Top 16 Best Glycolic Acid Lotions & Creams for the Face & Body

The ultimate list of the best Glycolic Acid Lotions and Creams for the face & body, ranging from 5% to 15% concentrations. Plus our recommended glycolic acid skincare routine!

The Best Glycolic Acid Lotions & Creams for the Face & Body

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The Benefits of Glycolic Acid Creams & Lotions

Glycolic lotions and creams are one of the most effective ways to treat dull, pigmented, and acne-prone skin.

This type of acid or AHA (alpha hydroxy acid) penetrates through the upper layer of the skin and works to constantly replace and rejuvenate the skin. It increases the production of elastin and 143collagen, as well as reduce hyperpigmentation and uneven skin tone.

The anti-aging effects of AHAs have been proven time and time again through rigorous clinical studies.[1]

The benefit of using a glycolic acid lotion against having regular chemical peels is a gradual process that has zero downtime. There will be no visible flaking as long as the skin is hydrated and moisturized with every use.

It is also essential that glycolic acid creams are used in combination with gentle ingredients as much as possible in order to avoid any irritation or side-effects on the skin.

Glycolic acid lotions are also one of the cheapest and most effective treatments for acne-prone skin, Keratosis pilaris or chicken skin, sun-damaged skin, wrinkles, and fine lines.[2, 3, 4]

Video: 20% Glycolic Acid Lotion – If you want to LOOK YOUNGER, you HAVE to EXFOLIATE!

Ask the Expert: Recommended Skincare Routine with Glycolic Acid Lotion

by Samantha Welch, Esthetician


  1. Use gentle and soap-free cleansers to avoid irritations. If you choose cleansers for sensitive skin, you won’t go wrong.
  2. In the morning, the skin needs protection from the sun not just as a general rule but also because glycolic acid increases the skin’s hypersensitivity to the sun. Apply a minimum of 30 SPF.
  3. In the evening, the skin sets out to naturally repair itself. Apply the glycolic acid lotion right after cleansing to maximize its effect.

If you have very sensitive skin, you may want to start out using the product every other day instead of daily. You can increase the frequency and dosage over time as you see fit.

When choosing acids to incorporate in your skincare, make sure to consider your skin type and skin tolerance or sensitivity.

Table Of Contents

Esthetician’s Choice:
The Best Glycolic Acid Lotions and Creams for the Face & Body

The list is divided into two: glycolic face creams & glycolic body lotions. Products are arranged from the mildest or lowest concentration to the highest.

We’ve chosen the best glycolic acid creams and lotions for every available % concentration based on our analysis, specifications, value for money, and consumer reviews.

The list starts with face creams and finishes with body lotions. The strength of glycolic acid also goes up as it goes on.
If this is your first time incorporating acids in your regime, it’s best to start with a low percentage and work your way up.

Epicuren Discovery Glycolic Lotion Face Peel 5%

Epicuren Discovery Glycolic Lotion Face Peel 5%

Best for: Refining pores, Improving skin clarity

Our Review:

A good starting point for those who haven’t had any experience with acids in their skincare.

This is also great for those with sensitive skin because the chances of flaking nor any irritation are low at this percentage.

Its consistency is milky white and has a mild scent.

Cruelty-free and recycle-friendly.

Video Review:

Glycolic Lotion Skin Peels | Glycolic Peels at Home


Passion Naturals 6% AHA Serum with Hydrating Hyaluronic Acid, Fruit Extracts, & Peptides – L-Arginine

Passion Naturals 6% AHA Serum with Hydrating Hyaluronic Acid, Fruit Extracts, & Peptides – L-Arginine

Best for: Lightening sun spots & age spots, Improving skin hydration & elasticity, Helping reduce skin damage

Our Review:

A tiny step up from the previous 5% concentration. This formula is a combination of glycolic acid and other AHAs to help lighten dark spots and moisturize the skin.

It’s a great night cream, especially for mature skin who has had way too much time under the sun. It can brighten your complexion and keep the skin fresh and well exfoliated.


Peter Thomas Roth 10% Glycolic Solutions Moisturizer, 2.2 fl. oz.

Peter Thomas Roth 10% Glycolic Solutions Moisturizer

Best for: Improving skin clarity, wrinkles, & fine lines; Evening out skin tone, pores, & texture

Our Review:

This rich, moisturizing formula has a unique time-releasing glycolic acid. This means your skin gets small doses of the acid gradually throughout the day or night.

This advanced chemical exfoliation helps improve fine lines, wrinkles, pores, and skin texture. It also brings clarity and brightness to uneven skin tones.

Arginine, an essential building block of collagen, helps renew the skin.

Aloe Vera extract helps replenish moisture and hydrate the skin, as well as reduce irritation and inflammation.

Video Review:

Video: 10% Glycolic Solutions Moisturizer | Peter Thomas Roth How To


Acne.org 6 oz. AHA+ (Glycolic Acid - 10%)

Acne.org 6 oz. AHA + Glycolic Acid – 10%

Best for: Calming acne-prone skin, Improving skin texture, Intense hydration

Our Review:

The additional step in acne.org’s extremely popular Anti-Acne Treatment Line. This will help get rid of any hyperpigmentation from inflamed acne. The licorice extract will also help brighten the skin and calm any residual redness.

The product is very lightweight and ideally used in combination with topical acne treatments like benzoyl peroxide. It’s also formulated to work with all skin types–it provides hydration to dry skin and keeps oily skin at bay.

Ideal for all skin types, especially for oily and combination skin.

Dye-free, fragrance-free. Comes at approx. pH 4.0-4.1.


CANE + AUSTIN Acne Retexture Pad, 2% Salicylic and 5% / 10% Glycolic Acids

CANE + AUSTIN Retexturizing Moisture Cream – 10% Glycolic Acid

Best for: Reducing the appearance of dark spots, fine lines, & wrinkles; Soothing redness & inflammation, Balancing skin’s moisture balance

Our Review:

This luxurious moisturizer contains 10% pharmaceutical-grade glycolic acid and aims to reduce the appearance of wrinkles, fine lines, pigmentation, and age spots. It retexturizes the skin while helping build collagen.

Green tea detoxifies the skin with potent antioxidants, as well as calms and soothes the skin from redness and inflammation.

Fragrance-free, non-comedogenic, and helps unclog pores to reduce breakouts–making it great for acne-prone skin.

Video Review:

Video: Cane + Austin | Facial Moisture Cream


Alpha Skin Care – Intensive Renewal Serum, 14% Glycolic AHA, Real Results for Lines and Wrinkles

Alpha Skin Care – Intensive Renewal Serum, 14% Glycolic AHA, Real Results for Lines and Wrinkles

Best for: Anti-aging, Supporting collagen production, Evening our complexion, Reducing the appearance of fine lines & wrinkles

Our Review:

This 14% intensive renewal serum is the new incarnation of the popular Alpha Hydrox AHA Enhanced Lotion, from one of the leading AHAs brands in the market.

This serum encourages collagen production for a reduction in wrinkles and fine lines, and evening out skin tone. It also has great reviews for treatment against hyperpigmentation, scarring, and keratosis pilaris or chicken skin.

The 10%-14% strength is available in lotion & cream (dry to normal skin), gel (oily skin), and serum (all skin types) forms. The lotion, in particular, comes at a pH level of 4.0

Paraben-free and fragrance-free. Not tested on animals.


 15% Glycolic Acid Cream – Anti-Wrinkle, Extra strength, Alpha Hydroxy Acid enhanced with Green Tea Extract

15% Glycolic Acid Cream – Anti-Wrinkle, Extra strength, Alpha Hydroxy Acid enhanced with Green Tea Extract

Best for: Correcting visible signs of aging, Smoothing out fine lines & wrinkles, Regenerating natural collagen growth, Exfoliating sun-damaged skin

Our Review:

Even at 15%, this glycolic acid face cream delivers powerful AHA properties but can be gentle enough not to cause any visible peeling. This formula is unbuffered, meaning you’ll still get it at full strength so use very sparingly (dime-sized) for the entire face, neck, or decollete. This also means a single tub can last you a while.

It corrects enlarged pores, skin tone and texture, dullness, sagging, and age spots.

It’s also enhanced with green tea extract that helps regenerate collagen growth and cell production naturally, for healthier and younger-looking skin.

This moisturizer is light, non-greasy, and quickly absorbed so it’s perfect for those with oily skin.


Neostrata is a brand that comes highly recommended by dermatologists worldwide.  This glycolic acid lotion is a highly effective exfoliant that reduces visible signs of aging, rough skin, dryness, photodamage and scaling. Continued use will improve skin texture and clarity.  This is for normal to oily skin and those who are used to acids in their skincare as this comes in at a pH 3.7.  Suitable for face and body, this can also double as an AHA body lotion and works wonders for keratosis pilaris (chicken skin).

NeoStrata Lotion Plus AHA 15%

Best for: Roughness, Dryness, Scaling, Enhancing skin clarity, Reducing appearnce of fine lines, wrinkles, & pores

Our Review:

Neostrata is a brand that comes highly recommended by dermatologists worldwide.

This glycolic acid lotion is a high-strength exfoliant that reduces visible signs of aging, rough skin, dryness, photodamage, and scaling. Continued use will improve skin texture and clarity.

This is for normal to oily skin and those who are used to acids in their skincare as this comes in at a pH of 3.7.

Suitable for face and body, this can also double as an AHA body lotion and works wonders for keratosis pilaris (chicken skin).


Glycolix Elite 10% / 15% / 20% Glycolic Acid Treatment Pads, 60 Count

Glycolix Elite Facial Cream, 10% / 15% / 20% – with Vitamin E, Vitamin C, Vitamin A & CoQ10

Best for: Refining skin texture, Minimizes the appearance of pores & fine lines, Brightening complexion

Our Review:

This is a very popular and one of the best glycolic acid creams that have stood the test of time. It pairs ultra-purified crystalline glycolic acid and green tea antioxidants as well as vitamins C, E, A, and CoQ10. This makes it great for nourishing your skin while providing antioxidant protection from free radicals.

Targets large pores, excess oil, dry skin, and uneven skin texture. 

This has an elegant, light formula that dries to a matte finish, and can be used as a day and night cream.

Comes in 10%, 15%, and 20% strengths, and clocks in at a pH level of 4.0.

Non-comedogenic (will not clog pores). Fragrance-free, Paraben-free, Gluten-free, and Oil-free.


Donell AHA 20 Face and Body Moisturizer

Donell AHA 20 Face and Body Moisturizer

Best for: Exfoliating dry & rough areas, Softening & hydrating skin

Our Review:

Demonstrated in the above video, this glycolic acid moisturizer is highly recommended for mature skin. It’s a strong and very effective anti-aging cream that can work well against sun damage and pigmentation like freckles and sunspots.

Keeps skin smooth, supple, and flake-free. This is formulated with the roughest parts in mind, for an all-body moisturizer. Also helps soften callouses, reduce skin cracking and flaking, and increase moisturization.

It works from head to toe, but make sure to patch test and start from the rougher parts e.g. knees, elbows, etc. to avoid any irritations.


Esthetician’s Choice:
The Best Glycolic Acid Lotions for the Body

Glycolic acid body lotions exfoliate dead skin cells and keep the skin young and supple.
This is especially beneficial for dry skin and chicken skin, especially in areas like the knees, elbows, and hands.
For best results, use after bathing with an exfoliating body wash.

Gly + Sal Exfoliating Body Lotion

Gly + Sal Exfoliating Body Lotion – Enhanced with Green Tea, Papaya, Bearberry, Licorice, Amino Complex

Best for: Wrinkles, fine lines, acne, dull skin, uneven texture, dehydrated, sun spots, keratosis pilars, rosacea, eczema (atopic dermatitis), melasma, smoker’s skin

Our Review:

A staple in my shower stall, this is an amazing exfoliant for those who want to effectively reduce rough-textured skin in their arms, knees, or heels. It also works well to soften sun-damaged and dry skin.

Perfect Image is known for their chemical peels and is able to incorporate an array of beneficial fruit extracts in their formulation, which gives them a unique edge compared to the others.

Green tea and chamomile provide antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-bacterial benefits. Cucumber extract is rich in vitamins and minerals, as well as enzymes for added skin-tightening. Salicylic acid (BHA or beta hydroxy acid) provides deep cleansing & unclogging pores. Tea tree oil has been proven to effectively kill the acne bacteria propionibacterium acnes.

No Parabens, Sulfates, or Phthalates.
Gluten-free. Cruelty-free — no animal testing on ingredients or products.
Recycled Materials–Sustainable Raw Materials & Practices.


Keratosis Pilaris with 12% Glycolic Acid & 2% Salicylic Acid Exfoliating Lotion

Touch Keratosis Pilaris with 12% Glycolic Acid & 2% Salicylic Acid Exfoliating Lotion

Best for: Rough bumps & redness caused by Keratosis Pilaris

Our Review:

If you’re looking for a solution particular to treating Keratosis Pilaris (KP), TOUCH’s glycolic-salicylic acid line might be your best bet. While there’s no cure for KP, dermatologists recommend a proper and consistent exfoliating routine.

This formula of combining AHAs (glycolic acid) and BHAs (salicylic acid) helps get rid of the buildup of keratin deep down in your hair follicles—the cause of inflammation, redness, bumps, and discolored skin. In addition, it also helps reduce and prevent body acne using the same acids to clear our clogged pores.

This has quite a low pH of 3.5, meaning the acids can penetrate more deeply into the skin. The downside to this is it can cause irritation and dryness to sensitive skin.

This product has a range of ingredients to deal with dry skin like Glycine Soja Oil, rich in antioxidants and vitamin E, as well as Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride (CCT), an emollient derived from coconut and glycerin. Aloe Vera is there as well to stimulate cell growth and anti-inflammation.

Ideally paired with their 15% Glycolic Acid + 2% Salicylic Acid KP Exfoliating Body Wash.


Paula's Choice Skin Revealing Body Lotion 10% AHA, Glycolic Acid & Shea Butter Exfoliant, Moisturizer for Keratosis Pilaris (KP) Prone Skin

Paula’s Choice Resist Skin Revealing Glycolic Acid Body Lotion – 10% AHA with Antioxidants

Best for: Revealing younger-looking & hydrated skin, Improving texture & dry skin, Hydrating skin

Our Review:

I’m a big fan of Paula’s Choice and this does not disappoint. The brand is known for their AHA and BHA lines.

This leave-on exfoliant improves the appearance of hard, clogged, red bumps on arms and legs. It removes any build-up of dead skin in a non-abrasive way, revealing softer and smoother skin from the neck down. It also hydrates the skin and softens any dryness on the body. The pH ranges from 3.5-3.9.

This exfoliating body lotion is creamy yet lightweight, very hydrating but not greasy. Perfect for use in the winter.


CANE + AUSTIN 15% Glycolic Acid Body Retexture Lotion

CANE + AUSTIN 15% Glycolic Acid Body Retexture Lotion

Best for: Improving skin texture, Rebuilding collagen, Reducing the appearance of age spots,

Our Review:

This ultra-hydrating body lotion contains 15% pharmaceutical-grade glycolic acid. It exfoliates and retexturizes skin while helping rebuild collagen and reduce the appearance of pigmentation with continuous use.

This lotion is quite rich in consistency, though fast-absorbing. It has superoxide dismutase, one of the most powerful antioxidants, to protect the skin from environmental damage.

Vitamins A, C, and E, plus Coenzyme Q10 with glycolic acid deliver results comparable to 15% glycolic treatment. (Quite high, would not recommend for sensitive skin this point up.)


Glycolix 15% Body Lotion – with Green Tea, Aloe Vera, Vitamin C, A, E, and CoQ10

Glycolix 15% Body Lotion – with Green Tea, Aloe Vera, Vitamin C, A, E, and CoQ10

Best for: Exfoliating dull & dry skin, Acne-prone skin, Improves pigmentation, Keratosis pilaris

Our Review:

A great product to slough off dry skin, especially in areas like the knees and elbows, to reveal soft and brighter skin. This product is especially effective on Keratosis Pilaris or chicken skin, acne, pigmentation, and dry skin.

The concentration is a bit high though, so make sure to do a patch test if you have sensitive skin.

This lotion is enhanced with a rich blend of antioxidants like green tea; vitamins A, E, C, and CoQ10; and aloe vera to calm and nourish the skin. This also helps fortify your moisture barrier.

It’s fast-absorbing and non-drying.  The size of the bottle is hefty as well so you don’t feel the need to use less, especially since it’s a body lotion.

Gluten-free, Oil-free. Non-comedogenic (will not clog pores).


GLYTONE Exfoliating AHA Body Lotion – 17.5% Glycolic Acid

GLYTONE Exfoliating AHA Body Lotion – 17.5% Glycolic Acid

Best for: Keratosis pilaris, Exfoliating for younger-looking skin, Free radical damage

Our Review:

A great product to slough off dry skin, especially in areas like the knees and elbows, to reveal soft and brighter skin. This product is especially effective on Keratosis Pilaris or chicken skin, acne, pigmentation, and dry skin.

The concentration is a bit high though, so make sure to do a patch test if you have sensitive skin.

This lotion is enhanced with a rich blend of antioxidants like green tea; vitamins A, E, C, and CoQ10; and aloe vera to calm and nourish the skin. This also helps fortify your moisture barrier.

It’s fast-absorbing and non-drying.  The size of the bottle is hefty as well so you don’t feel the need to use less, especially since it’s a body lotion.

Gluten-free, Oil-free. Non-comedogenic (will not clog pores).


References:

  1. Kornhauser, A., Coelho, S. G., & Hearing, V. J. (2010). Applications of hydroxy acids: classification, mechanisms, and photoactivity. Clinical, cosmetic and investigational dermatology, 3, 135–142. https://doi.org/10.2147/CCID.S9042
  2. Kaminaka, C., Uede, M., Matsunaka, H., Furukawa, F. and Yamomoto, Y. (2014), Clinical Evaluation of Glycolic Acid Chemical Peeling in Patients with Acne Vulgaris: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled, Split-Face Comparative Study. Dermatol Surg, 40: 314-322. https://doi.org/10.1111/dsu.12417
  3. Wilma Bergfeld, Rebecca Tung, Allison Vidimos, Latha Vellanki, Berna Rernzi, Ursula Stanton-Hicks, Improving the cosmetic appearance of photoaged skin with glycolic acid, Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, Volume 36, Issue 6, 1997, Pages 1011-1013, ISSN 0190-9622, https://doi.org/10.1016/S0190-9622(97)80290-3. (https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0190962297802903)
  4. Yoko Funasaka, Hirofumi Sato, Akiko Usuki, Akiko Ohashi, Hisami Kotoya, Kukizo Miyamoto, Greg G. Hillebrand, Masamitsu Ichihashi, The efficacy of glycolic acid for treating wrinkles: analysis using newly developed facial imaging systems equipped with fluorescent illumination, Journal of Dermatological Science, Volume 27, Supplement 1, 2001, Pages 53-59, ISSN 0923-1811, https://doi.org/10.1016/S0923-1811(01)00119-0. (https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0923181101001190)
  5. Acne.org Products – Cleanser, Benzoyl Peroxide, Moisturizer & More.
  6. Alam, M. (2003). Glycolic Acid Peels. Archives of Dermatology, 139(9).
  7. Behm, B., Kemper, M., Babilas, P., Abels, C. and Schreml, S. (2015). Impact of a Glycolic Acid-Containing pH 4 Water-in-Oil Emulsion on Skin pH. Skin Pharmacology and Physiology, 28(6), pp.290-295. [Source]
  8. donell® | The Science of Skin Care.
  9. Epicuren Discovery – Skin Care Products.
  10. Emedicine.medscape.com. (2016). Keratosis Pilaris Treatment & Management: Medical Care, Surgical Care, Consultations. [Source]
  11. Evaluation and treatment of the Aging Face. (1996). Dermatologic Surgery, 22(5), pp.489-90. [Source]
  12. Glytone-usa.com. Glytone USA.
  13. Neoteric Cosmetics – Proven Skin & Hair Care Products.
  14. Physician Grade Anti-Aging Skin Care – NeoStrata.
  15. Shop Paula’s Choice | Paula’s Choice.
  16. The Art of Skin Perfection – Perfect Image.
  17. Topix Pharmaceuticals, Inc. | Medical Grade Skin Care Solutions Dispensed by Physicians.
  18. WOLF, B., PASTER, A. and LEVY, S. (1996). An Alpha Hydroxy Acid Derivative Suitable for Sensitive Skin. Dermatologic Surgery, 22(5), pp.469-473. [Source]

Top 16 Best Glycolic Acid Lotions & Creams for the Face & Body

The ultimate list of the best Glycolic Acid Lotions and Creams for the face & body, ranging from 5% to 15% concentrations. Plus our recommended glycolic acid skincare routine!

Michelle Evans

Summary

The list is divided into two: glycolic face creams & glycolic body lotions. Products are arranged from the mildest or lowest concentration to the highest.

We’ve chosen the best glycolic acid creams and lotions for every available % concentration based on our analysis, specifications, value for money, and consumer reviews.

The list starts with face creams and finishes with body lotions. The strength of glycolic acid also goes up as it goes on.
If this is your first time incorporating acids in your regime, it’s best to start with a low percentage and work your way up.

5
Photo of author

Michelle Evans

Michelle Evans is an esthetician specializing in skincare and hair removal. Her battle with acne throughout her 20's has fueled a lifelong passion for health & beauty. “Knowledge is a gift and you have the opportunity to educate and empower with it.” Michelle believes that everyone should be able to look and feel their best.