How to Make Homemade Glycolic Acid

Glycolic acid is one of the alpha-hydroxy acids derived from fruit and milk as well as plants high in sugar such as sugar cane and sugar beets. Glycolic acid is used in skin creams and facial peels. The acid dissolves the bonds that hold layers of skin cells together, so that the outer layer of dead skin cells can be stripped away revealing younger, smoother skin.

Step 1

Combine the muscovado sugar and essential oil with enough yogurt to make a creamy paste. The sugar won't dissolve completely. Muscovado sugar is minimally processed, contains glycolic acid and moisturizes as well as exfoliates.

Step 2

Apply the sugar paste to your face, avoiding the area close to your eyes. Wait for three to four minutes, and then splash on a little water and massage the sugar paste over your complexion in light circles with your fingertips.

Step 3

Rinse thoroughly with warm water. Use the chamomile tea as a final rinse to completely remove the sugar and yogurt paste and to soothe your skin.

Step 4

Massage the almond or olive oil into your skin while it is still damp. The emollient oil will help smooth your skin and seal in moisture.

Things You'll Need

  • Small mixing bowl

  • Spoon

  • 2 tbsp. muscovado sugar

  • 1 to 2 tbsp. plain yogurt

  • 1 to 2 drops essential oil, such as lavender or rose

  • 1 cup chamomile tea, cooled

  • 1 tsp. almond or olive oil


Yogurt is a source of lactic acid. Substitute apple sauce, which contains malic acid, or lemon or orange juice, which contains citric acid. Citrus acid is somewhat harsh; leave the mixture on your face for a shorter time to avoid irritating your skin. For sensitive skin, use plain white sugar instead of muscovado sugar. Plain white sugar has smaller crystals than muscovado sugar.


Do a patch test of your sugar and yogurt, apple sauce or lemon juice paste. Apply a little to your inner arm and cover with a bandage. After 24 hours, check for skin irritation.

Although your sugar and yogurt paste has a smaller percentage of glycolic acid than the commercial products used by dermatologists, you still need to protect your skin from exposure to sun, wind, and extremes of cold and heat. Apply sunscreen daily and use a moisturizer regularly.

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