: If you’re using topical retinoids like Retin-A (tretinoin) or Differin (adapalene), Accutane (isotretinoin), or any medications that exfoliate the skin quickly, don’t use glycolic acid, even OTC ones. Most importantly, if you’re under the care of a dermatologist, acquire their approval before taking any glycolic acid product or getting a peel.

Question2: How long will these acids take to work on the skin?

Answer2: It will take approximately 6-8 weeks of constant topical application to notice effects.

Question3: What products containing salicylic acid are advisable to use?

Answer3 : Exfoliating Serum and Pore Control Serum are some commendable products  from “The Deconstruct” that contain salicylic Acid .

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