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Rainbow Spotlight: Glycolic Acid

Rainbow Spotlight: Glycolic Acid

Glycolic acid is a common ingredient in skincare products. It's used mainly in exfoliating and resurfacing products because of its ability to dissolve dead skin cells for a brighter, fresher, even complexion.



Glycolic acid is an alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA) that is derived from sugar cane. It has the smallest molecules of all AHAs, which makes it particularly effective in penetrating the top layers of the skin. Other AHAs include lactic acid. 

You will find glycolic acid in a wide range of skincare products, including cleansers, toners, exfoliators, face masks, lotions, and serums. 



Like other AHAs, glycolic acid helps dissolve the bonds that hold skin cells together, gently resurfacing the skin without the need for scrubbing. This is why acid-based products like glycolic are known as chemical exfoliators -- they dissolve dead skin without needing to manually scrub them away. For most skin types, this is a much safer and gentler method of exfoliation. 

In addition, glycolic acid stimulates collagen production in the skin. Collagen is the protein responsible for giving skin its plumpness and elasticity. With age, collagen production gradually declines, which results in visible signs of aging such as fine lines, wrinkles, and sagging. Using glycolic acid in your skincare routine can help prevent thus breakdown of collagen.

"AHAs are water soluble, so they work well on the superficial skin layers, which we call the epidermis," explains Dr. Anita Sturnham, a GP specialising in dermatology and founder of skincare line Decree. "Glycolic acid has been shown in studies to have dermal influence, boosting collagen-remodelling cells (which helps to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles), and melanocyte-stabilising properties, meaning it works well for pigmentation, too. It’s a versatile multi-tasker."



Glycolic acid is a popular active ingredient because of its numerous benefits for the skin. This is one skincare ingredient every skin type can benefit from, including sensitive skin. 

It boasts anti-aging properties which is why you will often find it in moisturizers, serums, and oils. This AHA boosts cell turnover and collagen production to help minimize the appearance of fine lines, plump the skin, and improve skin texture. Glycolic acid also helps increase hydration levels.

Besides its anti-aging abilities, glycolic acid can help perk up dull skin thanks to its effectiveness as an exfoliant. It's this very quality that enables AHA to fight sun damage, fade minor hyperpigmentation, and make pores appear smaller.

Dermatologists claim glycolic acid is also a key ingredient in treating acne. This is due to its ability to decongest pores, preventing blackheads, whiteheads, and inflamed blemishes from forming.

While there are claims that glycolic acid can get rid of acne scars, most experts agree that this is one skin concern the acid can't treat. It can, however, lighten dark discoloration left by acne, and may soften the appearance of certain scars.

For the best treatment of acne scars, speak to your dermatologist about getting a professional strength glycolic acid peel or another scar treatment altogether. Individuals with acne-prone skin may see a visible difference in their skin with professional, in-office treatments. 



Overall, glycolic acid is considered a very safe and effective skincare ingredient with a number of benefits. To prevent adverse effects, however, we advise learning how to use this product in this safest, most effective way.

First, let your skin adjust to glycolic acid. Avoid opting for the highest concentration and applying it daily. All skin types should start with a low concentration. If you have dry skin or sensitive skin, start off by applying the ingredient 2-3 times per week. Pay attention to how your skin reacts to the new product and, if all looks good, up your usage to four times a week. Those with normal skin can afford to start at four times a week. In the case that you experience redness or irritation, decrease your weekly usage to twice a week. Continue building up this way until you can use glycolic acid every day.

Next, always wear sunscreen of at least SPF 30 whenever you are using glycolic acid products, as it can make your skin more sensitive to the sun. 

For in-office glycolic peels, you will most likely start off with a lower concentration of glycolic acid until your skin adjusts reasonably well. When that happens, you will then be bumped up to higher strengths for following peels.

Initially, your skin may feel a bit tighter and rougher than usual when using glycolic acid. This is completely normal and means that it is working as it should. Unless your skin is severely dry, irritated, or flaking, continue using your glycolic acid product. 

With regular use, you will soon start noticing visible results such as smoother skin, fewer breakouts, faded fine lines, brighter skin, and added plumpness.



Rainbow Glow Face and Body Mask

A brightening face and body jelly treatment that promises illumination and improved texture.  

Glycolic acid and bakuchiol are its key ingredients, working in tandem in this glossy mask to gently buff away dull skin, refine texture, and make the skin feel ultra fresh.

By loosening the bonds between skin cells on the upper layer of skin, glycolic acid gently sloughs away dead skin cells to reveal a radiant complexion underneath. 

Bakuchiol is a vegan skincare ingredient known for its potent antioxidant properties. It's a gold tier ingredient for glowing, sculpted skin. It's also a natural, gentler alternative to retinol. Bakuchiol brightens while shielding the skin from environmental aggressors and pollution.

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Rainbow Glow Serum

It's the same formula with similar results. It's just a different product: serum.

This radiant brightening treatment is a grease-free flash fix for instant illumination. Glycolic acid and bakuchiol work together to exfoliate away dullness, while nourishing it with its antioxidant powers for bouncy, perky skin.

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You can also purchase the two products at once when you order Rainbow's Glow Bundle.



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