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How do I Choose the Best Glycolic Acid Pads?

By K.G. Spangler
Updated May 17, 2024
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There are several factors to consider when looking for the best glycolic acid pads. Consider the current condition of the area to be treated, the sensitivity of the skin, and the concentrated strength of the pads. This type of product can be purchased online, in stores, or from physician's offices.

When picking pads that contain glycolic acid, you'll want to think about their intended usage and your expectations. Environmental pollutants, daily cleansing, make-up use, and typical skin blemishes can all contribute to dull-looking skin. The best pads can help remove the build-up and leave behind bright, clear, smooth, and younger looking skin. Using them regularly may keep sun, environmental, and product build-up to a minimum.

Over-the-counter glycolic acid pads are available in varying concentrations, ranging from 5% to 20%. It's best to use the lower concentrations if you plan on using this product daily. Concentrations of 10% to 15% are often used for areas requiring deep exfoliation or for severe acne. Pads of 20% concentration are commonly used for deeper skin exfoliation called chemical peels. There are higher concentrations available for professional use, although these may also be used by people who've tried lower concentrations without success.

People with sensitive skin, few problems with acne, and light wrinkles should use products with a lower concentration. Those with normal skin, excessive build-up due to product use, or sun damage may want to try mid-concentrations. Pads in the 15% to 20% range can be too strong for sensitive or normal skin. People using them for the first time should start with lower concentration pads several times a week and increase the frequency until they get the results they are looking for. If users aren't getting the results they are looking for, they should consider stronger products.

Glycolic acid pads can be quite irritating to the skin when not used correctly, so it's best to do a test first to see how your skin reacts. Try the pads on the sensitive areas of the inner arms before using them on the face. If you do experience irritation, consider a lower concentration pad or a sensitive skin formula.

The best glycolic pads are ones that produce the desired results without damaging the skin. Be sure to read all directions before using any glycolic acid products and err on the side of caution, starting with the fewest number of applications. You can apply more, but using too many may cause excessive peeling. If you are unsure about which concentration to begin with, you may want to ask your dermatologist or other medical professional.

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