Combat uneven tone and texture with a small but mighty skin-saver: glycolic acid.
What is glycolic acid?
Glycolic acid is one of several alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs), which are naturally occurring chemicals found in foods such as sour milk, sugarcane, apples and citrus fruits. The glycolic acid in skin care, however, is uaually the synthetic form, which is more stable, ensuring better delivery to the skin. (Naturally derived formulas often go rancid or lose their potency faster than synthetic ones.) Glycolic acid's molecules are the smallest and lightest of all AHAs, so they're able to penetrate the skin more easily. "You don't need a major concentration to have long-lasting efficacy," says Pascale Mora, the scientific communications director for Vichy International. Using even a small concentration (three percent or lower) can yield results. With continuous use, glycolic acid can reduce the appearance of wrinkles, improve uneven skin tone and lessen breakouts, leading to younger- and healthier-looking skin.
In the simplest terms, glycolic acid acts as an exfoliant, removing dead skin and stimulating skin-cell renewal. "It helps reduce skin dullness, unclog pores and reveal radiant skin by getting rid of older cells at the surface of the skin," says Eric Dupont, the founder of IDC, a Quebec-based skin-care brand. The results? Glycolic acid leaves skin soft and smooth; over time, it works at the cellular level, boosting collagen production.
Finding your formula
Products containing glycolic acid may cause itchy, tight or red blotches for some people (usually those with sensitive skin). According to Dr. Dennis Gross, a New York City-based dermatologist and the founder of Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare, "Irritation is directly related to the concentration of the acid." But no matter your skin type, Dr. Gross recommends mixing a lower-concentration glycolic acid with other anti-aging ingredients, such as malic and lactic acids, instead of jumping to a higher concentration of glycolic acid on its own. Start with a more quickly absorbed glycolic formula, such as a peel, an exfoliant or a toner, with a concentration of 10 percent or less.
Glycolic acid is most effective when paired with other active ingredients. To fight acne and reduce shine look for a product containing both glycolic and salicylic acids, or brighten an uneven skin tone with a mix of vitamin C and glycolic acid. For an extra dose of anti-aging benefits, pair glycolic acid with either lactic acid, malic acid or lip hydroxy acid, which unblocks pores so that exfoliation is more effective. There's room to play. The two rules to follow? Moisturize your skin generously and apply sunscreen daily. (But you should already be doing that.)
Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs): A group of water-soluable acids—including glycolic, citric, lactic, malic and tartaric acids—that are found in foods and can remove dead skin cells from the surface of the skin.
Glycolic acid: With the smallest and lightest molecules of any AHA, glycolic acid easily penetrates the dermis, making it the most effective AHA for skin-care purposes.
Lactic acid: An AHA derived from sour milk, lactic acid is best known for lightening and brightening the skin.
Malic acid: Found in fruit, particularly apples, this AHA helps minimize the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
Salicylic acid: A lipid-soluable beta hydroxy acid best known for its ability to fight acne.
Vitamin C: Also known as ascorbic acid, vitamin C promotes collagen production in the skin and is a potent antioxidant.
This triple-action mask exfoliates with mechanical (physically abrasive), enzymatic and chemical actions. Add it to your skin-care routine once per week for radiant, smooth skin.
Perfect for blemish-prone skin, this cleansing gel unclogs pores and promotes cell turnover with salicylic and glycolic acids.
Brighten dull skin with this mask that contains glycolic acid, rejuvenating papaya enzyme and brightening Viniferine for an instant touch of radiance.
Five-percent glycolic acid, this toner also has soothing aloe vera and skin-renewing ginseng for revitalized, glowing skin—at a seriously affordable price.
This overnight treatment contains glycolic and salicylic acids and niacinamide (an anti-inflammatory); the combo helps unclog pores and tackle blackheads while lifting away dead skin cells.
This two-step peel is ideal for sensitive skin and first-time glycolic-acid users. With a blend of alpha and beta hydroxy acids, it fights three signs of aging: fine lines, enlarged pores and uneven skin texture.
West Elm Holiday mantel
Whether your Christmas style is modern, traditional or rustic, we found the best ideas on the internet to make your mantel merrier.
This mantel from Front + Main feels fresh and modern thanks to layered art pieces and the soft colour palette. See more here.
Reclaimed wood, burlap and the natural colour scheme give this mantel a rustic feel. The free printable bunting and paper bay leaf garland add a DIY touch. Find instructions at The Tomkat Studio.
This buffalo check themed mantel from Landeelu is a modern take on a traditional look with the on-trend string lights and charming felt garland. Find out how to make the DIY red-and-white painted circle at Landeelu.
The DIY elements, from the confetti gold artwork to the adorable painted houses come together for a bright, festive look. See all the details (including DIY instructions) at The Decor Fix.
Hanging a TV over your mantel doesn’t mean you can't decorate it in style. This display of candles and bottle brush trees adds a decorative touch without overwhelming the screen. Take a peek at the rest of Diane’s holiday decor (including beautifully wrapped packages) at In My Own Style.
A white Christmas may be a rare event in Vancouver, but that didn't stop Heather Cameron from giving her dining room mantel a pretty wintery feel. See more of Heather's winter wonderland here.
Photo courtesy of Davina Choy Image by: Photo courtesy of Davina Choy
Oversized blanket scarves are the best winter accessory you can have in your closet. They are versatile and stylish, all while keeping you warm when faced with cold winter temperatures. Here are 15 soft blanket scarves add style to your cold weather ensembles, all under $100!
Zigzag oblong scarf with frayed white trim, $22, forever21.com
Oversized long woven scarf in multiple boucle colours, $30, asos.com
Patterned scarf in a soft weave with fringes, $30, hm.com
Plaid blanket scarf, $30, joefresh.com
Boucle scarf in light pink, $33, garageclothing.com
Oversized loft scarf in navy blue, $34, topshop.com
Oversized plaid scarf with beige undertone, $35, aldoshoes.com
Super soft off-white checked scarf, $36, zara.com
Woven blanket scarf with soft fringe finish including black/taupe/ivory colours, $40, lechateau.com
Oversized colour block stripe scarf in new camel, $45, gapcanada.ca
Leopard patterned blanket scarf in brown, $50, urbanoutfitters.com
Extra large brushed knit scarf with fringed edges in green, $50, urbanoutfitters.com
Multicoloured pattern scarf with frayed finish with brown undertone, $60, mango.com
Folk floral print scarf in dark brownish colours, $74, bananarepublic.ca
Wool blanket scarf decorated with diamond mosaic designs and handmade fringes in black, $85, aritzia.com