Why Everyone Is Using Glycolic Acid On Their Scalp Now

Glycolic acid for scalp benefits

Beauty education online isn’t always frivolous; some trends hold a candle to clinically proven recommendations. Instagram has been buzzing with tales of the Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution by The Ordinary, intended for the skin, helping with a flake-free, healthy scalp. Testimonials range from improved hair growth and quality, further proving the importance of scalp health for good hair. We believe this particular hair care hack is undeserving of its ‘hack’ status as it also has expert approval. Here’s what dermatologists have to say about using glycolic acid for scalp.

Glycolic Acid For Scalp – Why It’s Trending

Let’s talk about The Ordinary and the origin of the trend. The beauty boom witnessed in the direction of an increased focus on healthy skin has led people to take skincare seriously. The overall popularity of using acids and treatments cannot be credited to only being given to one company. Still, the entry of The Ordinary into the Indian market is bound to take it further. Dr Sushma Yadav, dermatologist, cosmetologist, hair transplant surgeon, and founder of Skinology, Bangalore, says, “The Ordinary is known for its spot-on beauty shelves worldwide. Thanks to its great formulas, minimal packaging, and affordability in an oversaturated beauty market. Their products are user-friendly and lauded for no-nonsense and fragrance-free formulations.”
In terms of popularising glycolic acid for the scalp, the brand has had a significant role to play.

However, it’s not fresh news for experts. Dr Sravya C Tipirneni, Consultant Dermatologist & Cosmetologist, Manipal Hospital, reveals, “The trend has caught on much faster since The Ordinary’s launch in India. However, I have been prescribing glycolic acid formulations for patients suffering from severe dandruff for a long time.”

How Glycolic Acid Works For The Scalp


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Before we jump into the magical recipe glycolic acid uses to treat scalp issues, let’s take a close look at what it actually is. A mild alpha hydroxy acid, GA has an exfoliating property that works to remove the bonds that keep dead and dehydrated cells or product buildup attached to the surface. Glycolic acid is also a powerful moisture magnet, boosting hydration in your skin by increasing its natural production of hyaluronic acid. It triggers your skin’s healing processes and prompts them to produce more collagen fibres.

When used in hair care, glycolic acid for scalp can offer specific benefits. The dead skin buildup on the scalp is a little more because of the natural oil secretion. It also helps remove stubborn product buildup caused by shampoos and conditioners. People who suffer from dandruff have more scaling due to this fungus. Acting as a superficial exfoliant, it removes debris and improves our scalp health. It also eliminates dead skin cells from the scalp’s surface. Therefore, it’s excellent for your scalp health!

Precautions To Note While Using Glycolic Acid For Scalp


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Dr Sushma recommends, “Glycolic acid might not suit every skin type, so consult your dermatologist before applying it to your scalp. Long-term use of acid can be harmful, so use it only as your doctor suggests.” A couple of experts-recommended tips to remember while using glycolic acid for the scalp are:

1. Avoid using GA on your scalp if you have recently undergone scalp treatments like rebonding or straightening. Steer clear of any treatment with an exfoliating factor, or use chemicals that make your scalp more sensitive and irritated.

2. Since it is an exfoliating agent, it must be uses only once or twice weekly. Overuse will lead to adverse reactions and leave the scalp sore.

3. It should be used with caution in the correct percentage; the strength should only be between 5 to 10%. Ideally, somewhere in between, that’s why the 7% is prevalent.

4. It’s usually best for oily, combination and normal scalp types and not recommended for highly sensitive or dry scalp. Therefore it’s not for everyone. You must still always consult your dermatologist before using it.

5. As it’s a concentrated acid, it must not be used frequently or for long. 1-2 times a month is sufficient if you have normal skin type.

6. As it’s an exfoliating chemical, it tends to make your skin sensitive to the sun. Therefore, avoid going out in the sun or wearing protective gear like a hat post-application.

Dr Sravya further cautions, “It should not be used if there are open wounds on the scalp. It cannot be used for people with very sensitive scalp or for someone with another medical condition on the scalp.”


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In conclusion, while glycolic acid can occasionally alleviate scalp flakiness, it is not ideal for long-term use. If you have scalp issues, opt for medicated solutions rather than DIYing them. If you have a normal scalp and are a first-time user, it is advisable to choose lower concentrations as you may find that the effects may be too harsh and dry. However, if you have an oily scalp, you are more likely to have a higher tolerance toward more potent glycolic acid formulas. To find the ideal way to apply, the right glycolic acid pick for your scalp or skin, consult your dermatologist as it might need some examination to check what works the best for you.

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