So many of you may know about my freak out on Twitter sometime back where I tried a glycolic acid solution on my face and then literally burned it. (Idiotic Renee Moment #9801.) It’s been a little over 3 months and dare I say the scabs, scarring and general woe from it has all finally subsided, so I’m going to write a WARNING post of sorts so that you don’t burn your beautiful faces either!
OK, first and foremost, why did I do it?! Good question. As many of you may know I have always been quite open with the fact that my skin in my high school years were definitely heartbreaking for me – I know of many who’ve had it worse but I think anyone who’s dealt with acne would know that even having “mild” acne really does effect your self esteem and confidence. Especially at that very insecure age that is the teenage years. To cut a long story short, I first started getting zits and the whole works around 14, and I was finally “done” with acne around 19 years old – I started to notice my zits die down at 18 (thanks to my new skincare routine by Clinique) and by 19 dare I say my acne was gone (but not forever, it seems!).
Earlier this May, something happened – I’m not sure whether it was hormones, stress, or if my face wanted to punish me for a laugh, my face started to get little see-through oily ducts. (To this day I don’t even know what they are called!) The picture below, of me at a makeup event shows what I mean (I was getting a trial makeup session so it’s buried under foundation, but you can still see the tiny bumps).
They weren’t too awful in that picture because it was only the beginning – they got much worse after that. My skin felt really rough while I was washing my face and I honestly had no idea why they had come – I remember my forehead being filled with them when I was 15, but they somehow disappeared a year later and I had long forgotten about them. Anyway, I decided to research (um, Google.com) about these bumps and one woman online said that they are the hardest to get rid of, and the only thing that helped her was glycolic acid. Not being an idiot after my disappointing digital hair perm, I researched much more on glycolic acid.
Bottom line, I read all sorts of good things; so once again, I decided to give them a try. But most of all, my decision was made because I remember using a facial cleanser in my acne years that contained 8% glycolic acid and it worked quite well. So off I went to buy the whole line again. The line included an 8% glycolic acid facial cleanser, an acne solution toner with 8% glycolic acid, and I stuck with my go-to moisturizer by Clinique.
I used the whole line, twice a day, morning and night, and it seemed like the little spots were getting better, but then after a week of using it, my skin broke out even worse. It was BAD, I tell you. I should’ve taken a picture; you’d all faint. I’m not joking when I saw I think had 300 little red bumps/whiteheads all over my face. I panicked, but told myself it was only one week and that skincare brands need to take 6 weeks to really work. So I kept going. By week 2, of course, my skin was straight up burnt – my forehead and nose survived the burn, but my cheeks, jawline, and chin looked like a warzone. The pain was so bad I could hardly speak because the skin around my mouth was so tender and sore.
The burn slowly subsided after a week or so, but the acne that formed took a long time to go away. I was so desperate for the zits to clear I went to 2 skin doctors, but um…I’m very stubborn and didn’t want to take their advice because I didn’t really agree with it. (And I didn’t want to take heavy anti-biotic pills.)
Instead, I went back home, face full of zits and decided to give my skin a break and go back to my usual skincare range. Two months later I am happy to reveal the zits, and whatnot have finally subsided down, and my skin looks back to where it was before. And guess what? The tiny oily ducts are nowhere to be found. (UPDATE: Check out this post to see why this was happening, and why the acne cleared.)
Moral of the story? Don’t be so fast to try all sorts of lotions and potions that you read online and when trying a skincare range that have serious acids, take the absolute lowest percentage and do a “patch” test to see how well it goes with your skin. If you’ve had good skin and “something” comes about, don’t go crazy trying to get rid of it and see how it pans out, it might just be a passing thing and subside! But if you do want to do something about it, PLEASE be very careful of what kind of crap you are putting on your face – especially high concentrations of glycolic acid. I’ve heard so many success stories with glycolic acids peels and lotions, but for me it definitely does not work! If all else fails, try it at the hands of a good dermatologist you can trust who can monitor it properly.
Has anyone else had any experiences with glycolic acid? What was your experience like? Please share! :)
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