Glycolic cream--also known as glycolic acid cream--is a skin product produced from glycolic acid, a naturally occurring alpha hydroxy acid that is derived from cane sugar, unripe grapes and sugar beets. Glycolic acid is the main active ingredient in formulations such as glycolic creams, which offer a number of cosmetic and medicinal benefits.
According to MedicineNet, glycolic cream can be used to treat melasma. Melasma is a common skin disorder that is characterized by a dark discoloration on areas of the face that are exposed to the sun. MedicineNet lists Glycolic acid cream in strengths from 10 percent to 20 percent as an effective skin-lightening treatment for cases of severe melasma. The findings of a 1997 study published by the National Institutes of Health indicate that a cream containing 10 percent glycolic acid helped to improve melasma.
Glycolic cream is beneficial in treating and preventing acne. Lawrence E. Gibson, M.D. of the Mayo Clinic reports that glycolic acid is a natural treatment that can help reduce inflammation and acne breakouts. In an October, 2009 article, he writes that glycolic acid works by helping to unclog pores and remove dead skin cells. It may also help to improve the appearance of your acne scars.
Glycolic cream is beneficial for reducing lines and wrinkles that result from the aging process. The University of Maryland Medical Center reports that the glycolic acid in this skin cream is beneficial in the treatment of skin wrinkles and blemishes. When applied topically to the skin, it has a strong exfoliating action that promotes the shedding of dead skin cells, which results in younger, healthier skin.
Glycolic cream may also be used to treat keratosis pilaris, a common childhood skin disorder that is characterized by small, rough spots over the thigh and the outer upper arm. It results when keratin, a protein compound in the skin, plugs up the hair follicles. MedlinePlus notes that moisturizing skin creams, including glycolic cream, may be used to treat this condition.