11 Best Glycolic Acid Products for Acne Scars 2023 (With Reviews)

Glycolic acid: a very effective exfoliator used for years to help reduce the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, hyperpigmentation, and signs of aging. It also helps with sun damage, including dark spots, freckles, and age spots. When you look at your skincare shelf, well, the chances are that at least some of those products do contain glycolic acid. Glycolic acid can be found in many skincare products, from cleansers to moisturizers, but it’s most commonly used as an ingredient in anti-aging treatments.

But only a few people are aware of the fact that glycolic acid has been used in exfoliating products for decades. However, it is still an effective, albeit inefficient, method of application. When the skin’s innate polarity is changed to a negative, like with glycolic acid, the built-in active barrier will be destroyed. So in this article, we will definitely try to give you information about glycolic acid and the best glycolic acid products by which you have tackle acne scars. So let’s begin!

What is Glycolic Acid?
Well, glycolic acid is one of the most common and widely used ingredients AHAs in skincare products. Also, it is one of the water-soluble alpha hydroxy acids (AHA), which is derived from sugarcane. This acid actually contains small molecules of all AHAs. So being small molecules, they can effectively penetrate through the upper layers of skin and can just provide faster skin exfoliation. Also, this acid works in a way that speeds up the cell turnover and dissolves the bonds that hold the skin cells together. 

Last but not least, glycolic acid does trigger your skin so that the skin can produce more collagen. Collagen is actually a protein that makes your skin firm, plump, and elastic. Also, this collagen gives strength to your bones & connective tissue.

How does Glycolic Acid Work?

The glycolic acid works directly on the layers of skin and dissolves the impurities between the dead cells. So it does gently resurface your skin, so you don’t have to scrub it. That is also one of the main reasons acid-based products are also referred to as chemical exfoliators.
The main active ingredient is glycolic acid alpha hydroxy acid.

Alpha hydroxy acids are naturally occurring compounds in fruits such as lemons, limes, grapefruits, oranges, pomegranates, plums, apples, peaches, strawberries, and cherries. They have long been known for gently removing dead cells from the skin’s surface without irritating or drying out the skin.

The AHA molecules break down into smaller components called polymers which dissolve away the top layers of the skin. This process stimulates new cell growth, resulting in smoother, younger-looking skin. This acid works by primarily loosening and dissolving all the glue-like substances, which are often referred to as Desmosome. This Desmosome actually binds the skin cells together.

As we get out and into the outside environment, we often feel a tingling sensation on our faces. So as this process goes on, the desmosome starts getting breaking down, which is also called shading of old or dead skin. So that’s how glycolic acid actually helps in exfoliating your skin. If you suffer from acne or have highly acne-prone skin, we have got your back. Read ahead to see a list of the 11 best products with glycolic acid for acne scars!

Best Glycolic Acid Products for Acne & Wrinkles in 2022

1. Glytone Mild Gel Cleanser

Glytone Mild Gel Cleanser

as of May 2, 2024 9:48 am

A cleanser is an essential part of any skincare routine. Choosing one that has glycolic acid is a fantastic method to make your cleansing time more effective. Well, Glytone Mild Gel Cleanser is the one that is highly recommended. Its formula contains AHA, which would help gently exfoliate your face.

With a gentle exfoliation in just one wash, you’ll enjoy less visible texture and pores. Glycolic acid’s in this cleanser will help remove dead skin cells from your face with its gentle action. You’ll also notice anti-aging benefits once you regularly use this product. As it gives a mild exfoliation, it would prevent fine lines and wrinkles from forming. It also increases the skin regeneration processes, so any creases are filled in.

This cleanser has a unique formula in which its pH is balanced, and also it keeps skin moisturized despite containing an exfoliant. The infusion of Vitamin C will help brighten the dark spots and also counter hyperpigmentation issues. Its recommended usage would be using it twice a day, and also, one should make sure that you do apply sunscreen after it.

This is because if you don’t apply it, your face will actually become more vulnerable to sunlight and UV rays. You would certainly notice that your texture and pores are less noticeable, and you’ll also experience anti-aging advantages.

2. Pixi Glow Tonic Exfoliating Toner

Pixi Glow Tonic Exfoliating Toner

as of May 2, 2024 9:48 am

It is certainly among the most popular choices when we talk about toners with glycolic acids in the market. It does come in a noticeable skinny orange bottle. The attractive orange bottle is not all that there is to this product, but it catches your eye! This toner is ideal if you’re slowly starting to add glycolic acid into your skincare routine. Unlike most glycolic acid toners with high concentrations, this one only contains 5% glycolic acid.

You’ll notice that your pores get more precise and refined with daily use. It works wonders at removing grease and crud from them. With this toner, you get the mildest level of exfoliation that is sure to deliver noticeable effects. Also, this product is good at decongesting oil and gunk from them.

This product also contains Aloe Vera in addition to glycolic acid. It is done to keep your skin nourished and soothed while it is exfoliated. Ginseng Root Extract is also used to help strengthen and protect your skin from harm. Many users have reported that after they had used this glycolic Acid toner, they got a healthier-looking complexion. Also, it did brighten hyperpigmentation and other marks they had. Unlike other toners, this one is alcohol and paraben-free, and it is also safe to use daily.

3. L’Oréal Paris RevitaliftDerm Intensives 10% Pure Glycolic Acid Serum

L'Oréal Paris RevitaliftDerm Intensives 10% Pure Glycolic Acid Serum

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Face Serums are the most popular cosmetic product in the market. They are available in various versions depending on how potent their ingredients and this one is just the optimal one with really good penetration and visible results. This L’Oréal serum is designed in a unique way where it contains dual resurfacing and soothing effects.

This actually allows you to use it at night, even without irritation. While some glycolic acid does give you a harsh touch, this product by L’Oréal would certainly won’t. This serum so easily dissolves dead skin cells and simply gives you a smoother texture instantly.

Also, all you’re visible dark spots and wrinkles are reduced. You would certainly want to layer it and just cleanse your face before you decide to add a tinge of moisture to your face. As far as sensitivity is concerned, you would need to apply sunscreen when you decide to move out in the sun. With various combinations of ingredients, the Aloe-based serum is ideal for anyone with sensitive skin and who requires a soothing product that is perfect for daily use.

4. The Ordinary Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution

The Ordinary Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution

as of May 2, 2024 9:48 am

With plenty of hype-worthy products, The Ordinary has taken over the cosmetic and beauty market by storm! Even with the hype being pretty good, it is pretty affordable as well. Their glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution has proven to be the best to fix blemishes and give them a subtle glowy complexion. It is proven to be a good exfoliator and nourishes the skin very well. Also, it is good for clarifying your skin as it removes the dead skin cells and also encourages the renewal of skin cells. 

Tasmanian Pepperberry is a new ingredient added to the mix. It reduces the possibility of skin irritation caused by glycolic acid. Ginseng Root and Aloe Vera are among the other components. Aloe Vera is known to be a soothing ingredient that also enhances the properties of Tasmanian Pepperberry.

All these ingredients work together to give your skin a more youthful appearance. Also, it is not advisable to immediately start using it as it contains glycolic acid. You can start by applying 3 times a week. Later as you get accustomed to it, you would start using it regularly, after which you would start to experience a smoother complexion, and your noticeable pores would also lessen.

Also, many users have suggested that they did see that it did control the oiliness and gave shine to their face. Also, it did prevent whiteheads from forming. This product is vegan, plant-based, cruelty-free, and is formulated without mineral oil, silicone, and fragrance.

5. Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 8% AHA Gel

Paula's Choice Skin Perfecting 8% AHA Gel

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Paula’s Choice skincare serum gel is affordable. It will suit sensitive skin types and is appropriate for those who need a budget-friendly item. This gel contains 8% glycolic acid; it is called 8% AHA Gel. Glycolic acid also helps regenerate and renew skin cells, helping to improve its texture and appearance. After regularly using this glycolic acid product, you will notice that it resurfaces your uneven skin texture and does fill in fine lines. Glycolic acid is an excellent exfoliator for removing dead skin cells and revealing a smoother complexion.

Because it also contains Sodium Hyaluronate, this serum isn’t short on moisture. It keeps your skin hydrated for much longer and is a derivative of Hyaluronic Acid. Other ingredients include Aloe Vera Leaf Juice, Chamomile, and Green tea extract. Green tea and chamomile worked well together to provide me with a soothing, brightening effect that helped to hydrate my skin and give my complexion its original healthy glow. This AHA gel can be used one to two times each day, as long as you apply sunscreen afterward to avoid sun damage. It’s been proven to be safe for persons with sensitive skin to use.

6. Mario Badescu Glycolic Foaming Cleanser

Mario Badescu Glycolic Foaming Cleanser

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Well, one more option we have got for you is a cleanser by Mario Badescu. Many people would have heard about the brand, but we have found this cleanser this time, and because of its proven effects, we have included it on our list. The glycolic acid present in the formula works at getting rid of dirt oil and also removes the makeup from the face. With every wash, you would notice that this cleanser lathers off dead skin and impurities from the surface of your face. You’ll also notice smoother skin, smaller pores, and a brighter complexion if you use it often. This product can also be used to treat aging indications such as wrinkles and fine lines.

The glycolic acid in the product helps to remove debris, oil, and makeup from the skin. This cleanser removes dead skin and pollutants from the surface of your face with each wash. The ingredient list contains St. John’s Wort and Chamomile, Marshmallow, Sage, and Yarrow combine to give you a nice glow. By diligently using this product, you would notice that your skin is getting smoother, and you would also notice fewer pores and a brighter complexion.

The added advantage you get with this product is that you can also use it on your body. The brand recommends you use this cleanser on the problem-affected area of your body once or twice a week. One personal tip we want to give you is that whenever you want to apply it on your face, just make sure you use it only 1 to 3 times a week. This we advise you because the presence of glycolic acid can potentially dry your skin.

7. Bliss That’s Incredi-peel Glycolic Resurfacing Pads

Bliss That's Incredi-peel Glycolic Resurfacing Pads

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This product is ideal for travel or if you’re usually on the road because each Resurfacing Pad is individually packaged after cleaning and toning your skin; swipe one pad all over your face. Well, suppose you’re looking for professional-level exfoliation, but you just don’t have the time to book an appointment at the salon. In that case, these resurfacing pads can definitely come to your rescue. These Resurfacing pads are perfectly concocted 5-star AHA recipe. The glycolic acid percentage is 10 in these pads, making them potent exfoliators for your face.

By using these pads, you would get a smooth, glowing complexion and fewer dark spots or scars. Vitamin E is an antioxidant, and Licorice Root extract and Calendula Flower are also known to be soothing. They can soothe any irritation caused by glycolic acid. Glycerin and Witch Hazel are also included in the composition. Witch hazel is a natural astringent with toning, cleansing, and soothing properties. Glycerin is a common humectant that helps your skin retain hydration and moisture.

Being individually packed makes this product a handy travel one. This product is free from sulfates, parabens, and phthalates. As it contains 10% glycolic acid, after it’s entirely absorbed, apply moisturizer (and sunscreen if you’re using it during the day), and you’re good to go.

8. Peter Thomas Roth 10% Glycolic Solutions Moisturizer

Peter Thomas Roth 10% Glycolic Solutions Moisturizer

as of May 2, 2024 9:48 am

If you are looking for a Moisturizer with glycolic acid, don’t look any further than this one. And we do strongly recommend this Peter Thomas Roth, which contains 10% glycolic acid. This product is strong enough to immediately improve your skin tone and texture, with a concentration of 10% glycolic acid. And this presence of 10% glycolic acid does improve your skin texture and skin tone. It substantially improves the appearance of big pores and wrinkles because it is a chemical exfoliator.

Arginine and Aloe Vera are among the other components. They’re skin-nourishing and relaxing in equal measure. They’re ideal for combating any discomfort that the formula’s strong glycolic Acid content can create. With a potent mix of ingredients, you could argue that this product function just as well as a serum.

So as it can also play the role of serum, you can also skip your serum routine if you start applying this moisturizer. You should always use an SPF product with this because it contains a lot of glycolic Acids. It’s still safe to use it every day until you forget to apply SPF products. Users who have this product have reported smoother skin and have witnessed fewer acne breakouts.

9. Deep Clean AHA Cleanser by Exuviance

Deep Clean AHA Cleanser by Exuviance

as of May 2, 2024 9:48 am

Exuviance’s deep-cleansing wash foams up into a rich lather and contains glycolic acid and the hydrating poly-hydroxy-acid Gluconolactone. You can also jump-start your skincare routine by using this foaming cleanser designed to deeply clean and remove surface oil, impurities, and even makeup. AHA/PHA formula combined with glycolic acid and Gluconolactone will target a clarified skin texture. Also, its natural pH balance would just leave your skin feeling clean and simply refreshed.

This dermatologically tested product will deep clean your skin by removing all the impurities. This product is also free from soap and is non-drying. Many users have reported improvement in their skin texture and would also give you radiant skin as this product contains Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA), which may increase your skin sensitivity. So it is advisable to use a sunscreen cream to lessen this aspect.

10. Summer Fridays Soft Reset Aha Exfoliating Solution

Summer Fridays Soft Reset Aha Exfoliating Solution

as of May 2, 2024 9:48 am

Summer Fridays’ Soft Reset AHA Exfoliating Solution exfoliates, brightens skin and reduces the appearance of pores with its 3-in-1 formula, which offers overnight treatment. It has an effective and highly effective acne-fighting formula that works effectively on all types of acne and has an added bonus of a skin brightening effect. This Overnight formula has a concentrated solution of 16% AHAs, which can effectively lift up dead skin and refine your skin’s texture. So as soon as you wake up, you will feel that your skin is softer, smoother, and has a fresh glow.

This one has a soothing foundation of aloe vera and glycerin and is free of drying alcohols so that you may tolerate the high amount of alpha-hydroxy acids more easily. However, we would not recommend it to an acid newbie or someone susceptible to acid. There’s also a lot of niacinamide in there, which is excellent for clearing up pimples.

It has no aroma and a serum-like feel, making it an ideal formulation for those used to acids. This exfoliating solution might just be the ideal one where one can address issues like dullness, uneven skin tone, congestion, enlarged pores and even fine lines. It has a formula where lactic acid and glycolic acid work together and does reduce cohesion between dead and dulling cells.

11. Weekly Decree by Decree

This unique product comes with a two-step weekly treatment. A deeply hydrating mask and an intensive acid exfoliator combine in this treatment. The hydrating mask does resurface, smoothers, and conditions your complexion, giving you an enhanced look in your daily life. This double-acting formula has been cleverly designed to give your complexion a complete rejuvenation treatment and restore some of the skin’s natural complexion by resurfacing, treatment and would really grant you are brightening and smoothing skin which could even defy your age.

The Airbrushing Acid present in this formula acts as a silky gel. There is a blend of resurfacing alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) and fruit enzymes in this gel. These two agents combine effectively and deeply exfoliate away the dead skin cells, which would give your skin a shiny new look. In step two, you get a replenishing paste.

This paste acts like a deeply nourishing crème mask. This mask is just crafted so that it can restore moisture and hydration. It also replenishes essential skin lipids, which would definitely give you a youthful look. The product is just enough for a six-week use.

Weekly Decree by Decree

Two-step weekly treatment
Weekly Decree works as a weekly resurfacing treatment. This clinical-grade treatment was created to brighten, tone, and smooth the ski

What Types of Glycolic Acid Products are Available?

There are two main ways to use glycolic acid: Topical and oral. The topical method involves applying a gel, lotion, or cream containing glycolic acid directly onto the skin. Oral methods include using a pill form of glycolic acid or drinking a glass of water mixed with a few drops of glycolic acid. Topical glycolic acid is usually applied twice daily for best results. You may find yourself using this product for months until you notice a noticeable improvement in your skin.

Oral glycolic acid is typically taken once or twice a day. Some people prefer taking this type of treatment orally to have no greasy residue left behind after application. Topical glycolic acid products come in both prescription and over-the-counter forms. Over-the-counter versions contain either 5% or 10% glycolic acid while prescription-strength contains 15% or 20%. If you’re dealing with severe acne scarring, you may need to apply the highest concentration of glycolic acid possible.

What makes glycolic acid different than other ahas?

While all AHAs are similar in function, they differ in how quickly they act on your skin. Most AHAs will take several weeks before you see results. However, glycolic acid works much faster because it breaks down more easily into its parts. As a result, it can penetrate deeper into the skin where it can do its job.

Why Choose Glycolic Acid?

As glycolic acid is categorized as Alpha Hydroxy Acid, it is water-soluble and offers very good exfoliating properties. Well, if you’re among those who really want to improve your skin tone, then you should definitely use products that contain glycolic acid. Glycolic acid has been proven to be one of the most effective treatments for acne scarring. It removes dead skin cells and promotes new cell growth, helping to smooth out fine lines and wrinkles.

It also helps to prevent future breakouts by killing bacteria that cause pimples. Also, if you wish to defy your wrinkles and aging signs, you should go with glycolic acid, which can treat and delay signs of aging. Though you can easily go for products with Salicylic acid for your pimples, you should also give a shot at products that contain glycolic acid.

Glycolic Acid Vs. BHA/AHA

BHA stands for beta hydroxy acid, and AHA stands for alpha hydroxy acid. Both of these ingredients are found in many glycolic acid products. Glycolic acid is an effective exfoliant and can be used alone or combined with other AHAs to treat specific skin conditions.

BHA and AHA are not always interchangeable. While both AHAs are great at removing dead skin cells, they don’t perform the same way to promote new skin cell growth. BHA’s are better suited for treating dry, flaky skin, while AHA’s are better for oily skin.

How much glycolic acid is enough?

Well, that’s quite a tricky question to answer as many experts have different views on this question. Glycolic acid is one of the mildest chemical exfoliants, available in several forms and skin types. It gently resurfaces the skin without the need for scrubbing. As it is an exfoliant, it is important to only use it only when it is needed.

Also, its usage is also determined by the concentration of this acid in a product. Experts have concluded that a 5% concentration of glycolic acid is regarded as safe. Whereas 10% concentration is not good for regular use.  A good thumb rule would be simply using glycolic acid products just three times a week.

🌟 Top FAQs on Glycolic Acid Products

✅What happens if glycolic acid is used on a regular basis?

Glycolic acid exfoliates the skin while also boosting cell turnover and collagen formation. Glycolic acid clears pores, smoothes fine wrinkles, improves skin tone, fades dark spots and UV damage, also hydrates skin for a more youthful appearance.

✅How often should you apply glycolic acid?

It’s best to start by using glycolic acid peel 2-3 times a week at night. Glycolic acid definitely works on your hands and legs as well. Because as you age, you have dark spots there. It would help if you used it daily for the best benefits.

✅When should you not use glycolic acid?

Glycolic acid should always be used with caution in persons susceptible to sunburn or persons with sensitive skin. Glycolic acid should not be applied to active acne, active skin infections, sunburn, or cuts or abrasions to the skin. Glycolic acid may cause irritation to sensitive skin.

✅Can I leave glycolic acid on overnight?

You can leave glycolic acid on your face overnight and let it absorb into your skin. It works its magic overnight. The next day, wash it with water to get rid of it. However, keep in mind that this can cause you more sensitive to the sun and, in some situations, aggravate acne.

✅How long does glycolic acid take to start working?

Glycolic Acid works slowly. You may begin to see results after using Glycolic Acid for several weeks. The anti-aging benefits of glycolic acid in your skin can take up to three months to appear.

Conclusion: 11 Best Glycolic Acid Products

We hope that after reading this article, you now do have pretty good information about Glycolic acid. Glycolic acid is non-comedogenic and won’t leave a sticky film on the skin. It is also a powerful tool in the fight against acne scarring. It’s safe, gentle, and easy to use. It’s also inexpensive and widely available.

You should use glycolic acid If you have mild to moderate acne. If you have severe acne, you should consider using a combination of glycolic acid and benzoyl peroxide to get rid of the problem. Also, one piece of advice we also wish to give is that you should use Glycolic acid products at night since this ingredient can make your skin photosensitive.  Use glycolic acid regularly for about 6 months to achieve maximum results.

Remember: Do not use glycolic acid if you are pregnant or nursing. There you have it, a list of the 11 Best Products with Glycolic acid to treat your acne scars and the dos and don’ts with all the additional information that you can ask for. If you still have doubts about using Glycolic Acid, then do consult a dermatologist for the same.

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