Your Guide to Treating Keratosis Pilaris with Glycolic Acid

Mimi S

Glycolic Acid Treatments for Keratosis Pilaris

What It Is?: Glycolic acid is the smallest alpha hydroxy acid that is derived from sugar cane. It is one of the most well-known and highly used acid to smooth wrinkles, fade color discoloration and sun damaged skin.

 "In my experience, Glycolic acid is the best and most effective for Keratosis Pilaris, but not all glycolic acids are created equal. There's a huge range of concentrations out there"

says David Schultz, M.D., Los Angeles based dermatologist. This alpha hydroxy acid exfoliates more deeply than lactic acid. "" For facial KP, Schultz recommends starting with cleansers and creams with a concentration of no more than five percent such as the Ultimate AHA Cleanser with 2% Glycolic Acid. For the body, a 10 percent lotion used twice daily tends to show noticeable improvement within three weeks. Most OTC glycolic acid treatments go up to 20 percent. (Try Rejuvenist (TM) Daily Treatment with 10% Glycolic Acid, $40, or for better value try Peel On-the-Go kit ,$60 ; for the face, NightTime Royal Alpha Cream, $35).

Who Should Use It: If you don't have easily irritated skin, and plain moisturizers aren't doing the trick, try glycolic acid next. If OTC glycolic products still aren't working, move onto a chemical peel. When you go upwards of 20 percent glycolic acid, you're verging into peel territory. These are topical treatments applied in a dermatologist's office or salon, and usually consist of 20 to 30 percent salicylic or 40 percent glycolic acid. These high concentrations deeply exfoliate the skin, resulting in a much smoother, healthier surface. One of the best professional kits now available for at-home use comes in 30%, 40% and 60% medical grade glycolic acid.

Pro Tip: For best results, do not slather on gobs of product and expect to see next-day improvement. Use the product sparingly, but consistently, and you'll notice a change within weeks. It's important to remember that it takes 28 days for our bodies to reproduce the upper layer of skin. So if you don't see results from an OTC acid treatment overnight, don't skip directly to a peel. It takes a few weeks to see results.