The 5 Best Glycolic Acid Lotions On Amazon

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by Deanna McCormack
Originally Published: 

Active acids, like lactic, glycolic, hyaluronic, and salicylic, are becoming more and more popular in at-home skincare products. And, if you're interested, knowing what they are and what they do can make a big difference between a smooth, radiant complexion and irritated, over-exfoliated skin. The best glycolic acid lotions, for example, work by shedding dead skin cells to reveal smoother, brighter skin. Also, because they cause fewer side effects than other chemical exfoliators, glycolic acids (depending on the formula) are considered pretty gentle, which makes them perfect for everyday use on all skin types.

So what exactly are glycolic acids? Well, they fall into the category of alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) because they are a derivative of sugarcane. When applied to the skin in tolerable amounts, they exfoliate, loosen, and clear the oil, dead skin cells, and debris that build up on the top layer of your skin. Additionally, glycolic acids stimulate the production of collagen and elastin in your skin, which accelerates healing and reduces discoloration.

When thinking about which glycolic cream might be best for you, look closely at the other ingredients included in the formula. Things like oils, vitamin E, and chamomile are great for dry or combination skin, while additions like antioxidants, salicylic acid, and citrus are great for more sensitive or acne-prone complexions. Below, you'll find six of the best glycolic acid lotions and creams that will leave you with your smoothest, softest skin ever.


Best For Dry Skin: Mario Badescu Glycolic Skin Renewal Complex

Perfect for drier skin types, Mario Badescu's Glycolic Skin Renewal Complex is an intensely hydrating and refreshing cream that also boasts the skin resurfacing power of glycolic acid. In addition, the formula contains a blend of papaya extract, honey, vitamin, E and vitamin A, which, while hydrating the skin overnight or during the day, both brighten and soothe dull, dry skin.

According to one reviewer: "My favorite day time cream. Non greasy. Not too expensive. Love the glycolic action."


Best For Oily Skin: Vichy Normaderm Anti-Aging Resurfacing Moisturizer

If you're looking for a glycolic acid cream that works for oily and/or acne-prone skin, try Vichy's Normaderm Anti-Aging Resurfacing Moisturizer. The formula is lightweight, non-sticky, and non-comedogenic, and it provides a matte finish that's perfect for complexions that tend to look shiny. Also, with its blend of glycolic acid, vitamin C, and LHA's, it targets imperfections by clearing away dead skin, unclogging pores, fighting and prevents breakouts, and refining the skin's texture.

According to one reviewer: "Consistency is great! More between gel and lotion. Refreshing."


Best For Sensitive Skin: Paula's Choice Skin Perfecting 8% AHA Lotion

Believe it or not, glycolic acid (at certain concentrations) is perfectly safe for sensitive skin. As for glycolic acid lotions, Paula's Choice Skin Revealing 10% AHA Lotion is a great option for sensitive skin because its non-abrasive and contains skin-soothing ingredients, like Shea butter, and powerful antioxidants, like green tea. The 10 percent glycolic acid acts as a leave-on exfoliant that gently loosens and clears built-up layers of dead skin for a smoother, softer, and clearer complexion. The formula is also fragrance free and has an optimal pH range of 3.5–3.9, which protects your skin from any unwanted reactions or dryness. While this might technically be labeled as a "body lotion," reviewers love using it on their faces and necks as well.

According to one reviewer: "The smell isn't noticeable, it's lightweight and absorbs well, my arms are softer and look better in general and the bumps are gone! I still some red dots but they're completely smooth and I've only been using off and on for about a month."


Best For Hyperpigmentation: NeoStrata Resurface High Potency Cream AHA 20

If you're not new to exfoliating acids, NeoStrata's Resurface High Potency Cream is the best way to step up the strength of your skincare's active ingredients while still providing your face with the moisture it needs to stay healthy and smooth. The high-strength formula, which is free of oils and fragrances, contains 18 percent glycolic acid, 2 percent lacto bionic acid, and vitamin E, which work to even out skin tone and fade discoloration and acne scars by turning over skin cells at a faster rate.

According to one reviewer: "This line was recommended by my dermatologist. After using for a week I could start to see the changes to my face. My skin glows and is smooth. I have added other anti-aging products by Neostrata to my daily skincare."


Best For Redness: Alpha Skin Care Essential Renewal 10% AHA Lotion

This popular glycolic acid lotion is seriously affordable and has a track record for helping minimize breakouts and redness. Formulated with 10 percent glycolic acid, this fragrance-free and paraben-free lotion won't be too harsh on sensitive skin. It's also packed with vitamin E which helps to brighten your complexion. In fact, this lotion has won over so many die-hard fans, that many Amazon reviewers call this their "holy grail" beauty product and say they've been using it for years.

According to one reviewer: "This lotion has made such an improvement in the appearance of my skin. It is thick yet spreads really well. I scrub in the shower and slather it on damp skin. It has made a HUGE difference in dryness, scaliness, and crepey texture. HUGE. I will never be without this product, it really does work for me."

This post was originally published on March 6th, 2018. It was updated and republished on June 25th, 2019. Additional reporting by Amy Biggart.

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