1. Beauty Glossary
  2. Glycolic Acid

Glycolic Acid for Skin

What is glycolic acid?

Totally natural and effortlessly effective, glycolic acid was first derived from plants such as sugar cane, pineapple and sugar beets, but it is now also synthetically manufactured. It's one of the most commonly used AHAs (others include lactic, citric and malic acid), and not to mention, one of the safest to use if you want to dabble in some DIY skin care.

What does glycolic acid in beauty do?

Glycolic acid is the holy grail when it comes to exfoliation – think of it like Pacman. When it comes into contact with the skin's surface, it eats up all the excess oils and breaks down the bonds that hold together dead cells so that you can reveal a radiant glow.

What are the skin care benefits of glycolic acid beauty products?

Unlike BHAs, glycolic acid is a lot more gentle on the skin and also water-soluble, meaning its ability to hold moisture is second to none. As a result, it's ace for revealing a brighter, smoother complexion that's healthy and hydrated. It's even used to combat scarring, skin discolouration and signs of ageing, so you can wave goodbye to those pesky fine lines and wrinkles.

Where can I find glycolic acid?

Glycolic acid is most commonly found in chemical peels, but since it's taken the skin care spotlight, you can find it in daily products such as face washes, cleansers, moisturisers and face pads. If you're not sure where to start, NIP + FAB are one of our favorite brands for a complete easy-to-use glycolic acid skin care collection.

Who should use glycolic acid beauty products?

Glycolic acid is the perfect option for those with dry or sensitive skin. When used in low concentrations, it can transfer water molecules from the air and inject them into the skin tissue. And, because it doesn't penetrate the skin deeply, it's less likely to cause irritation.

How do I use glycolic acid beauty products?

All skin types react differently, so it's always a good idea to test the waters before going full throttle.Begin with low strengths (between 5 - 8%) before progressing to higher concentrations (but never go above 50%), and always be sure to do a skin patch test first. It's best to apply glycolic acid at night or accompanied with a suitable sun cream as it can make your skin sensitive to the sun.

What should I expect after using glycolic acid beauty products?

It's not uncommon to experience a slight tingling or warming sensation at first – it's nothing to worry about, it's just the glycolic acid getting to work on sloughing away skin cells.

You might also notice that your face is red in appearance but this should fade after a few hours. The key is to be patient – skin can feel dry and dusty to begin with, but it'll soon shed and reveal an even-toned complexion.

Can I use other acids with glycolic acid?

It's best to use glycolic acid on it's own. If you start cooking up a cocktail of ingredients, they're bound to counteract one another. Glycolic acid doesn't tend to play well with vitamin C or retinol, if you combine the two you'll be in a for a red and peel-y treat.

See our glycolic acid guide to answer your questions like what does glycolic acid in beauty do and what is glycolic acid.

Brands With Glycolic Acid Products

  • Alpha-H
  • PIXI
  • Murad
  • Filorga
  • Avant
  • Dr Dennis Gross Skincare
  • Neutrogena
  • Revolution Skincare

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396 products found
PIXI Overnight Glow Serum
PIXI Overnight Glow Serum
$24.00
Isle of Paradise Over It Magic Self Tan Eraser
Isle of Paradise Over It Magic Self Tan Eraser
$27.00
The INKEY List Niacinamide
The INKEY List Niacinamide
$6.99
Sunday Riley Good Genes Glycolic Acid Treatment
Sunday Riley Good Genes Glycolic Acid Treatment
$99.00
Ole Henriksen Balancing Force Oil Control Toner
Ole Henriksen Balancing Force Oil Control Toner
$32.00
Ole Henriksen Glow2OH Dark Spot Toner
Ole Henriksen Glow2OH Dark Spot Toner
$17.00
Ole Henriksen Find Your Balance Oil Control Cleanser
Ole Henriksen Find Your Balance Oil Control Cleanser
$10.00
Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Sukari Babyfacial
Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Sukari Babyfacial
$80.00
Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Happi Scalp Scrub
Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Happi Scalp Scrub
$36.00
PIXI Clarity Tonic
PIXI Clarity Tonic
$12.00
Rodial Snake Booster Oil
Rodial Snake Booster Oil
$90.00
Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Framboos Glycolic Night Serum
Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Framboos Glycolic Night Serum
$90.00
The INKEY List Glycolic Acid Toner
The INKEY List Glycolic Acid Toner
$10.99
Murad Hydro Dynamic Quenching Essence
Murad Hydro Dynamic Quenching Essence
$51.59
Drunk Elephant Face Value Skin Kit
Drunk Elephant Face Value Skin Kit
$88.00
ELEMIS Pro-Collagen Definition Face & Neck Serum
ELEMIS Pro-Collagen Definition Face & Neck Serum
$148.00
ELEMIS Pro-Collagen Ultra Smart Complex 12 Serum
ELEMIS Pro-Collagen Ultra Smart Complex 12 Serum
$335.00
-50%
Elemental Herbology Vital Glow Overnight Resurfacing Cream
Elemental Herbology Vital Glow Overnight Resurfacing Cream
$49.00 $98.00
-29%
GUERLAIN The Gommage De Beaute Skin Resurfacing Peel
GUERLAIN The Gommage De Beaute Skin Resurfacing Peel
$46.00 $64.00
-25%
Elemental Herbology Facial Glow Radiance Peel
Elemental Herbology Facial Glow Radiance Peel
$49.50 $66.00
-25%
NIOD Fractionated Eye Contour Concentrate
NIOD Fractionated Eye Contour Concentrate
$51.50 $68.00
-15%
Clarins Multi Active Day Cream Dry Skin
Clarins Multi Active Day Cream Dry Skin
$47.00 $55.00
-16%
Lierac Lumilogie Day & Night Double Concentrate Serum
Lierac Lumilogie Day & Night Double Concentrate Serum
$37.00 $43.80
-31%
Sebastian Professional Craft Clay
Sebastian Professional Craft Clay
$15.00 $21.70
-13%
Paula's Choice Resist Advanced Smoothing Treatment 10% AHA
Paula's Choice Resist Advanced Smoothing Treatment 10% AHA
$38.00 $43.50
-25%
Mario Badescu Glycolic Acid Toner
Mario Badescu Glycolic Acid Toner
$13.50 $18.00
-8%
Paula's Choice Resist Daily Smoothing Treatment With 5% AHA
Paula's Choice Resist Daily Smoothing Treatment With 5% AHA
$35.00 $38.00
-9%
Living Proof Restore Mask Treatment
Living Proof Restore Mask Treatment
$32.68 $35.55
-6%
NYX Professional Makeup Bare With Me Tinted Skin Veil BB Cream
NYX Professional Makeup Bare With Me Tinted Skin Veil BB Cream
$12.99 $13.80
-6%
The Ordinary Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution
The Ordinary Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution
$8.25 $8.70
-1%
Kate Somerville ExfoliKate Daily Foaming Cleanser
Kate Somerville ExfoliKate Daily Foaming Cleanser
$22.00 $22.10
-1%
The Ordinary Mandelic Acid 10% + HA
The Ordinary Mandelic Acid 10% + HA
$6.75 $6.80
PIXI Glow Tonic To-Go Pads
PIXI Glow Tonic To-Go Pads
$18.00
PIXI Glow Peel Pads
PIXI Glow Peel Pads
$22.00
PIXI Glow Tonic Serum
PIXI Glow Tonic Serum
$24.00
The Ordinary AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution
The Ordinary AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution
$7.20
Mario Badescu Glycolic Foaming Cleanser
Mario Badescu Glycolic Foaming Cleanser
$16.00
Murad Resurgence Hydrating Toner
Murad Resurgence Hydrating Toner
$35.50
Moon Juice Acid Potion Resurfacing Exfoliator
Moon Juice Acid Potion Resurfacing Exfoliator
$42.00
Glow Recipe Blueberry Bounce Gentle Cleanser
Glow Recipe Blueberry Bounce Gentle Cleanser
$10.00
Charlotte Tilbury Super Radiance Resurfacing Facial
Charlotte Tilbury Super Radiance Resurfacing Facial
$70.00
Paula's Choice Skin Perfecting 8% AHA Gel
Paula's Choice Skin Perfecting 8% AHA Gel
$32.00
First Aid Beauty FAB Faves To Go Kit
First Aid Beauty FAB Faves To Go Kit
$30.00
Paula's Choice Skin Perfecting 8% AHA Lotion
Paula's Choice Skin Perfecting 8% AHA Lotion
$32.00
Caudalie The Beauty Essentials Skin Care Gift Set
Caudalie The Beauty Essentials Skin Care Gift Set
$44.10
Indie Lee Clearing Mask
Indie Lee Clearing Mask
$52.00
Kérastase Blond Absolu Cicaflash Treatment
Kérastase Blond Absolu Cicaflash Treatment
$24.00
The INKEY List Glycolic Acid Exfoliating Scalp Scrub
The INKEY List Glycolic Acid Exfoliating Scalp Scrub
$18.00
IGK Mixed Feelings Leave-in Blonde Toning Drops
IGK Mixed Feelings Leave-in Blonde Toning Drops
$29.00
Living Proof No Frizz Leave-In Conditioner
Living Proof No Frizz Leave-In Conditioner
$27.00
Living Proof Perfect Hair Day PhD NightCap Overnight Perfector
Living Proof Perfect Hair Day PhD NightCap Overnight Perfector
$29.00
Urban Decay Quick Fix Hydra Charged Complexion Prep Priming Spray
Urban Decay Quick Fix Hydra Charged Complexion Prep Priming Spray
$33.00
First Aid Beauty Facial Radiance Pads
First Aid Beauty Facial Radiance Pads
$18.00
First Aid Beauty Skin Lab Resurfacing Liquid 10% AHA
First Aid Beauty Skin Lab Resurfacing Liquid 10% AHA
$55.00
NIP+FAB Glycolic Fix Liquid Glow 6%
NIP+FAB Glycolic Fix Liquid Glow 6%
$31.70
NIP+FAB Glycolic Fix Daily Cleansing Pads
NIP+FAB Glycolic Fix Daily Cleansing Pads
$23.40
Caudalie Vinoperfect Concentrated Brightening Essence
Caudalie Vinoperfect Concentrated Brightening Essence
$54.00
Elizabeth Arden Prevage Anti Aging & Intensive Repair Eye Serum
Elizabeth Arden Prevage Anti Aging & Intensive Repair Eye Serum
$130.00
Filorga Optim Eyes Eye Contour
Filorga Optim Eyes Eye Contour
$49.00
Filorga Time-Filler Eyes
Filorga Time-Filler Eyes
$59.00
Elemental Herbology Bio Cellular Super Cleanse
Elemental Herbology Bio Cellular Super Cleanse
$52.00
Elemental Herbology Perfect Balance Facial Moisturizer SPF 12
Elemental Herbology Perfect Balance Facial Moisturizer SPF 12
$60.80
L'Oreal Paris Revitalift Laser Renew Night Cream
L'Oreal Paris Revitalift Laser Renew Night Cream
$34.50
REN Clarimatte Clarifying Toner
REN Clarimatte Clarifying Toner
$32.00
Filorga Time Filler Mat Cream
Filorga Time Filler Mat Cream
$89.00
Filorga Sleep & Lift Treatment
Filorga Sleep & Lift Treatment
$92.00
GLAMGLOW Super Cleanse Triple Charcoal Cream To Foam Cleanser
GLAMGLOW Super Cleanse Triple Charcoal Cream To Foam Cleanser
$32.00
ELEMIS Pro-Collagen Overnight Matrix
ELEMIS Pro-Collagen Overnight Matrix
$230.00
Clarins Multi Active Day Cream For All Skin Types
Clarins Multi Active Day Cream For All Skin Types
$56.00
NIP+FAB Post Glycolic Fix Moisturizer SPF 30
NIP+FAB Post Glycolic Fix Moisturizer SPF 30
$26.20
Filorga Hydra Filler Cream
Filorga Hydra Filler Cream
$59.00
Caudalie Glycolic Peel
Caudalie Glycolic Peel
$39.00
Filorga Scrub & Mask Reoxygenating Exfoliating Mask
Filorga Scrub & Mask Reoxygenating Exfoliating Mask
$59.00
Filorga Lift Designer Treatment
Filorga Lift Designer Treatment
$94.00
Filorga Meso-Mask
Filorga Meso-Mask
$59.00
Filorga Time Zero Serum
Filorga Time Zero Serum
$79.00
NIP+FAB Glycolic Fix Extreme Night
NIP+FAB Glycolic Fix Extreme Night
$26.20
NIP+FAB Glycolic Fix Extreme Bubble Mask
NIP+FAB Glycolic Fix Extreme Bubble Mask
$9.70
ELEMIS Dynamic Resurfacing Gel Mask
ELEMIS Dynamic Resurfacing Gel Mask
$78.50
Elizabeth Arden Visible Difference Peel & Reveal Revitalizing Mask
Elizabeth Arden Visible Difference Peel & Reveal Revitalizing Mask
$36.00
REN Glycol Lactic Radiance Renewal Mask
REN Glycol Lactic Radiance Renewal Mask
$58.00
Filorga Medi Cosmetique NCEF Reverse Mat Fluid
Filorga Medi Cosmetique NCEF Reverse Mat Fluid
$102.00
GLAMGLOW Supermud Clearing Treatment Mask
GLAMGLOW Supermud Clearing Treatment Mask
$25.00
Filorga Time Flash
Filorga Time Flash
$49.00
Omorovicza Acid Fix
Omorovicza Acid Fix
$129.00
You've viewed 90 of 396 productsShow Me More
Glycolic Acid

Frequently Asked Questions about Glycolic Acid products

What does glycolic acid in beauty do?

Glycolic acid is the holy grail when it comes to exfoliation – think of it like Pacman. When it comes into contact with the skin's surface, it eats up all the excess oils and breaks down the bonds that hold together dead cells so that you can reveal a radiant glow.

What is glycolic acid?

Totally natural and effortlessly effective, glycolic acid was first derived from plants such as sugar cane, pineapple and sugar beets, but it is now also synthetically manufactured. It's one of the most commonly used AHAs (others include lactic, citric and malic acid), and not to mention, one of the safest to use if you want to dabble in some DIY skin care.

What are the skin care benefits of glycolic acid beauty products?

Unlike BHAs, glycolic acid is a lot more gentle on the skin and also water-soluble, meaning its ability to hold moisture is second to none. As a result, it's ace for revealing a brighter, smoother complexion that's healthy and hydrated. It's even used to combat scarring, skin discolouration and signs of aging, so you can wave goodbye to those pesky fine lines and wrinkles.

Where can I find glycolic acid?

Glycolic acid is most commonly found in chemical peels, but since it's taken the skin care spotlight, you can find it in daily products such as face washes, cleansers, moisturizers and face pads. If you're not sure where to start, NIP + FAB are one of our favorite brands for a complete easy-to-use glycolic acid skin care collection.

Can I use other acids with glycolic acid?

It's best to use glycolic acid on it's own. If you start cooking up a cocktail of ingredients, they're bound to counteract one another. Glycolic acid doesn't tend to play well with vitamin C or retinol, if you combine the two you'll be in a for a red and peel-y treat.

Who should use glycolic acid beauty products?

Glycolic acid is the perfect option for those with dry or sensitive skin. When used in low concentrations, it can transfer water molecules from the air and inject them into the skin tissue. And, because it doesn't penetrate the skin deeply, it's less likely to cause irritation.

How do I use glycolic acid beauty products?

All skin types react differently, so it's always a good idea to test the waters before going full throttle.Begin with low strengths (between 5 - 8%) before progressing to higher concentrations (but never go above 50%), and always be sure to do a skin patch test first. It's best to apply glycolic acid at night or accompanied with a suitable sun cream as it can make your skin sensitive to the sun.

What should I expect after using glycolic acid beauty products?

It's not uncommon to experience a slight tingling or warming sensation at first – it's nothing to worry about, it's just the glycolic acid getting to work on sloughing away skin cells.

You might also notice that your face is red in appearance but this should fade after a few hours. The key is to be patient – skin can feel dry and dusty to begin with, but it'll soon shed and reveal an even-toned complexion.

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