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Ammonium glycolate

* A synthetic form of glycolic acid (an alpha hydroxy acid or AHA).

Functions:

Works to exfoliate and adjust the PH balance of the skin. Like all other forms of glycolic acid, when Ammonium glycolate is applied, it weakens the bonds between the lipids and dead skin cells of the upper layer of the epidermis. As a result, the outer layer of skin dissolves away to reveal a younger and fresher layer of skin underneath. Its ability to penetrate and exfoliate the skin helps reduce the appearance of fine lines/wrinkles, discoloration, blemishes, and scars. As an exfoliant, it also evens out skin tone and enables the skin to more effectively absorb other ingredients. This is particularly beneficial when “feeding” the skin with powerful antioxidants and moisturizers.

As a PH adjuster, Ammonium glycolate is often used in conjunction with regular Glycolic Acid to maintain the PH levels needed for exfoliation. You can find this ingredient in a variety of face care products, especially cleansers, masks and lotions.

Safety Measures/Side Effects:

It has been shown to cause mild dermal irritation, and it is recommended that individuals do a small patch test on their arm before applying it to the face. In addition, glycolic products often have a drying effect because they strip the face of its natural oils. So it’s important to follow-up with a strong moisturizer.

Perhaps the ingredient’s most serious side effect lies in its tendency to increase the skin’s sensitivity to sunlight, therefore increasing the effects of UV radiation. The Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR) Expert Panel has assessed Ammonium glycolate as safe to use in cosmetic products, but only in concentrations of 10% or less, and at a final formulation pH of 3.5 or greater. Yet both the CIR Expert Panel and the FDA strongly suggest using Ammonium glycolate, and all other AHAs, in conjunction with a high SPF suncreen.

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