Glycolic Acid

Written by Dr. Emma, MD
Edited by Marc Gamboa

Maintenance of healthy skin doesn’t only depends on healthy eating, taking plenty of water and exercise, rather you have to use certain beauty care products in order to protect your skin from seasonal attacks and for the glowing smoother skin.  There are a lot of natural and synthetic skin care products out there, but for many people skin care means using glycolic acid. Read on to learn more about glycolic acid…

Glycolic acid

Derived from sugar cane, glycolic acid belongs to AHA’s (alpha hydroxyl acids) family of natural ingredients. Out of five members of AHA’s family, glycolic acid has the smallest molecular structure and it is highly water-soluble. Due to its smaller size and water binding properties, it has been widely used as an active ingredient in many skin care products.

How it works?

Glycolic acid is a powerful exfoliator (molecules that remove dead skin cells). The exfoliating property of glycolic acid is due its strong acidic and hydrophilic (substances that are highly soluble in water) nature. It penetrates easily into upper damaged layers of skin and assist in the removal of dead cells, resulting in much smooth, soft skin.

Glycolic Acid Skin Benefits:

Are you in search of products that have anti-aging action and fades out the fine lines around your eyes and face? Choose the one with glycolic acid inside as it can help you a lot due to its effectiveness for the sun and aging spots, acne and discoloration of the skin. We have divided its skin benefits into following sub-headings


As you get older, your skin becomes thick and tough and there is decrease turnover of dead skin cells especially around your face. The regeneration of new skin cells is still there, but at a much slower rate. By speeding up cellular turnover it helps the skin to rejuvenate quickly. Newly formed cells contain less store of skin toning pigment “melanin”, thus, it improves your skin tone in this way.

Hydration and Moisture

Glycolic acid is a hygroscopic molecule, means that it has the ability to capture moisture in the skin. When it is applied topically in the form of creams, it transfers water molecules from air and lock moisture in the skin. Its constant use leaves your skin well-hydrated also.


Sagginess of skin, wrinkling and appearance of fine lines with age is a result of decrease collagen production in the body. Glycolic acid improves sagginess and softens fine lines by increasing the production of collagen.

UV protection

It has got no anti-oxidant property itself. However if it is used with the active ingredients hiving anti-oxidant properties, it can help them by providing space for better action while penetrating deep into the skin.

Softens pigmentation

It inhibits the production of melanin by hyper-active melanocytes creating a more even toned complexion. Whether it is effective in treating acne, melasma or hyperpigmentation or not, is still unclear.