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Hi

I have acne-prone skin — nothing terrible, but I get pimples about a week before my period every single month, and those pimples take around two weeks to clear up every time. This gives me about half a month of clear skin and half a month of blemished skin. I'm fed up with it. I took the plunge and bought a glycolic acid cream this morning. It's still sitting on the shelf in my kitchen, but I am looking forward to trying it out. 

My question is how long I should use it. Are there any restrictions? And do I only use it during the breakout stage of my cycle or all the time?

Thanks for your help!

Kay

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Hi, 

Here are some tips that should help you make the most of glycolic acid, a powerful skincare ingredient that can make all the difference. 

  • Start off by using a product that contains no more than 8 percent glycolic acid. Many people prefer to start out with an exfoliator rather than a cream, because this introduces the skin to glycolic acid gradually, rather than having it sit on the skin all day.
  • Keep an eye on your skin. Should you see irritation or redness, don't quit using the product completely but reduce the frequency with which you apply it. Try once every three days, for instance, and gradually build up to every day.
  • Glycolic acid makes you more sensitive to the sun. You should be using an SPF every day anyway, but nobody using glycolic acid creams should neglect to put on sunscreen!!!

By the way, it is normal to feel some tingling on your skin. Redness and flaking are not normal, and are a sign that your skin has not yet acclimatized to the product. This is a sign to reduce the frequency of usage. Remember that higher concentrations are used to perform peels. These are more likely to cause side effects. Stick to lower percentages. 

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Yes, the tips that will help you make most of any glycolic acid routine are to start with a lower concentration and to gradually increase, but also to first mix any glycolic acid cream with 50 percent of another product of your choice, like a moisturizer. This routine prevents you from having irritated skin and will allow your skin to adjust to glycolic acid over a period of time... As you get in the habit of doing this, slowly reduce the other product you are using until you are using only the one with glycolic acid, and then you can also increase the concentration if your skin is not showing any signs of irritation. If you do see irritation, then reduce the amount you use and add in more regular cream.
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Glycolic acid was initially derived from sugar cane, but it's now mostly made artificially. It's a type of alpha hydroxy acid, which means it works as an exfoliator, which means it gets rid of dead skin cells and other stuff you don't want on the superficial layer of your skin, and makes way for better looking skin underneath :). You get it in cleansers, moisturisers, exfoliators, serums, creams for the lower eyelids, and peels, and I probably missed some there. I'd use it as a cleanser with a lower concentration and then in your moisturiser as well if you're looking for regular maintenance basically, which it sounds like you are.

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Well, if you want near instant results, I would not be looking at a glycolic acid cream, but rather at a peel. Peels uncover your better, smoother, softer skin that's lurking underneath and they do it pretty quickly. A glycolic acid peel will give you good results both for acne and for wrinkles, and can even your skintone out as well. You will have some downtime, that is your skin will be red and irritated for a while and then you will look weird while the old skin peels off, but that is usually over in a week and you will then look great. Creams, on the other hand, would take months to result in any improvement.
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Good question!

The first thing you should know is that many new users of glycolic acid creams break out after starting the regime. This is normal and will stop with time. In this stage, you should use your glycolic acid cream every night, after cleansing, instead of a night cream.

Most people will be over the breakout stage in two weeks to a month. After that, they will notice acne reduction and fewer wrinkles. It takes around six months of using the cream to see optimal results, and after that you can switch to using it every other day or even every three days.

Some people do have allergic reactions to glycolic acid cream so if you see redness, inflammation and swelling, then you will want to discontinue your use of the cream.
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You should start with a mild EXFOLIATOR containing glycolic acid. Look for a formulation designed for first-time users. It should not burn or irritate your skin in any way, but you can expect a bit of a tingling feeling when you use it. If you do have a burning or painful feeling then stop using it right away and wash the product off if it is still on. If it works well for you, though, it is possible to use such an exfoliator every day without problems or risks. You may notice such an improvement in your skin that you will not want to use a glycolic acid cream at all. They do exist, but many more people use exfoliators with glycolic acid than creams.

HTH!
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I've been reading along and find this post quite helpful. I am a total newbie when it comes to skincare products really. Yes, I use them, but I know nothing about them. I would like to change that. Of course I see buzzwords floating around the web and everyone is seemingly talking about glycolic acid, but I am not sure what any of it really means or what I should be using for my skin. So what you are saying makes sense to me. I am 29 and am just beginning to show the first signs of wrinkles and would like something for anti-age and general protection of the skin. What product would you recommend for me?
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