Glycolic acid is a very interesting ingredient as you can find it appear in nature, more exactly in some types of sugar crops. The extract itself is without color, odor and is greatly soluble when mixed with water.
It is the smallest α-hydroxy acid (AHA), which makes frequent appearances in the skin care industry as it is strong enough to help with skin problems such as scars, acne and any other damage that happens on the surface of your skin, but mild enough so it doesn’t burn your skin.
Coming in either a peel form which you can cover up (usually the face), or cream to apply directly to other areas of your body.
What is important to know about Glycoic Acid?
The most important fact to remember is that this acid is in fact an exfoliating substance.
While exfoliating is usually done mechanically, this is what would be considered chemical exfoliation.
- As the name implies, you use a chemical substance to do the exfoliation for you.
- When doing so, your dead skin cells or those on the highest layer of your skin are removed.
- This enables your live skin to shine in its full glory, without any dead cells being in its way.
As such, it can work great at healing treatments that recommend exfoliating as with the dead skin cells gone, the impurities that they had are gone and your cells that are alive are stimulated that much more to heal.
The same happens when using treatments like creams, they absorb much faster, since they are applied directly to the live skin. This makes glycolic acid a nifty pre-treatment for stretch mark creams.
While not stretch marks, here is what potential this acid has:
But how does it fair against stretch marks?
Now focusing only on stretch marks and how well it works for them, the story changes a bit.
As with stretch marks, when they happen they occur on the first and mostly second layer of the skin.
The second layer is where the rips will stay, even if healed a small amount. But only some creams or treatments can reach this layer, otherwise only the first one is reached.
Take a look over here if you’d like to know the science behind it.
Since exfoliating only reaches the first skin layer, the stretch mark at its core in the second layer will be unaffected. Sure, when applying a exfoliating acid to your stretch mark area, the dead skin cells will be removed, showing the more recently healed deeper layer. Again, this makes it great to use before applying stretch mark treatments.
However, due to you not actually helping the second layer, the scar will always be there, even if on the surface your skin manages to at least fade it.
This is why exfoliating treatments are recommended as an add on to an existing deep layered treatment (like creams for example). As both of these will affect all the layers and allowing you to heal that skin area to its maximum potential.
As always, remember that results vary greatly from person to person and the only way of knowing what it will take to get rid of your stretch marks is to give one of the treatments a try and then go from there.
Just remember that Glycolic Acid is NOT a stretch mark removal solution, but a strong chemical exfoliator that just makes it look better in the short run.