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5 Benefits Of Glycolic Acid

25.01.2023 | Skincare

Glycolic Acid gives exfoliation with powerful results. 

Exfoliation is essential to maintain glowing skin (and a healthy scalp) and is best managed with a combo of at home methods, including using Glycolic Acid. Available for more than twenty years, Glycolic Acid is an ingredient most people should be using in their skin and scalp care routines. From a big picture lens of the different types of acids available for skincare, Glycolic Acid is the smallest of AHAs – it goes into the skin deeper and faster than other alpha-hydroxy acids, supporting smoother, brighter skin. 

Glycolic Acid is naturally found in sugar cane, beets, and fruits, but is most effective when synthesized in a lab, where its potency and concentration are optimized for use in skin care. Most products available offer formulations that include a range between 5 (cleansers) and 30% (at home peels) including our Glycolic Acid Toner at 10%. 

And now here are 5 skin or scalp concerns where incorporating Glycolic Acid can offer noticeable improvement.


The accumulation of dead skin cells can clog pores and trigger blemish breakouts. For people looking to reduce or improve appearance of blemishes, the benefit of Glycolic Acid is its ability to unclog pores and remove dead surface skin cells. Our Glycolic Acid Toner also includes 5% Witch Hazel helps to minimize excess oil. With less to clog the pores, the skin can clear, and will help reduce the occurrence of breakouts. Glycolic Acid gently yet powerfully exfoliates the surface of the skin, helping to unclog pores and reduce breakouts, particularly when used alongside other acne treatments.

Top Tip: You can also apply glycolic acid to body acne – including chest and back.  


Glycolic Acid deeply exfoliates the top layer of skin which can reduce the most recognized signs of ageing. Skin cell turnover slows as we age, so glycolic helps to remove dead skin cells revealing a more radiant complexion. 

Glycolic Acid fades sun damage like melasma dark spots and age spots. Research also shows Glycolic Acid is an effective treatment of acne scars. Hyperpigmentation is the most noticeable on the surface of your skin, and the skin underneath is less pigmented. By incorporating Glycolic Acid into your routine, it exfoliates and removes darker dead skin cells from your skin’s surface providing a fresh layer of skin with a more even skin tone 


Studies show cellular turnover, or the constant shedding or removal of dead surface skin cells, happens naturally around every 28 -30 days in those aged under thirty. As we become older, the rate of this turnover slows down which can lead to buildup on the surface of the skin and skin taking on a dull, less radiant skin appearance. Enter Glycolic Acid Toner – a hero exfoliator. And for a glow in less than ten minutes, consider incorporating our Apple Cider Vinegar Acid Peel (formulated with Glycolic Acid) in your skincare routine. 


Uneven skin texture is commonly a result of excess dead skin cells that build up on the surface of the skin. This can make areas of the skin feel rough or bumpy to the touch. Incorporating Glycolic Acid Toner to your evening skincare routine will slough away dead surface skin and promote a more smoother skin appearance. 


Excess of stubborn product buildup (think styling products and dry shampoo) can disrupt the healthy function of the hair follicle and removing that buildup can encourage a healthy scalp and roots to lift.  Have 10 minutes for a healthier scalp? Our Glycolic Acid Exfoliating Scalp Treatment is formulated with both chemical and physical exfoliators to help remove product buildup and dead cells and leave hair looking healthy.  

Important to remember when using Glycolic Acid

Avoid using Retinol Serum and other products that rapidly exfoliate skin in the same recipe. For more advice on layering products, see our blog on What Products Shouldn't I Layer Together?

Glycolic Acid, along with other AHAs, increase your skin’s sensitivity to harmful UV rays. Be sure to generously apply SPF. 

Photo of Written by JZ, INKEY's own Global Director of Education

Written by JZ, INKEY's own Global Director of Education

JZ is passionate for connecting consumers with skincare knowledge. From the moment he attended his first brand training, he knew he wanted to be involved in skincare education, and is now living his professional dream life at The INKEY List.