Paula's Choice Glycolic Acid Review - The Acne Experiment

Paula's Choice Glycolic Acid Review - The Acne Experiment

How was everyone's holiday season? Busy? Fragrant? Bloated? I can't complain – mine was uneventful and completely devoid of drama. Any family gathering that doesn't result in drunk crying or boisterous political discussions (same thing, really) is a win in my book. Plus, I watched Making a Murderer and half of Breaking Bad in like a week. yo.

I'll get down to it. We're here to talk about the superstar of exfoliants: glycolic acid. Immediately before I started The Acne Experiment, I was using Devita's Glycolic Acid. I was happy with how smooth it made my face, but I was still experiencing breakouts. I worked through a few other exfoliant options first: salicylic acid and lactic acid have been knocked down and kicked the eff out. Bring on the main course.

Glycolic acid is an AHA or alpha hydroxy acid, which means it is water soluble and works on the surface of the skin (rather than down in the pores like BHAs). Glycolic is considered the most potent of the AHAs available because it has the smallest molecule size. It can be more effective at exfoliating, but it also has the potential cause more irritation. For regular or daily use, glycolic in the 5-10% range is aces.

My enthusiasm for Paula's Choice has been well documented despite my inability to find any PC products that are actually compatible with my skin. I ordered a handful of the Skin Perfecting 8% AHA Gel Exfoliant samples and tested it for a few weeks with high hopes. After a few weeks, I ordered a full-sized bottle with even higher hopes. I tested it for 2 months.

  • Paula's Choice Skin Perfecting 8% AHA Gel Exfoliant - once daily or 2-3 times per week - Water, Glycolic Acid, Sodium Hydroxide, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Camellia Oleifera (Green Tea) Leaf Extract, Sodium Hyaluronate, Panthenol, Sodium PCA, Propylene Glycol, Butylene Glycol, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Polyquaternium-10, Phenoxyethanol, Sodium Benzoate
  • Spot Treatments as needed (salicylic acid (this) on active acne + Manuka Honey (this) on self-inflicted wounds. WTF is wrong with me.)
  1. Wash yo face yo.
  2. Let it dry..
  3. Apply some of the glycolic acid gel on yo face, avoiding yo eyes. Like one pump is good.
  4. Wait at 10-20 minutes for the glycolic to work.
  5. You can leave it on after the 20 minutes, or wash it off if yo skin is sensitive.
  6. The glycolic will like munch through dead skin.
  7. If you aint down with skin munch, like if yo face burns, it ain't for you, yo. Wash that shit off pronto.

For the first few weeks, my everything was going great. My skin was smooth, my existing spots seemed to be flattening. The full sized bottle was really pretty and effective looking. I was ready for this. A winner. I jumped with both feet and fell in love.

Okay maybe I didn't.

When I initially discovered my skin was getting worse after it got better, I cut back to every-other-day application. When my skin still wasn't improving, I cut back to once-every-three days application. I tested for two months, and motherpussbucket. This blows.

Paula's Choice Glycolic Acid Before & After - The Acne Experiment
Paula's Choice Glycolic Acid Before & After :: The Acne Experiment

Paula's Choice Skin Perfecting 8% AHA Gel Exfoliant Before & After :: The Acne Experiment
My forehead saw marginal improvements, but also new acne. My chin is exactly the same because I didn't put anything on it (POD is a PITA*).

The thing is, my skin really did improve in the beginning. I think a once a week or once every two week exfoliant could be effective as an anti-ager, but I don't think it will treat the acne. Paula's Choice also has a more potent weekly AHA. I plan to test it out once my skin is actually clear. :|


*POD = Perioral Dermatitis; PITA = pain in the ass

PS: If this AHA/exfoliant business is confusing, check out my chemical exfoliants guide.

Paula's Choice Glycolic Acid Review :: The Acne Experiment
Paula's Choice Glycolic Acid Review :: The Acne Experiment

All Images © Crappy Candle / The Acne Experiment

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