Glycolic Acid

INCI: Glycolic Acid

What is Glycolic Acid?

Glycolic acid is a water-soluble Alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA) which naturally occurs in the foods, along with other AHAs such as Malic acid, Citric acid, and Lactic acid.

Use & Benefits

Glycolic acid (GA) being highly soluble; this increases its absorption rate into the skin. Once in contact with the skin, GA reacts with the surface of the epidermis where it begins to exfoliate away dead skin by disabling the binding properties that hold the dead skin cells together inducing desquamation (shedding of old skin on the stratum corneum- the outer most layer of the skin) revealing new skin.

Glycolic acid is used widely in cosmetics as skin peels for the face or in face moisturizers both can be used as part of a skincare regime.

Glycolic acid is able to aid in many skin problems such as hyperpigmentation and age spots due to exfoliation of the skin. Minimize wrinkles by increasing the syntheses of glycosaminoglycans or GAG which are greatly sulfated linear polysaccharides (a combination of simple sugars) GAG’s are useful in terms of structural and elastic support of the skin as they hold together collagen fibers. By increasing the concentration of Glycolic acid present, the skin becomes plumper and smoother and the collagen reduces the appearance of wrinkled skin. 

Able to assist skin hydration levels on dry skin as Glycolic acid is very polar and so attracts water towards itself, while allowing the skin to bind better with water molecules with the support of Hyaluronic acid. Helps reduce acne since the Glycolic acid has a small molecular weight it’s is able to penetrate the skin better and get into the small & large pores where it is able to remove any keratinocytes present. 



SpecialChem. SpecialChem. [Online] [Cited: September 02, 2019.]

Sheau-Chung Tang, Jen-Hung Yang. Dual Effects of Alpha-Hydroxy Acids on the Skin. 2018, Vol. 23, 4.

Chemical book. Chemical book. [Online] [Cited: September 02, 2019.]