Glycolic acid is one of the most commonly used forms of hydroxy acid. It helps to peel away dead skin cells, with the American Academy of Dermatology reporting that it can leave your skin feeling softer and appearing much smoother. The acid can be found in a wide range of skincare products, including skin creams and cleansers.
DDF Glycolic 10% Exfoliating Moisturizer
Doctors Dermatologic Formula's glycolic lotion contains the acid at a strength of 10 percent. Skincare expert Paula Begoun rates it as "very good," saying its combination of acid in a lightweight lotion creates an "effective exfoliant." It's also formulated with silicone, which helps to both moisturize and smooth out your skin surface, and what Begoun calls "great antioxidants."
Dr. Jeffrey Dover Glycolic Cream Cleanser
Dr. Jeffrey Dover's cleanser was rated as the best exfoliating cleanser by "Real Simple" magazine's beauty editors. The magazine notes it can help brighten your skin for a more radiant appearance without overdrying your skin surface. The cleanser also contains hyaluronic acid, which helps moisturize your skin and combats the potentially drying effects of the glycolic acid.
Isomers Daily Exfoliating Serum
Reviewing Isomer's serum, Begoun concludes that it's "effective ... for all skin types." It combines what she says is an "effective concentration" of glycolic acid with salicylic acid—salicylic acid may help combat acne by clearing your pores—in a clear, liquid treatment. It's designed to be smoothed on in the evening and is ideal if you need exfoliating but don't need moisturizing.
Jan Marini Age Intervention Regeneration Facial Mask
Jan Marini's clay mask "goes above and beyond" what a traditional facial mask can do, reports Begoun. She liked how it helps to suck up excess oil, thus reducing shine and potentially minimizing breakouts, and exfoliates with glycolic acid. Additionally, she says it's "loaded" with skin-nourishing ingredients like antioxidants, which help reduce the damage caused by free radicals.