Glycolic acid is proven to be effective against acne and signs of aging. It gently exfoliates by dissolving the bonds between dead skin cells and unclogs pores. At the same time, it decongests dull skin, leaving it brighter and clearer.
Over time, the best glycolic acid face wash can make an astonishing improvement in your complexion. Many glycolic acid cleansers are mild enough to use every day, both morning and night. Check out our top picks below and you’ll see what we mean:
|The best glycolic acid face washes||Why we love them|
|ACURE Resurfacing Glycolic + Unicorn Root Cleanser|
|Replenix Gly-Sal 5-2 Deep Pore Acne Cleanser|
|L'Oreal Paris Skincare Revitalift Derm Intensives Gel Cleanser|
|DERMA E Anti-Wrinkle Cleanser|
|InstaNatural Glycolic Facial Cleanser|
|TOUCH 10% Glycolic Acid Face Wash|
|Dr Song Glycolic Acid Face Wash|
Before we get to the detailed face wash reviews, here’s a little more information for the curious.
Table of Contents
- Why is a glycolic acid face wash good for the skin?
- How to choose the best glycolic acid face wash
- Best Glycolic Acid Face Wash in 2021
Why is a glycolic acid face wash good for the skin?
Glycolic acid comes from sugar cane, but it can also be synthesized in a lab (1). It’s an alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) that penetrates easily into the skin, which is why dermatologists use it for chemical peels. The acid loosens dead skin, one of the culprits of clogged pores. That’s why it helps clear up acne.
Also, by getting rid of dead cells, glycolic acid leaves the complexion softer and more radiant. The exfoliation gradually fades hyperpigmentation from acne scars and age spots. It helps with melasma from pregnancy, too.
Over time, using a glycolic acid face wash keeps the skin clear and even-toned. Plus, it stimulates collagen production, which smooths fine lines. Then, your smoother, fresher skin becomes a better canvas for makeup as well.
How to choose the best glycolic acid face wash
A quick search reveals that there are dozens of glycolic acid cleansers available. Experts say that face washes with a 10% concentration of glycolic acid provide the best benefits. We selected a few of those for our reviews.
But the results also depend on your skin type and the rest of the formula. A combination glycolic acid/salicylic acid cleanser is potent against acne because it exfoliates and removes excess oil. We’ve included two of those in our reviews as well.
If you’re concerned about sensitive skin, it might be best to start with a lower concentration of glycolic acid and work your way up.
Best Glycolic Acid Face Wash in 2021
ACURE Resurfacing Glycolic + Unicorn Root Cleanser
It sounds like a magical potion and it comes in a sparkly tube. What did you expect from a cleanser with rose quartz, amethyst, and true unicorn root?
But it’s not all fun and games and marketing. There are real benefits to using it. It has a mild concentration of glycolic acid that leaves the skin clean without stripping it dry. Moreover, it’s gentle enough to use every day and promises to leave your complexion dewy fresh each time appreciate.
It starts out creamy but turns to foam on wet skin and lathers away debris. At the same time, jojoba, glycerin, and shea butter keep the skin hydrated and comfortable.
We also like that it’s vegan and free of parabens, sulfates, and petrolatum.
- Mild glycolic acid cleanser that moisturizes while it exfoliates
- Contains exotic ingredients like unicorn root, rose quartz, amethyst, and shea butter
- Pleasant to use with a creamy texture that turns to foam
- Vegan and has no parabens, sulfates, or petrolatum
- Not as potent as other options
Replenix Gly-Sal 5-2 Deep Pore Acne Cleanser
What about a glycolic acid face wash for acne? You’ve heard about using salicylic acid to clear up pimples. That’s because it dissolves oil and reduces inflammation. Well, here it is in combination with glycolic acid. This formula has 5% glycolic acid and 2% salicylic acid for sensitive skin. You can also get it in a 10% glycolic acid, 2% salicylic acid version.
The trick is to start using it only once a day until the skin adjusts. This may take a couple of weeks, and your skin may purge. This means you may have an increase in acne for a little while. If you don’t notice any increased sensitivity or irritation, you can switch to washing twice a day with it.
The cleanser also has green tea extract, an antioxidant-rich ingredient that soothes the skin and promotes healing.
Of course, there are the usual surfactants to lift away grime, but no sulfates, oil, or parabens.
Unfortunately, the face wash contains an artificial fragrance and artificial colors. However, this brand has been producing pharmaceutical-grade products for more than three decades and we’d like to think they know their stuff.
Users say it has a thick texture and smells a bit like baby shampoo. Just a little dab will cleanse the entire face.
- Designed by a dermatologist-recommended brand to treat acne on sensitive skin
- Combines salicylic acid with glycolic acid for maximum benefits
- Also available in a stronger concentration
- Contains no sulfates, oil, or parabens
- Not everyone loves the scent
L’Oreal Paris Skincare Revitalift Derm Intensives Gel Cleanser
Here’s another salicylic and glycolic acid face wash, but this one you can find in a drugstore. It’s inexpensive and popular, especially for those with mature skin. It works well for acne-prone skin, too.
If you’re tired of dull skin and large pores, this cleanser should work wonders. We were astonished by how many reviewers were thrilled with the results.
It features 3.5% glycolic acid and an unspecified amount of salicylic acid. (No worries, the maximum concentration of that for over-the-counter products is 2%.) Plus, there are aloe and moisturizers to prevent the cleanser from stripping the skin.
The formula gradually resurfaces the face, leaving it brighter and smoother with regular use. What’s more, it’s fragrance-free and has no parabens, oil, or allergens.
- 5% glycolic acid plus salicylic acid to resurface the complexion
- Targets large pores and dull, congested skin
- Free of artificial fragrances, parabens, oil, and allergens
- Effective yet inexpensive, a good starter product to try out chemical exfoliation
- It’s often marketed for mature skin, but can also help acne-prone complexions
DERMA E Anti-Wrinkle Cleanser
This brand placed its first product in a health food store in Southern California. Word spread fast, and as their clientele grew, so did their product lineup. But even as they’ve expanded, they’ve stuck to their ideals. They believe in clean beauty and refuse to use more than twenty-seven hundred toxic ingredients including parabens, synthetic fragrances, and formaldehyde donors. There aren’t even sulfates in this face wash even though the formula was developed for combination and oily complexions.
Therefore, if you have sensitive skin or allergies, we recommend you start right here. Try their glycolic acid cleanser as it exfoliates without causing redness or dryness. You’ll feel the difference as your face will be very clean but not dehydrated.
Besides glycolic acid, the face wash has papaya fruit and vitamin A (the precursor to retinol) to resurface the skin.
- From a clean beauty brand; free from sulfates, parabens, synthetic fragrances, and formaldehyde releasers
- Cleanses thoroughly without causing irritation
- Enriched with antioxidants from papaya fruit and vitamin A
- Please let us know if you find any cons
InstaNatural Glycolic Facial Cleanser
Wouldn’t it be nice if those blackheads would just go away? Try this glycolic acid cleanser to get rid of them. It helps unclog pores, reduce blemishes, and minimize redness, leaving the complexion radiant.
Furthermore, it’s helpful for aging skin. It resurfaces flaky patches and refreshes dry skin while it smooths lines and fades dark spots.
What’s more, it’s overflowing with natural ingredients. There are no sulfates, parabens, or obnoxious chemicals here. Instead, there are gentle coconut-based cleansers and moisturizers, as well as healing botanicals. The label reads like a recipe for healthy skin, with highlights like Centella asiatica, meadowfoam seed oil, cucumber, green tea, and chamomile. The eucalyptus scent is all-natural, too.
Users say that it helps with everything from adult acne to uneven skin tone and fine lines. They’re pleased that it doesn’t dry out the skin or cause irritation. Nevertheless, some reviewers felt a tingle when they used it. This is a normal reaction to glycolic acid.
- Crammed with healing botanicals like Centella asiatica and green tea
- Natural formula with coconut-based cleansers and no sulfates or parabens
- Banishes blemishes and brightens skin tone while smoothing and firming texture
- Not everyone appreciates the eucalyptus scent
TOUCH 10% Glycolic Acid Face Wash
Ask a dermatologist which glycolic acid face wash is best, and they may mention a brand name. But if you pin them down for specifics, you’ll discover that a 10% concentration with a low pH of 3.5 is the ideal formulation. This cleanser is a prime example.
The TOUCH face wash meets those requirements and more. For example, it doesn’t just cover the basics, but it also comes with a satisfaction guarantee. Try it, and if you’re not pleased with the results, they offer a full refund.
Furthermore, this cleanser starts out on the right foot. It’s manufactured in the USA in an FDA-inspected facility. It’s free from sulfates, parabens, artificial colors, or drying alcohols. Yes, it has a fragrance, but it’s phthalate-free.
The ingredients boost the skin’s health with aloe juice, tea leaf extract, and chamomile. Meanwhile, the cleanser foams away makeup, grime, and dead skin whether you use just your hands or a sonic brush. Regular use will leave the skin glowing and blemish-free.
It’s mild enough for most people to use daily. However, if you have sensitive skin, try using it every other day or twice a week. Just a single squirt will get the job done.
- Has the ideal formula with 10% glycolic acid and a low 3.5 pH
- Sulfate-free, with no drying alcohol, dyes, or parabens
- Infused with natural nutrients from aloe, chamomile, and green tea
- Very effective, yet mild enough for most people to use every day
- Has an artificial fragrance, but it’s phthalate-free
Dr Song Glycolic Acid Face Wash
Which is the best Korean glycolic acid face wash? We’re happy with Dr Song’s cleanser as it has a 10% concentration and respects the skin’s pH.
The gel texture feels soothing, which is not surprising as it’s formulated to protect sensitive skin. It sweeps away makeup and debris while clarifying the complexion. Moreover, it moisturizes to prevent dryness and irritation.
Happily, the formula has no sulfates, artificial colors, or parabens. It also comes with a satisfaction guarantee.
- 10% concentration of glycolic acid in a pH-balanced formula
- Moisturizes and calms the skin with antioxidants
- Removes makeup and exfoliates without causing dryness
- Has an unusual scent
We’re glad you stopped by to see our glycolic acid face wash reviews. Did we hope you find what you need? If so, feel free to leave us your feedback below.
1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glycolic_acid accessed May 26, 2021