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
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.
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If you're having issues with flakiness, 10% glycolic acid will cure it (jojoba oil helps too). Glycolic acid can be fun to use every 2 or 3 days in place of your usual moisturizer to chemically exfoliate and give you a nice even glow to your complexion. If you'd like to use it more often, try mixing an equal amount of glycolic acid and moisturizer in your palm before applying once per day.
When anything rubs against the skin repeatedly, such as a chin strap or helmet 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 AHA after your next Regimen application can help prevent an irritation-induced acne flare up.
AHA+: 6oz. 10% glycolic acid + licochalcone.
Alpha Hydrox Enhanced Lotion: You can sometimes find this product at your local drugstore, and always at drugstore.com. Not all glycolic acid products work well. From Dan: "This is the only store bought AHA that worked for me."