Glycolic acid is an alpha hydroxy acid (AHA). AHAs are water soluble acids that help exfoliate the skin, reducing the appearance of fine lines, acne scars and uneven skin tone.
Glycolic acid in particular is derived from sugar cane making it ideal for dissolving dead skin cells around the surface of the skin. In addition to this, glycolic acid can help stimulate collagen production which helps keep your skin looking plump and youthful.
While glycolic acid can be found in many skincare products, it has traditionally been used as a chemical peel administered by a dermatologist. However, there are many at-home options available now, including face washes and toners that contain glycolic acid. The best drugstore glycolic peels are ones that use a high percentage of the ingredient to not only treat acne but also improve skin tone and texture.
List of Best Drugstore Glycolic Peel
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This two-step peel set works to treat a dry, aging complexion by removing the layer of dead skin cells in order to expose brighter, more vibrant skin underneath. This set contains both a scrub and a serum to reveal and nourish healthier skin, and is infused with Vitamin C which has been proven to help minimize signs of aging.
-Removes dead skin cells
-Tightens and brightens
-Cleanses skin of dirt and impurities
-Great on dry and combination skin
“I have been using this duo for a few years. Absolutely love the instant results of glowing soft skin! I normally use it every other week, but with it being so hard to find, I have scaled back to once a month. When I do find it, I buy it. Please don’t discontinue this item, EVER!” –Bipsbrat
What It Does
This vegan facial peel is perfect for sensitive skin that needs a boost. The gentle solution works to exfoliate the skin overnight, and with a blend of lactic and glycolic acid, it is much less harsh than other chemical peels on the market. If you have dry or acne-prone skin, this is the peel for you.
-Works to reveal brighter, exfoliated skin overnight
-Gentle on sensitive skin
-Calming and hydrating
“My husband and I have both tried this and are fans. It goes on smooth, doesn’t have an irritating scent, and makes our skin glow the next morning. I’ll definitely continue to rotate this in my weekly routine.”
What It Does
A dermatologist approved formula, this peel minimizes dark spots and wrinkles for younger looking skin after continued use. Glycolic acid removes dead skin cells from the surface of your complexion, and with aloe, the serum is much less abrasive on the skin than other products.
-Visibly reduces dark spots and wrinkles
-Unclogs pores and brightens overall appearance
-Works to address several signs of aging, even on sensitive skin
“I’m a fair skinned young at heart woman in my early 50s. You know those unsightly, freckly blotches that come up? This product erases them. I have found my new holy Grail and couldn’t be happier – after just a week. I’m already ordering a new bottle to have on hand. I do use it on my décolletage and hands as well. Thank you, L’Oréal!”
What It Does
The Ordinary has been known for their high quality, affordable skincare products and this peel is no exception. Formulated to use in the evening twice a week, this peel will cleanse your skin of imperfections, revealing a glowing base beneath. If you have acne-prone skin or scarring, this product will help to minimize the appearance of such imperfections over time.
-Vitamin C for anti-aging
-Great for sensitive skin
-Immediately works to remove dead skin from the surface
-Minimizes signs of aging
“This is the third week and I have noticed a huge diminishing in my uneven skin tone and acne scarring. I look younger and my skin glows after. It doesn’t burn like stronger peels and my skin only slightly reddens after. I suffered from adult acne for a couple years. Since I started using the routine mentioned above, along with spironolactone, my skin has improved SO much. I often go without makeup now.” –Alexandra Snyder