Glycolic acid is wonderful at resurfacing the skin, but there are even more benefits in store for those who discover this popular alpha hydroxy acid. Call it the super acid that’s aces in skin care at everything from moisturizing to rejuvenating. Adding glycolic acid to your skincare routine will give you a brighter and more even complexion without irritating your skin. Daily skincare products such as facial washes and cleansers use a lower percentage of glycolic acid. Higher percentages of glycolic acid are found in many chemical peels because it’s safe to use on even sensitive types to resurface skin. That’s why the acid is often used in treating skin discoloration and acne scarring.

Look for it when you’re shopping for anti-aging moisturizers or face masks. Glycolic acid boosts the production of collagen, a vital structural protein that helps skin tissue remain firm and resist wrinkling. It prevents lines from forming, and it helps healthy skin remain firm and plump. This naturally occurring acid makes an excellent exfoliant to remove oil build up in pores and rid the skin of dead cells. A once-a-week exfoliating treatment or an at-home peel product infused with glycolic acid can help with dull, pigmented and aging skin.

Skincare products that feature glycolic acid range use the super acid in a range of concentrations and pH levels. A product with pure glycolic acid in a lower concentration is much more effective than one that includes it with other ingredients. However, a moisturizer that blends glycolic acid with other natural ingredients may be more desirable for daily use.

Where do alpha hydroxy acids or AHAs come from? They are found in plants such as sugarcane, pineapple, sugar beets, and fruit. Because glycolic acid molecules are smaller than those of other AHAs such as lactic, mandelic, and citric acids, they can penetrate the skin more effectively than their counterparts.

There are some things to consider when you decide to add glycolic acid to your skincare routine.

You’ll want to see how your skin adapts to this super acid, so start off with a low percentage. Using a percentage that’s too high can cause redness or flaking. Don’t pick at any flaking that results from using glycolic acid or you could wind up with scarring.

Wearing sunscreen is even more important when you use glycolic acid because it will make your skin more sensitive to the sun. Your skin is already sensitized if you are using products containing other AHAs, acne medication or Vitamin A, so you should be aware that layering on glycolic acid could cause a reaction.

Take extra care if you use any AHA together with Retinol.

Read More: What Is Glycolic Acid?