Glycolic acid – an alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) – is a natural exfoliating ingredient in skincare products. Because it’s derived from sugar cane, it is considered a natural product. In glycolic acid exfoliation, the outer layer of skin is encouraged to shed, exposing healthier skin cells from underneath. Healthier cells are also more hydrated, which in turn offers a smoother texture of the skin. It’s used in cleansers, acne products and anti-aging formulas. Many chemical peels also use glycolic acid to remove mild marks, scars and discoloration. Glycolic acid is used in industrial cleaners for rust removal and degreasing (at very high concentrations of course), so it must be strictly controlled in cosmetic applications. If you’re just starting out with a product that has glycolic acid, it may be wise to use it every other day at first and then work your way up to daily use. And no matter what glycolic acid product you use, increased sun sensitivity is often an issue, so limit your time in the sun and use sunscreen.