L’Oréal’s glycolic acid ampoules are like a laser reset for your skin

AS the UK enters into lockdown, the most extreme measures ever taken during peacetime, millions of us are bracing for three weeks of staying home. For some, this is a gargantuan challenge – for others, it’s an opportunity to do all of those things we’ve said we’d get round to given the chance. There has been no better time to stay home, practise proper social distancing and test out all of those skincare products you’ve had your eye on.

If you have any kind of residual acne scars, visible sun-damage, hyperpigmentation or dullness to your complexion, then top of your list should be L’Oréal Paris‘ Revitalift Laser Ampoules 10% Glycolic Acid. A seven-day course of ampoules containing 10% glycolic acid, it’s an innovative and easy to use system. The 10% concentration of glycolic acid is slightly higher than your average strength in a skincare product – most glycolic toners come in at 5-7% – so I recommend using only if you’re already an experienced acid user.

L’Oréal Paris Revitalift Laser Ampoules 10% Glycolic Acid

So why glycolic acid? Among the AHAs (that’s alpha hydroxy acids), glycolic acid is generally considered to be king as it has one of the smallest molecules. AHA’s are water-soluble, meaning they work brilliantly on the surface of the skin to reduce visible sun-damage (old sun-damage, not fresh – don’t use on sunburned skin!) combat fine lines and wrinkles, improve hydration to the skin and smooth rough, bumpy texture. It works by dissolving the glue that holds our skin cells together, gently sloughing off the old, dead skin to reveal newer, fresher and brighter skin beneath.

As someone who has used many types of acid, glycolic acid is firmly my favourite AHA. I find it to be the most effective at improving the texture and evening of my skin tone by far, something I struggle with due to past sun damage.

Going into the seven days, I had three main issues I wanted to address. The first was my post-blemish red marks, clusters of hyperpigmentation thanks to a recent series of breakouts which I hadn’t been able to resist popping. Secondly was my uneven skin tone, a constant reminder of the importance of SPF and the dangers of sitting out in the sun without protection. Thirdly was general dullness, most likely due to a lack of drinking enough water and over-indulging during the holidays.

A single ampoule, one day’s worth of glycolic acid

When it came to using the ampoules, my first time ended up being an exercise in trial and error. First, you have to flick the top of the ampoule so that the product falls into the body of the ampoule, then twist off the cap to dispense it. I found that it worked best to first twist the cap off, then flick the top, enabling a better flow for the product. After this I dropped the mixture directly onto my freshly cleansed and dried face, dispersing it between my forehead, each cheek, nose and chin, then gently rubbed the product in.

Upon application, I felt the slightest tingling sensation, but nothing uncomfortable. As usually happens with glycolic acid (at least on my skin) I had a slight reddening initially which soon went away. One of the best features of glycolic acid is that it removes the dead skin cells that could potentially block the penetration of other products applied afterwards. Essentially, the ampoules clean house – following serums and creams will penetrate better and be more effective thanks to the freshly exfoliated surface of the skin.

There are of course a few things of note to bear in mind when using this product. With any active ingredient there is the potential for irritation, so if this occurs, cease use immediately. To prevent this, I stripped down my skincare routine to the bare minimum during the seven-day course of using the ampoules, amping up the hydration and eliminating most other actives. This meant temporarily ceasing the use of my retinol and any other exfoliating products. Due to this, I experienced no negative effects whatsoever.

L’Oréal Paris Revitalift Laser Ampoules 10% Glycolic Acid

So after the seven days, were the results worth it? Absolutely. The ampoules addressed all three of my concerns, to varying degrees. I was shocked at how quickly it faded my post-blemish marks – although they were still present, they were far lighter and less noticeable than they would have been without using the ampoules. With regards to the sun damage, the difference was noticeable, but probably only to me. I didn’t expect to be fully cured of my reddened cheeks from using this product alone, so I wasn’t at all disappointed that they remained, if slightly lessened.

For that, I think I’d have to turn to in-clinic lasers. The biggest difference I found was in regards to the dullness of my skin. Following the full course of ampoules my complexion positively glowed, revealing a lit-from-within brightness I hadn’t seen in a long time. Overall the texture of my skin was smoother, the tone more even and the marks significantly lessened.

Although I loved the results of the ampoules, I do still take issue with one major concern. While the seven-day course is convenient and easy, not to mention a good way for consumers to limit their exfoliation and therefore reduce the risk of over-exfoliating their skin, the amount of packaging required to separate the limited amount of product is a concern. What I would much prefer to see is a serum bottle containing the exact same formulation, eliminating the majority of the unnecessary packaging. After finishing the seven-day course I want to continue using the product, and having a bottle of serum would be a far more sustainable way of doing this.

Despite this objection, I still recommend trying the seven-day ampoules. They provided a much-needed reset for my skin and reinvigorated me after becoming a little lazy with my skincare. As long as you’re sure to follow up with proper SPF protection, it’s a wonderful tool that will no doubt reveal a brighter, more youthful you.

by Thomas Marrington

L’Oréal Paris Revitalift Laser Ampoules 10% Glycolic Acid, £24.99 for 7x1ml