Glycolic acid or salicylic acid? How to pick the accurate product for your skin type, explore here

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Glycolic acid and salicylic acid are two of the most often utilized compounds in skincare products, despite the fact that there are many more available. Have you ever wondered, though, if glycolic acid or salicylic acid is better for your skin? The benefits and drawbacks of the two substances are outlined below.

About glycolic acid

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Alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) is what glycolic acid (GA) is. Sugarcane, lemons, melons, and other sugary, acidic fruits are common sources of this chemical. These acids are used as exfoliants and are soluble in water. According to a study published in the Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology, it is one of the most popular AHAs in skincare products and is well-known for its moisturizing, exfoliating, and anti-aging qualities.


1. Prevents acne

“Glycolic acid is good for those with acne-prone skin. This skincare acid is a popular choice for exfoliating dead skin cells from the surface of the skin. Acne arises when a pore becomes clogged with dirt, oil, germs, and other pollutants. Glycolic acid contains exfoliating properties that can be beneficial in such cases. You will see a reduction in acne with consistent use”, stated dermatologist and cosmetologist Dr Ritika Shanmugam.

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2. Heals patches of mild hyperpigmentation

These days, hyperpigmentation affects people of all ages. Increased melanin synthesis in the skin is the cause of this skin disease. It can also lessen the signs of sun damage and aging.

3. Revives your skin

Glycolic acid functions as a mild exfoliator in addition to plumps the skin by raising its moisture content. Because glycolic acid helps the skin retain moisture, it can brighten the skin and give it a healthy appearance.

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4. Soothes fine lines and wrinkles

According to a study that was published in the Journal of Dermatological Science, it aids in raising the skin’s collagen levels, which are essential for maintaining its glow and softness.

About salicylic acid

Salicylic acid is an exfoliating agent and a beta-hydroxy acid. It is a wintergreen plant-derived natural exfoliant. Because salicylic acid interacts well with oil and is lipophilic by nature, it is ideal for oily, combination, and acne-prone skin. According to a study that was published in the StatPearl Journal, salicylic acid is less irritating to the skin than glycolic acid because of its slightly larger molecules.


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1. Prevents blackheads and whiteheads

“Salicylic acid, unlike glycolic acid, penetrates the surface of the skin and helps eliminate dirt from its pores. When extra sebum, debris, and hair follicles combine, pores become clogged. This makes your skin appear dull and rough and causes blackheads and whiteheads. Salicylic acid gives you clean, healthy skin by deeply cleaning pores,” the expert added.

2. Curbs oil formation through sebum production

Strong BHA salicylic acid regulates sebum production and prevents excessive oiliness of the skin. By using this acid in your skincare routine, you can balance oil without making your skin feel dry. It is particularly beneficial to people with combination, oily, and acne-prone skin, per a study published in the Clinical, Cosmetic, and Investigational Dermatology Journal.

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3. Soothes acne and red bumps

Salicylic acid works on the skin’s deeper layers by clearing the pores, which reduces acne and breakouts. A study that was published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal found that salicylic acid has soothing properties that can reduce redness and pain associated with pimples.

Glycolic acid or salicylic acid: Which one to go for?

You can include both salicylic acid and glycolic acid in your skincare routine as they are both beneficial chemicals. If you have dry, sensitive skin, go for glycolic acid; if you have oily, acne-prone skin, go for salicylic acid. You can select the components based on the type and concern of your skin.


Disclaimer: Dermatologist’s advice is recommended.