Glycolic acid is one of the most popular skin care actives because it works super well at exfoliating the skin while boosting its other functions as well. That’s why, even after decades of innovations in the skin care world, with new ingredients coming out on the market and being heralded as total game changers, glycolic acid still reigns supreme. Armed with all of this information, you’ll be ready to choose one or two of the best glycolic acid products that we’ve listed below.
1. Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Framboos Glycolic Night Serum
This resurfacing serum from Drunk Elephant is one of the best glycolic acid products for all skin types, and it’s great for daily use! It is a gentle blend of glycolic acid, as well as other AHAs like lactic and tartaric acids. It combats acne with the help of BHA, and keeps the skin soft, supple, and smooth with the help of hydrating ingredients. You can buy it from Sephora.
2. Alpha Skincare Renewal Body Lotion 12% Glycolic AHA
Glycolic acid products are not just for the face! This body lotion will help thoroughly exfoliate your body, so it’s great for those wanting smoother skin, an anti-aging treatment for the body, or are dealing with body acne or keratosis pilaris. This nourishing formula is also fine for the face, although those with oily skin might find it a little heavy. It is available for sale at Dermstore.
3. Mario Badescu Glycolic Acid Toner
This glycolic acid toner is especially popular with those dealing with acne, since it comes in an ultra-light formula. Gentle and effective, it technically works for all skin types, and is great for daily use (even twice a day!). In addition to AHA, it also contains aloe and grapefruit extract. If you’d like to try it, you can find it at Nordstrom.
4. Skin Laundry Brightening Serum with Glycolic Acid
This is a phenomenal glycolic acid serum that does it all. From brightening to fighting acne to fighting premature aging, it is the real deal, with some of the best skin care ingredients, like vitamin C, niacinamide, and algae extract boosting the powers of the glycolic acid in here. It goes on the skin silky smooth, and is a great choice for all skin types. It can be purchased at Sephora.
5. Glycolix Elite 10% Moisturizing Cleanser
This creamy cleanser is a great choice for those with very sensitive skin who want to try glycolic acid. It doesn’t sit on the face for too long, and it contains soothing ingredients like green tea extract and co-enzyme Q10. It can also help prepare the skin for a glycolic acid serum in the cases of people whose skin tolerates AHA very well. It can be bought online at Dermstore.
6. Strivectin Advanced Acid Resurface Glycolic Acid Skin Reset Mask
This is another great option for those wanting to ease into using glycolic acid products. It’s a 5-minute mask that can be used up to twice a week. It also includes purifying kaolin clay along with some anti-aging ingredients, so it’s a great choice for sensitive and mature skin types that lean towards a little oily. Try it out by buying it from Nordstrom.
7. Cane + Austin Miracle Pad+ 30% Glycolic Facial Treatment
These powerful peel pads are not for the faint of heart or sensitive of skin. In addition to glycolic acid, they also contain lactic, tartaric, and salicylic acid. They’re appropriate for daily use for those of you who have hearty skin, and they will help clear up acne and hyperpigmentation without any problems. You can purchase them from Sephora.
8. Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 8% AHA Lotion
This ultra-gentle glycolic acid lotion is idea for dry, dehydrated, and sensitive skin, and it can be used every day. It does double duty, both exfoliating the skin and moisturizing it. It has a light yet nourishing texture, and a mixture of skin-soothing ingredients to prevent irritation. If you’d like to try it, you can find it at Nordstrom.
9. Caudalie Vinoperfect Overnight Glycolic Cream
This is a gentle formula that works for all skin types, but its low percentage of glycolic acid makes it a good choice for those with sensitive skin who are a little nervous about using an 8%-15% formula. It moisturizes the skin and protects it from premature aging with the help of papaya enzymes and viniferine (a trademarked ingredient). It can be purchased at Sephora.
10. Kate Somerville ExfoliKate Cleanser Daily Foaming Wash
This ultra-gentle glycolic cleanser also includes fruit enzymes and lactic acid, to cleanse the skin of impurities. This formula doesn’t include a high percentage of glycolic acid, so it’s best paired with other glycolic products like a weekly peel or a daily serum. It’s great for all skin types, including sensitive and very dry. You can buy it from Nordstrom.
11. Andalou Naturals Pumpkin Honey Glycolic Mask
In addition to sounding totally delicious, this natural glycolic acid mask does a great job of exfoliating the skin while also softening it. It’s great for dry and mature skin, as well as those suffering from hyperpigmentation because it also contains skin-brightening vitamin C. It doesn’t have a super-high percentage of glycolic acid, so it can be used along with a daily exfoliating serum. It can be purchased from Ulta.
12. Omorovicza Acid Fix AHA BHA Treatment
This treatment is serious business, exfoliating the skin with both glycolic and salicylic acids. While it might be too strong for those with very sensitive skin, and the yeast extract in it won’t work for those with fungal skin conditions, everyone else will love it because it is skin-brightening, hydrating, acne-fighting, and anti-aging. It is best used 2-4 times a week, and can be bought at Sephora.
13. Anthony Glycolic Facial Cleanser
This gentle, no-frills glycolic cleanser removes dirt and impurities, while a respectable 4.9% glycolic acid gets rid of those pesky dead skin cells. The formula also includes calming calendula and aloe vera, so it’s really phenomenal for those with sensitive skin. If you’d like to try it, you can find it at Nordstrom.
14. First Aid Beauty FAB Skin Lab Resurfacing Liquid 10% AHA
This is a great skin brightening and anti-aging choice for skin exfoliation. This liquid is great for all skin types, with all kinds of natural extracts to soothe the skin and lighten hyperpigmentation. It contains a blend of alpha-hydroxy acids to boost the glycolic, and it can be used on a daily basis. If you’d like to try it, you can find it at Sephora.
15. Peter Thomas Roth Max Complexion Correction Pads
Peel pads are probably the easiest glycolic acid products to use, because you just gotta swipe ‘em on to get all the benefits. This iteration is great for those with oily, congested, and acne-prone skin because they also include 2% salicylic acid and pore-tightening witch hazel extract. They can be used on a daily basis, before a moisturizer. You can buy them at Ulta.
Photos via Sephora, Nordstrom