How to Get Better Skin: Glycolic Acid
Think about every magical facial you’ve ever had, how smooth and radiant your skin looked, and felt afterward, chances are there were some acids involved. Yes, while it may sound counterintuitive, acids like glycolic acid, actually do wonders for skin.
Glycolic acid is an AHA (alpha-hydroxy acid), which are essential for anti-aging and healthy skin. The main function of this miracle acid is extreme exfoliation—the acid dissolves oil and other impurities, sloughing away dead skin cells that make our complexions appear lackluster. Gylcolic acid has the smallest molecules of AHA’s, meaning it can penetrate deep into skin, also treating acne, clearing blackheads, and reducing fine lines and wrinkles. (Bonus: it treats ingrown hairs too!)
Trust us, this ingredient literally reveals smoother, brighter skin—old acne scars and discolorations are diminished and we’re left with only the healthiest complexion.
Try one of our favorite glycolic acid-filled products for better skin…
NIP + FAB Glycolic Fix Cleanser ($8) – A cleanser that smooths skin texture, softens, and hydrates skin all under $10, we love.
Murad Rapid Resurfacing Peel ($44) – Skip the derm, this at-home peel treatment reduces signs of aging by detoxifying and smoothing out skin’s texture with 10% glycolic acid and vitamin C.
Peter Thomas Roth Max Complexion Correction Pads ($40) – Recommended for really oily and acne-prone skin types, these pads fight acne and clear up blackheads with a blend of 10% glycolic acid and salicylic acid.
Mario Badescu products are fan faves for good reason, they’re simple, to the point, and super effective. Try Glycolic Foaming Cleanser ($16) and Glycolic Acid Toner ($18) to cleanse, gently exfoliate, and reduce skin discoloration. And the Glycolic Eye Cream ($20) for more youthful looking eyes.
Lancer Retexturizing Treatment Cream ($85) – 10% glycolic acid in a lightweight moisturizing cream.
Pixi Glow Tonic Exfoliating Toner ($15) – Formulated with 5% glycolic acid, aloe, and ginseng, this toner is gentle, brightens skin, and evens skin tone…it smells good too.
Andalou Naturals Pumpkin Honey Glycolic Mask ($15) – We know the skincare benefits of vitamin C, pumpkin, and honey…this mask offers a 4-in-1 skincare treatment with vitamin C, pumpkin, manuka honey, and glycolic acid!
Ole Henriksen Instant Transformation Lemon Facial Peel ($48) – Glycolic, lactic, and natural acids from lemon instantly lift dead skin cells revealing fresh, smooth, and more radiant skin.
–Claudia Mercado is a beauty-obsessed writer living in Long Beach, CA.