Anti-Wrinkle Creams: Glycolic Acid


Glycolic acid is one of the varieties of fruit organic acids widely used in cosmetics.

From the point of view of the chemical structure, this is the simplest representative of AHA. In addition to sugar cane, it is found in artichokes, onions, sugar beets, wheat, apple juice, soy sauce, Chardonnay grapes. Since this substance is found in so many well-known products, it can be assumed that it is safe. However, the results of toxicity testing of this compound raise some concerns. For example, when glycolic acid was added to the diet of rats, growth retardation and impaired renal function were observed in the animals. True, at that time albino rats were used for experiments, and glycolic acid made up 2% of their diet, therefore, it is possible that the observed effects were associated with these factors. But on the basis of these data alone, glycolic acid could be excluded from the scope of human use, even despite its ability to reduce wrinkles.

Now glycolic acid is sold in the form of a 70% solution. It is used in a variety of ways: as a cleaner for copper, to remove scale, as a component of some paints and adhesives. A glycolic acid derivative, benzyl glycolate, is also used as a mosquito repellant.

A concentrated solution of glycolic acid is used in medicine to treat acne and eczema, but only experienced dermatologists can perform the procedure. In beauty salons, the skin is treated with 10-20% glycolic acid, and glycolic acid with a concentration of less than 10% is sold in stores.

Purified glycolic acid is a colorless crystal, when it is dissolved in water, the pH of the solution is adjusted to 3. Glycolic acid crystals begin to melt at 80 ° C, while the acid molecules interact with each other, forming a polyglycolide polymer. This polymer has found application in surgery, it is used in the production of suture materials. The polyglycolide slowly returns to its monomeric form, which is easily excreted from the body. This property can also be useful in situations where it is necessary to maintain the acidity of the medium for a long time.

Is there a strong scientific basis for using glycolic acid to fight wrinkles? Probably yes. This acid easily penetrates the cell membrane, as it has the smallest molecular weight of all AHAs. Inside the cell, the substance is able to enhance protein metabolism, including the formation of collagen, as a result, the cells become more elastic, allowing the skin to look younger. A more proven effect of glycolic acid, which determines its anti-aging properties, is the ability to remove the upper layers of the skin and thereby expose the underlying young layers of cells. At higher concentrations, which experienced dermatologists work with, glycolic acid promotes the synthesis of collagen fibers.

Glycolic acid

Manufacturers of cosmetic creams with glycolic acid are recommended to have an active substance concentration of no more than 4%, but the effective value is twice this figure. If you want to use cosmetics in which the concentration of acid is higher than recommended, first test it on a small area of ​​\u200b\u200bthe skin, if redness, itching or pain appears on it, then this product is not for you.

Source: based on the book by John Emsley «On the benefits and harms of the products we love to buy»

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