Glycolic Acid & The Hot New Skincare Product: Facial Essences
With “all skin types benefitting from a facial essence,” this once-overlooked item is ready to plump, prime, and perfect complexions, one gently patted-in drop at a time.
What is a facial essence?
Facial essences are lightweight liquids, typically designed to hydrate the skin and prepare the face for subsequent moisturizer, serums, or heavy-duty lotions after cleansing. The premise of a facial essence is that the essence-dampened skin will more readily soak up and absorb the next restorative or moisturizing skin care product.
It’s important to note that facial essences are not facial toners. Facial toners are typically comprised mostly of water, and designed to remove the final traces of oil, makeup, or cleanser from the face after washing. Toners frequently contain alcohol and essential oils, or plant extracts like witch hazel, which can lead to a drying effect on the skin. In contrast, facial essences are typically highly concentrated, have a creamier feel, and contain high levels of active ingredients which can deeply penetrate the skin.
An essence for every issue
Facial essences have reigned supreme in Asian markets over the years, thanks to their versatility at solving every skincare issue, from dryness to exfoliation.
The most popular facial essence formulations address one of three key concerns:
Hydration – add moisture and plumpness to dry skin
Dullness – brighten skin tone
Firming – plump skin and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles
Glycolic acid: the star facial essence ingredient
Glycolic acid is the mainstay ingredient in so many of the most popular facial essences, thanks to the tiny AHA molecule’s ability to directly tackle dull and uneven skin tone, reduce signs of aging, and improve overall hydration to the skin.
Glycolic acid works so well in facial essences because of its unparalleled ability to quickly slough off surface-level damaged, dry, or dead skin cells – and to drive new skin cells to the surface.
This double whammy of exfoliation and driving new skin cells makes glycolic acid a powerhouse facial essence ingredient for two reasons. First, by so effectively exfoliating the skin, a glycolic acid facial essence immediately improves the look of facial skin: brightening tone, decreasing dehydration (dead skin cells look dry and dull), and increasing skin plumpness.
Then, the newer, healthier skin cells that are also driven to the surface of the face from the topical application of the glycolic acid are more able to absorb subsequent skincare products: oils, ampoules, lotions, and serums.
What’s the future hold? For prepping and priming the skin before more restorative skin care products, glycolic acid already cannot be beaten. While facial essences have been popular for K-beauty consumers for years, these priming potions are now ready to rock Western consumers seeking one more way to pump and plump up their facial care routines.