How to get glowing skin head to toe fast in dermatologist's 2 proven easy steps. Really?? Yep, I've been doing it for years. This photo is me at 62, and it is untouched. I was going out on a wine country date with my husband of 40+ years and I prepped my skin to dazzle him in that amazing Camilla shirt with glycolic acid. We stopped at the office and my staff had to snap the pic (because I don't wear cloths like that to the office!).
Glowing skin is a challenge for a post-menopausal gal of my vintage, especially with an adolescent tanning history that frightens anyone who knows about UV rays and skin aging. Remember that sun damaged skin becomes rough, wrinkled, crepey and seemingly 'glow-proof'..... but not when you know the science behind glowing skin like I do.
Dermatologist's 2 easy steps for glowing skin fast.
No matter what your age or the current state of your skin, you can have a radiant, soft, supple, glowing skin almost immediately with a DIY home chemical and physical exfoliation routine. - Dermatologist Dr. Cynthia Bailey
The 2 easy steps:
- slough off the dull dead skin cells with a gentle low tech physical exfoliation, then
- remodel the remaining dead cells and living skin layers below with the right AHA at the right concentration and pH.
That last part may sound confusing but it's easy when you narrow down your product choices to those that are trusted and proven.
Glycolic acid is the best way to get glowing skin fast.
As a dermatologist, I know how well glycolic acid works. I also know all the other touted options for 'glowing skin'. From the science to the results, glycolic acid is the dependable hero for a fast skin transformation. I've used it since the mid-1980s on patients and myself. That is back when we physicians had to get a pharmacist to make it from scratch for us. Now there are commercially available products that you, the consumer, can purchase. You just need to know which ones will work.
Why does glycolic acid give you glowing skin fast?
Scientific studies have proven 3 key reasons why glycolic acid gives you glowing skin. Glycolic acid:
- Loosens the 'glue' holding dead cells together so that they can naturally slough off. This means that your skin looks satiny smooth and feels softer instantly. Note my shoulders, forehead and cheeks in the picture.
- Thickens the radiant living epidermal cell layer by a whopping 17%. This helps to reverse some of the skin thinning that happens with age.
- Plumps and hydrated skin deeply by stimulating your natural hyaluronic acid production; epidermal hyaluronic acid rises an astounding 180% and dermal hyaluronic acid (this is the second deeper layer of your skin where collagen and elastin reside) rises a substantial 9%. Your skin is dewy, plump, less wrinkled and glowing. It’s also healthier because hyaluronic acid helps your cells and nutrients move around better too.
2 long-term benefits of using glycolic acid skin care
- Activation of skin genes in dermal fibroblasts (cells that make collagen and elastin) that make collagen (up to 3 times greater than before). This is the key step to sustained wrinkle reduction.
- Reduction of skin hyperpigmentation problems such as age spots (solar lentigines), melasma and hyperpigmentation from excess dead cells.
The bottom line with glycolic acid:
Overall, glycolic acid is proven to reverse the signs of classic sun damage and skin dullness that we see under the microscope when we view skin biopsies; the microscopic skin structure looks more youthful, which means the appearance of skin looks more radiant - like the 62-year-old gal in the photo.
What are the best glycolic acid skin care products to get your skin glowing fast?
This is important because not all products containing the AHA glycolic acid actually work for glowing skin. Here is where you need to know the exact specifics of a product's glycolic acid formulation.
To achieve the skin benefits for glowing skin and fighting the signs of skin aging a glycolic acid product needs to have a free acid concentration of 10% or higher and be formulated in an acid pH of around 4 or less. - Dr. Bailey
My glycolic acid products have a free acid content of over 10 and are formulated to an acid pH of 4 or less. I created glycolic acid kits to give you the easy 2 steps for glowing skin; I combine the perfect physical exfoliation with the correctly formulated AHA glycolic acid chemical exfoliation to dazzle with glowing skin in skin baring fashions, or with soft skin for a loving caress. Frankly, I think it matters.
Get glowing skin fast with facial glycolic acid:
My Facial Glycolic Acid Kit combines a simple physical exfoliation sponge, a Glycolic Acid Facial Cleanser and a robust Glycolic Acid Anti-Wrinkle Face Cream.
I am 65 years old and I have used the 20% skin cream for several years now. I use this product at night and in the morning. I have noticed it helps brighten my complexion, fade age spots and my fine wrinkle lines are less evident. My skin is sensitive and I am not able to use Retin-A but my skin does fine with this product. SAK
Get glowing skin on your body, legs and arms fast
I've learned to never travel without this kit because my arm and leg skin naturally wants to be dull and rough. I've again combined the perfect physical exfoliating shower cloth, skin cleanser and robust glycolic acid body lotion to give us glowing and satiny smooth skin.
You have 2 kit choices:
- one includes the same Glycolic Acid Face Cleanser and is called the Ultra-Fast AHA Body Smoothing Kit,
- the other uses Triple Action Exfoliating Cleanser that also includes the BHA salicylic acid to penetrate oily pores. It's called the Ultra-Fast Triple Action Body Smoothing Kit (I use this because my skin loves this cleanser).
Both cleansers are great facial and body cleansers for soft skin. If you get one of these body kits, you can add the Glycolic Acid Face Cream and Exfoliating Face Sponge 'a la cart' and you are covered for a head to toe glow.
I have only been using this product for a week yet I can see and feel visible results already. My skin is softer, less blotchy, and the age spots are lightening. Suzanne
Pro-tip for Soft Feet
Use the Glycolic Acid Body Lotion on your feet with a good foot file and you'll have soft soles that look great in sandals. Learn more here!
These kits worked so well that they were one of my main inspirations for creating DrBaileySkinCare.com; I could bring highly effective skin care routines to people outside of my practice too. Turn-key glow from head to toe! Yes, I really was the first dermatologist on the internet to give readers the information and access to professional glycolic acid skin care without a doctor's appointment way back in 2008.
Please note: if you have sensitive skin, glycolic acid may not be right for you. Please read my information on the product pages about how to use glycolic acid.
Author: Dr. Cynthia Bailey M.D. is a Board Certified dermatologist practicing dermatology since 1987. She has done well over 200,000 skin exams during her career and authors the longest running physician written skin health blog in the world.
“I love empowering people to take good care of their skin by educating them and putting the ‘self-care’ into their skin care so that they love the skin they’re in!” Dr. Bailey
Bernstein, EF, et. al. (including Van Scott, E), Glycolic Acid Treatment Increases Type 1 Collagen mRNA and Hyaluronic Acid Content of Human Skin, Dermatologic Surgery 2001;27:429-433
Ditre CM et. al. (including Van Scott, E), Effects of alpha-hydroxy acids on photoaged skin; A pilot clinical, histologic, and ultrastructural study, Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, 1996;34:187-195