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Ingredient Decoder: Glycolic Acid

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There was a time when I scrubbed my face every day with a drugstore exfoliator filled with bright blue beads. I thought that the more I exfoliated, the better my skin would look, so I attacked my T-zone with the same vigor shown by my mother when she fought the mildew between the bathroom tiles. The result? Instead of clearing up my teenage blackheads, my overzealous scrubbing stressed out my sensitive skin. Cue a massive breakout. 

Boy, have times changed. These days, I limit my exfoliation to once or twice a week and rely on products with glycolic acid. It sounds counterintuitive, but these chemical exfoliators can actually be gentler on your skin than physical scrubs. Why? Since there’s nary a bead to be found, you skip the step where you try to strip off a whole layer of skin. Naturally found in sugar cane, glycolic acid dissolves dead skin cells and also improves skin hydration by enhancing moisture intake. Product picks after the jump!

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