Benefits of Glycolic Acid

Continuing our beauty talk series about acids, we would like to present to you today a holy grail ingredient for exfoliation. We are going to uncover what really is so beneficial about the most popular ingredient of the moment: Glycolic Acid.

Glycolic acid belongs to the alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA) family along with the malic and lactic acids. It’s a common ingredient in many skincare products and you’ll find it in most chemical peels because it is very effective for skin treatments. Brands like Chanel, Mario Badescu, Drunk Elephant and The Ordinary sell products containing this ingredient, but which one is right for you?

Derived from plants such as sugar cane, pineapple, and sugar beets – its botanical properties help to treat skin conditions such as Psoriasis, Melasma, and Seborrheic keratosis. So if you are dealing with acne scars and hyperpigmentation keep on reading.

How does it work?

Glycolic acid reacts with the top layer of skin, breaking it down by dissolving sebum and other substances that bind cells together. Due to its small molecules, the acid is able to penetrate in the skin deeply and easily. This makes it most effective for treating fine lines, acne, blackheads, dullness, oiliness and uneven texture.

It makes skin glow!

Unlike harsh scrubs, glycolic acid works by gently dissolving the “glue” that makes old skin cells stick to the epidermis, revealing radiant, glowing skin.

It refines pores!

Pores become enlarged when excess oils, dead skin and dirt are trapped inside the pore and cause it to expand. Luckily, glycolic acid is great for cleaning up the pores. It’s going to unclog and reduce them back down to regular size.

It fades discoloration!

Glycolic acid is the king of “sending away” old skin cells, it can help fade and even pigmentation and brown spots left from acne.

It improves texture!

Say goodbye to uneven skin tone. Glycolic acid is a skin-smoothing miracle worker. Effectively removing the layers of dead cells from the complexion it reveals brighter, fresher skin that is noticeably softer and smoother.

It treats acne!

Glycolic acid is great at eliminating the painful bumps and acne breakouts. It penetrates deep into the skin to address cystic and regular breakouts and also helps increase cell turnover, thus accelerates healing, and fades acne scars.

It combats the signs of aging!

Glycolic acid stimulates the production of collagen and elastin, the keys to firm, youthful skin. Collagen is a vital structural protein, helping the skin tissue remain firm and resist wrinkling.


Glycolic acid has the smallest molecular size in the AHA family that allows it to penetrate deeper into the skin to target the complexion concerns like congested pores, blemishes, fine lines, uneven tone, or rough texture—and deliver more noticeable results.

Because it’s an active substance it’s crucial to wear sunscreen whenever you are using any sort of AHA in order to avoid pigmentation and further damage. Although a miraculous ingredient, don’t abuse it. Use it like you would a scrub once a week. Our favorite product that features Glycolic Acid is this peeling solution from The Ordinary.

This post is part of a series on all AHA acids. Here’s the first one about hyaluronic acid. Enjoy!

‘Till next time,