Skin Sleuth: Why This Glycolic Acid Is Gentle Enough to Use on Sensitive Skin
Glycolic acid is lauded for its exfoliating and skin-brightening benefits, especially among those with normal, oily and acne-prone skin. But the alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA)’s powerful
ability to peel away dullness and impurities from the skin’s surface has also earned it a bad rap in the sensitive skin community, with many people arguing that their skin can’t tolerate it. It was this very issue that inspired the team at L’Oréal Paris Skin to come up with a new type of glycolic acid formula that even people with sensitive skin could use regularly. Enter the L’Oréal Paris Derm Intensive 10% Glycolic Acid. Ahead, we chatted with Rocio Rivera, L’Oréal Paris Scientific Communications Vice President, to find out more about how this game-changing product in the little red bottle differs from other glycolic acids on the market.
Why Glycolic Acid Is So Popular in the First Place
According to Rivera, glycolic acid has been around the skin-care block longer than you’d think and has been used for decades to address the look of uneven skin tones, wrinkles and more. It works by exfoliating away the outermost layers of skin. “As we age, our skin — which is constantly renovating — renovates a lot slower,” says Rivera. “The dead skin cells that sit on the surface can make our skin dull and may not shed off as easily, so glycolic acid exfoliates those dead skin cells in a very gentle way… serving as a resurfacing agent it helps smooth out the skin and reduces the appearance of wrinkles.”
While glycolic acid is often used to target the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, its ability to reveal a more even skin tone shouldn’t be discounted. “Depending on your needs it may help you in different ways,” Rivera explains. “It may help minimize the appearance of dark spots and provide a more uniform complexion — and the sooner you address dark spots, the better.”
Glycolic acid’s small molecular size (it’s the smallest of all AHAs) has added to its popularity among dermatologists. “The skin is made of pores that absorb ingredients,” explains Rivera. “The smaller the molecules, the faster they get to the targeted destination.”
Where Does Sensitive Skin Come Into Play?
Because glycolic acid does such heavy lifting, it’s usually preferred by people with oily skin over those with sensitive skin because of its potential for irritation. But that’s exactly where Rivera and her team saw a glaring gap in glycolic acid treatment products and came up with the idea for the L’Oréal Paris Derm Intensives 10% Glycolic Acid.
“We created a product that has the highest concentration of glycolic acid that you can use at home that’s approved by the FDA and that also contains a pH level that’s safe yet effective for the skin,” she says. The best news for sensitive skin types, however, is the serum’s added hydration. “The serum also contains ingredients like aloe vera, glycerin and hyaluronic acid,” says Rivera. “All the ingredients in the formula help make this particular serum effective, hydrating and optimal for everyday use.” If you’re still worried about how your skin will react, start by using the product two or three times per week and work your way up.
It’s important to note that even though the Derm Intensives 10% Glycolic Acid is combined with other ingredients, it does not make the formula as a whole less effective. “Think of something that’s slowly exfoliating your skin but is also bringing in hydration, so you may not experience much discomfort.”
No matter your skin type, it’s important that you wear sunscreen daily — because glycolic acid does have the potential to make your skin more sensitive to UV light. “Glycolic acid was something that could only be obtained at the dermatologist,” Rivera says. “Now it’s affordable and availableto use and night.” Not to mention, it’s become a universal ingredient even if you have sensitive skin thanks to this soothing new formula. “Once you start using it, you’ll see a difference right away!” Rivera exclaims. After about a week, your skin will appear brighter, after two weeks you’ll notice dark spots visibly minimized, and after four weeks, fine lines and wrinkles will become less noticeable.