Somehow I’ve become 35 whole years old and, due to a lifetime of grinning, I’m just now beginning to see the first signs of aging in the form of a single, solitary fine line under my left eye.
I was blessed with super high cheek bones, which is amazing, but when I smile (most of the time, and often inappropriately) my magnificent bone structure works against me, causing the skin under my eyes to bunch up like an accordion. And, according to the Internet and my dermatologist, that repeated motion causes the premature break down of collagen in that delicate area, leading to fine lines, even when I’m not smiling!
There’s also the fact that I sleep on that side (squishing my face into my pillow for almost 7 hours every night) and it’s also the side most often exposed to the sun when I’m driving.
Since resting bitch face isn’t an option, I’ve tried back sleeping (incredibly difficult, but a satin-covered airplane neck pillow has ‘supported’ this effort, haha), loads of moisturizing SPFs, and various pricey creams and serums — to no avail.
Enter glycolic acid. This simple ingredient completely changed the game. According to Doctoroz.com, “Glycolic acid helps stimulate the growth of collagen, which is responsible for skin’s elasticity and which breaks down with aging. Glycolic acid can help smooth out fine lines and diminish the appearance of wrinkles.” Its molecules are small enough to actually penetrate skin, unclogging pores by clearing out dead skin cells, which is a part of why it’s so effective.
I had heard of chemical peels, and the associated downtime and ugly scabbing, but I had never heard of the gentler approach to resurfacing skin over time, using a lower percentage of glycolic acid mixed with moisturizing ingredients. According to Loretta Ciraldo, board-certified dermatologist, “using a 10 percent glycolic acid product regularly will offer the same kind of benefits you’d see if you went to your dermatologist for a higher-concentration peel on less frequent occasions.” All of the benefits, with none of the pain or downtime, as long as you’re patient!
It’s important to note that glycolic acid is generally safe for everyone, even people with darker skin tones (if used between the levels of 10% and 30%), but it is recommended that you use your treatment in the evening, and to employ a good SPF 30 moisturizer during the day because it can cause some sensitivity to the sun. As always, be sure to speak with your dermatologist before introducing this, or any other newbie, into your skin care regimen. Finally, be sure to patch test a small portion of your skin ahead of time, just in case you’re allergic.
About a month ago, I began using this miracle acid in pad form (cotton pads soaked in glycolic acid and other active ingredients) and I saw results from the first application… with even better results after the first week! My skin is brighter and smoother, my dark spots are lighter, and my fine lines have been diminished.
If you’re beginning to notice the first signs of ‘maturity’ and you’re not ready to commit to peels, fillers or Botox, glycolic acid may be for you!
Nikki Walton is a best-selling and NAACP Image Award nominated author, TV personality, and lover of life.