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What Is Glycolic Acid All About?
By Peter T. Pacik, M.D., F.A.C.S.

Part One -- Glycolic Acid

Q: What is glycolic acid?
A: Glycolic acid is one of a group of substances known as alpha hydroxy acids, or AHAs. Glycolic acids have been shown to improve the look and feel of the skin on your face and body. Found originally in sugar cane but now manufactured in the laboratory, glycolic acid is a particularly effective form of AHA. This is because its small molecular size means more active molecules of glycolic acid are available than in the same amount of a larger-molecule AHA. This results in a faster delivery of unique benefits when and where they are needed most.

Q: How does glycolic acid work?
A: The skin is composed of three main layers: epidermis, dermis, and subcutaneous tissue. The outer layer, or epidermis, consists of flat, dead cells that cover up a deeper layer of living cells. Normally, dead cells flake off to make room for the living cells that are constantly rising to the skin's surface, every 28-30 days.

Age and the environment can dramatically slow this naturally occurring process. However, glycolic acid can just as dramatically "restart" the exfoliation process by dissolving the cellular "cement" that binds dead cells together. This allows the healthier living cells to reach the surface, providing a smoother, clearer complexion. Glycolic acid absorbs into the sebaceous follicle where the build-up of dead cells contributes to many common skin problems -- from dry, lifeless complexions to premature aging and acne. In addition, glycolic acid has superb water binding capabilities, thus making it an outstanding hydrator. This process of gently exfoliating the epidermis and increasing hydration is instrumental to having younger, healthier, and more radiant skin than ever before.

Q: How is MD Forte different from other AHA products?
A: Some AHAs may produce so much irritation that continued use is not possible. On the other hand, others may be too weak to produce any real difference in how skin looks and feels. For these reasons, MD Forte products are designed to be different. This is accomplished by delivering the right balance of strength and gentleness using a high concentration of glycolic acid, buffered to a pH level similar to normal skin. This process assures you of maximum results with minimum irritation.

Q: What can I expect from using MD Forte products?
A: The first change you may notice is that your skin will most likely become softer and smoother. Fine lines may seem to disappear, and the overall tone and texture of your skin may become more even.

Q: When will I feel an effect?
A: You may experience mild stinging or tingling when you first apply MD Forte but this sensation typically dissipates within a few minutes. Most skin types will adjust to daily glycolic acid use; however, you may need to start slowly. Use the products once a day for the first week, especially if you have sensitive skin.

If you have a tendency to breakout, do not panic if in the first few days of glycolic acid use you notice a temporary increase in blemishes. This is normal and represents a cleansing of clogged pores. Keep using the products daily and within a few weeks, you should notice a marked improvement in your skin tone, texture, appearance, and a reduction in blemishes.

Q: What is the MD Forte 3-Step Advanced Skin Care Program?
Step 1. Facial Cleanser I or II (start with I 12% glycolic compound, advance to II 15% glycolic compound). Gentle, creamy cleanser removes daily residue, makeup and oil without harshness or dehydration.
Step 2. Facial Cream I, II, III or Skin Rejuvenating Lotion I or II. Facial Cream I (15% glycolic compound), II (20% glycolic compound) and III (30% glycolic compound) exfoliates, softens and refines dry skin. Skin Rejuvenation Lotion I (5% glycolic compound) improves dull, lifeless complexion or for sensitive skin. Skin Rejuvenation Lotion II (20% glycolic compound) is a higher strength for advanced correction.
Step 3. Aftercare Environmental Protection Cream SPF 30 (glycolic free) for maximum protection against UVA/UVB exposure.
See below for links to individual products. Also see previous e-mails in the newsletter section of our website SkinCare-MD.com.

Over-the-counter and esthetician products contain a smaller percentage of glycolic acid. These products are often neutralized to the degree that they are poorly effective. Forte has stronger concentrations of glycolic acid; and therefore, are both more effective and works quicker. Because of these stronger concentrations, they are available only through a doctor's office.

For more information, please visit our Web site skincare-md.com and our plastic surgery website plasticsurgerypa.com. All of our previous educational e-mails , as well as The MD Forte 4-Step Daily Regimen, Obagi Nu-Derm System Daily Regimen, and Obagi-C Rx Recommended Daily System Application are found on our website www.skincare-md.com. If you have any additional questions or would like to speak to or would like to speak to Lisa Roberge, our esthetician, please feel free to call us during office hours Monday thru Thursday 9-4, Friday 9-3 EST at 1-877-415-0600 or (603) 669-0290. If there are any topics that you would like covered in these educational e-mails, suggestions or concerns you may have, please let us know. We encourage you to share your experiences both positive and negative with us. Your comments are important to us.

Peter T. Pacik, M.D., FACS
Medical Director

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