Many of us here at acne.org have known for years that alpha hydroxy acid helps keep us clearer. Finally, the scientific community is backing us up:
"... superficial peeling will hasten the transition of closed comedones to the surface of the epidermis resulting in a quicker clearance of the lesions."
Seminars in Cutaneous Medicine and Surgery. 2008.1
"... available trials do provide support to the widespread clinical impression that superficial chemical peels have utility in the management of acne and oily skin."
Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology. 2010.2
"[Hydroxy acids] play an important role in cosmetic formulations, as well as in many dermatologic applications, such as ... acne."
Clinical, Cosmetic and Investigational Dermatology. 2010.3
"Alpha- and beta-hydroxy acid peels both offer successful adjunctive treatment of facial acne vulgaris."
Dermatologic Surgery. 2008.4
"Based on the results of this study, we can state [glycolic acid] and [amino fruit acid] peels are efficacious for comedonal acne."
Journal of Cosmetics and Laser Therapy. 2010.5
Glycolic acid can take The Regimen to the next level, helping you to achieve even more reliably clear skin. After you've been on The Regimen for at least 1 month, try using glycolic acid in place of your usual nightly moisturizer every 2-3 days. Alternately, mix an equal amount of glycolic acid and moisturizer in your palm and apply this way every night.
Flakiness control: If you are on The Regimen and are having problems with flaky skin, adding in glycolic acid as outlined above will completely eliminate flakes.
If you see a zit forming try blasting it with 10% glycolic acid after you have applied 2.5% benzoyl peroxide and allowed it to dry. Many people find that this prevents the zit from maturing. Keep in mind that the way this works best is if you catch it very early.
When anything rubs against the skin repeatedly, such as a chin strap or baseball cap for example, it irritates the skin and can cause a breakout. Attempt to avoid or reduce irritation when possible. If you do end up irritating your skin, you may find that applying glycolic acid after your next Regimen application can help prevent an irritation-induced acne flare up.
AHA+: 10% glycolic acid + licochalcone. Available in 6oz. and 16oz. sizes.
(Acne.org is not connected with this product or manufacturer in any way and receives no compensation for these links.)
Alpha Hydrox Enhanced Lotion - 10% glycolic acid: You can sometimes find this product at your local drugstore, and always at drugstore.com or amazon.com. Not all glycolic acid products work well. Be sure to look for Alpha Hydrox Enhanced Lotion specifically. From Dan: "This is the only store bought glycolic acid that worked for me."