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.