Glycolic Acid is the most commonly used form of Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs), which are a group of naturally occurring acids derived from certain plants and fruits.
Glycolic Acid is considered to decrease the stratum corneum barrier and increase the penetration of topical agents; it works by stimulating new growth of skin and collagen and has an exfoliant action, once applied glycolic acid reacts with the upper layer of the epidermis, weakening the binding properties of the lipids that hold the dead skin cells together. Furthermore it stimulates glycos-aminos-glycans like hyaluronic acid. The result is a much-smoother skin surface and a more youthful appearance.
Another benefit is glycolic acid’s ability to draw moisturizers into the newly-exfoliated skin surface. Glycolic Acid reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, age spots as well as improves sun-damaged skin. When used in combination with polyvitamins, Glycolic Acid is also useful for reducing stretch marks.
AHAs also help to unclog pores and thus decrease the tendecy for acne to devolpe. A recent study indicated an additive inhibitory effect of glycolic acid on melanin synthesis through tyrosinase activity in melanoma cells, so it is effective for treatments of hyperpigmentations.