Could Glycolic Acid Be Good For Your Hair?

Glycolic acid is a favorite ingredient of many a skin expert and layman alike. Known for its ability to improve the appearance of everything from acne to wrinkles, it's the smallest of all the alpha-hydroxy acids. However, new research shows it may have the biggest potential-for hair.

Researchers at DuPont have started investigating the benefits of glycolic acid as a haircare component. Using GlyPure, a cosmetic-grade glycolic ingredient, they ran a battery of tests on human, Caucasian hair, coming up with exciting results.

When hair was conditioned with a glycolic formula, it experienced less breakage when being brushed, wet or dry, than when it was conditioned with one of two readily purchasable conditioners. Additionally, researchers found that hair treated with GlyPure can withstand higher temperatures than hair treated with water and stearyl alcohol, even when that hair had been bleached.

DuPont is not sure of how, but it appears these effects are due to glycolic acid's ability to penetrate the hair shaft and directly impact the stability of keratin, the protein that forms hair's structure and contributes to its strength.

Currently, very few hair products are available with glycolic acid-almost exclusively in Asia. However, continuing research on other hair types and other desired outcomes, like increasing shine and maintaining color, could help bring the ingredient to Western hair products in the future.


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  • C

    here's a link with a product that uses glycolic acid. http://www.samore.it/english/lozioni.htm (Europe) i bought the TETRAGENE GLICOTRIX a few weeks ago, but haven't got the chance to use it so far because of another product that shows some results for me right now. I'm having hair loss problems inherited from the family so i do hope this product helps. I look forward using it after reading this article, hope it works.

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  • anonymous

    Great. Well I have a pure glocolic acid. Is is ok to use it? A little drops in my hands and put it on my hair?

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  • Gail

    M.D. Formulations was selling a hair/body shampoo with glycolic acid over 15 years ago. I'm not sure if they still have that product or not, but apparently this is not a new idea. I'm wondering if it would strip color, though.

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  • wes

    this sounds great. I need something to maintain my color.

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  • LG

    I've read this before and I'm excited about it! Instinctually, I've often thought (even before I read about it) that acids would be the way to go as they would penetrate the hair shaft. That horrible "Brazilian" conditioning treatment uses forms of formaldehyde to penetrate the hair shaft. I'd never put those poisons on my head, but I'm a huge fan of AHAs, etc. So, I'm wondering if I use a little glycolic acid in my current conditioner if my hair will be any different...

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  • Global Girl

    What are the names/brands of products in Asia that currently include it?

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