What is Glycolic Gel?
Glycolic Gel is the generic name for all types of Gel that contain a percentage of glycolic acid as the active ingredient. To be considered safe for external use by humans the concentration of glycolic acid should not be more than 10%, although there are products with concentrations of up to 15%.
What is Glycolic Acid?
Glycolic acid (or hydroxyacetic acid) is the smallest a-hydroxy acid (AHA). Alpha-hydroxy acids (AHA’s) were initially derived from fruit, sugar cane, and milk. Common AHA’s include glycolic, citric, and lactic acid. All AHA’s are water soluble and lack systemic toxicity. As the shortest-chain AHA molecule, glycolic acid is colorless, odorless and hydroscopic. These properties make glycolic acid a suitable ingredient for keratolysis (exfoliation of the skin) and anti-aging applications (stimulation of tissue production and hydration). Glycolic acid is also water soluble, making it versatile for dermatologic and cosmetic formulations.
It is derived from sugar cane and sugar beets but can be also synthetically made in science labs from chloroacetic acid.
History of AHA’s:
Aha’s were introduced in the 1970’s to decrease corneocyte adhesion and stimulate epidermolysis on psoriatic lesions (skin disease). It provided dermatologists with an alternative over other chemical peeling agents such as loroacetic acid and phenol. In the 1990’s, various cosmetic products containing AHA’s were commercially available.
Glycolic gel with concentrations of acid in varying percentage have been shown to be effective in cosmetic and dermatologic applications. It also has collagen and elastin synthesis effects. Its hydroscopic properties enable it to cause moisture retention in the tissues it affects. This effect can be further enhanced when combined with hydrophilic lotions, gels, and washes.
Glycolic gel products include peels, moisturizers and facial washes that all have enhanced moisturizing and keratolytic effects, resulting in improved appearance of skin texture and tone. One of the usages of glycolic Gel is for Acne Scarring where it was shown to have positive effects in minimizing acne scars and smilulating dermal regenaration. It also reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles when used in combination with other treatments.Other indications are for the treatment of Hyperpigmentation, Melasma, Lentigines, Keratosis, Actinic Keratosis, Hyperkeratosis, Seborrheic Keratosis, Keratosis Pilaris
Glycolic Acid in concentrations higher than 10% is considered Hazardous Material in the USA. In chemican peels, it can reach up to 50% in concentration. Higher than that,near to 70%, is consireded for industrial usage, where it is involved in rust removal or degreasing and is extremely dangerous to lethal for humans.
In the next articles we will tell you more about its usage and the brand names that contain AHA’s and can be found in the market.