Best Glycolic Acid/AHA Creams for Smooth & Radiant Complexion

If you’ve never tried glycolic acid, get your hands on the best glycolic acid cream to get started at the earliest! Great for numerous types of skin problems, glycolic acid is a type of alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA) that is especially good for smoothing out fine lines and correcting dullness and uneven skin texture.
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Unlike other types of acids, glycolic acid has a smaller molecular structure and, therefore, it penetrates the skin easier and works more efficiently than other acids, such as lactic acid and citric acid.

Above all else, glycolic acid is an exfoliant that gets rid of dead skin cells so that newer, brighter skin can appear. It also stimulates the production of collagen and makes fine lines and wrinkles appear much less noticeable. It is exactly what you need for younger and brighter-looking skin.

We’ve listed below some of the best glycolic acid creams for your face and neck that deliver long-term results.

Best Overall: Glytone Rejuvenating Cream with Glycolic Acid

Glytone Rejuvenating Cream with Glycolic Acid

This rejuvenating skin cream is a moisturizer and exfoliant in one. It is rich and creamy and made for normal to dry skin, as well as all different skin tones. Not only does it make your skin look much better, but it will feel much better as well.

Glytone Rejuvenating Cream is made with glycolic acid and emollients that keep the skin nice and soft, and you use it twice a day to get the best results. It is also easy to apply and non-greasy, so it feels great as you’re applying it.

This glycolic acid cream is available in three strengths, 20% (powerful), 15% (mid-strength), and 10% (gentle, suitable for people with sensitive skin or first time users).

Pros:

  • Improves fine lines, wrinkles, skin texture, pigmentation, and photodamage
  • Rich, creamy texture that feels good on your skin
  • Made for normal to dry skin
  • Made for all skin tones
  • Designed for the face and neck
  • A little goes a long way
  • Dermatologist-approved

Cons:

  • Some complaints about it making the skin dry

Best High Quality: Glycolix Elite Glycolic Acid Facial Cream

Glycolix Elite Glycolic Acid Facial Cream

Made to take care of discoloration and touted as a resurfacing cream, this high-quality product reduces the appearance of lines and wrinkles, is pH-balanced, and hydrates the skin so that it stays supple.

Glycolix Elite Glycolic Acid Facial Creamis easy to use and non-greasy, and because it is unscented, there aren’t any harsh ingredients to cause you any irritation or redness. With glycolic acid, green tea, and vitamins A, C, and E, it is a soothing cream that produces both a great feel and a great look for your face.

This glycolic acid cream is available in three strengths, 20%, 15%, and 10%.

Pros:

  • Contains crystalline Glycolic Acid, the most effective medical-grade form of glycolic acid
  • Great for fine lines and wrinkles, discoloration, large pores, and uneven skin texture and tone
  • Hydrates the skin so it stays supple
  • Replenix provides very reasonably priced,medical-grade skincare products
  • Dermatologist-approved
  • Paraben-free

Cons:

  • Some complaints about it not working on wrinkles

Best for All Skin Types: NEOSTRATA Resurface GLYCOLIC RENEWAL Smoothing Cream

NEOSTRATA Resurface GLYCOLIC RENEWAL Smoothing Cream

Formulated with 10% glycolic acid and citric acid, NEOSTRATA Smoothing Creamis a rejuvenating cream that improves the texture of your skin and gives you back a more youthful appearance, working to exfoliate the skin so that newer and brighter skin is in its place.

This cream contains shea butter and glycerin, so it does a great job of getting your face and neck smooth and soft. You use it twice a day after you cleanse the skin, and it is made for all skin types, especially normal to oily skin types.

Pros:

  • Contains 10% glycolic acid and citric acid
  • Plumps, smooths, and softens the skin
  • Contains shea butter and glycerin for keeping the skin supple
  • Non-greasy and easy to use
  • Dermatologist-approved
  • Designed for the face and neck

Cons:

  • Some complaints that it makes the skin tingle

Best for Dull Skin: Kate Somerville ExfoliKate Glow Moisturizer

Kate Somerville ExfoliKate Glow Moisturizer
This clinically-provencreamy lotion makes your skin so clear it glows. You use it twice a day on clean skin, and it contains both glycolic and lactic acids to get rid of dullness and uneven skin tone.
Kate Somerville ExfoliKate Glow Moisturizer also contains papaya, pineapple, and pumpkin enzymes and gets rid of fine lines and wrinkles. It feels good on your skin and absorbs quickly so there’s never a greasy feel to it.

Pros:

  • Contains both glycolic and lactic acids
  • Contains enzymes for great results
  • Gets rid of dullness and uneven skin tones
  • Helps smooth out fine lines and wrinkles
  • Designed for the face and neck
  • Good for all skin types, even sensitive skin
  • Certified cruelty-free
  • Phthalate and Sulfate free

Cons:

  • Some claim the lotion was too watery
  • Some complaints about the price

Best for Dry Skin: Mario Badescu Glycolic Skin Renewal Complex

Mario Badescu Glycolic Skin Renewal Complex

This is an intense moisturizing cream that is perfect for combination or dry skin. It brightens up dull-looking skin and smooths out rough skin so that your skin is lighter, brighter, and much softer.

Mario Badescu Glycolic Skin Renewal Complex contains papaya and glycolic acid plus a few vitamins to make skin extra smooth. All you have to do to get these great results is use it twice a day after you clean your skin.

Pros:

  • Contains vitamins and papaya to smooth the skin
  • Rejuvenates and plumps up the skin
  • Brightens up dull-looking skin
  • Designed for the face and neck
  • Good for both combination and dry skin

Cons:

  • Some claim it makes their face break out
  • Not suitable for sensitive skin

Best Lightweight Formula: Murad Hydration Hydro-Dynamic Quenching Essence

Murad Hydration Hydro-Dynamic Quenching Essence

One of the biggest advantages of this lotion is that it enhances the skin’s ability to attract and retain water, which means your skin will get the hydration it needs to look soft, supple, and plump.

Murad Hydration Essence is made without phthalates, parabens, sulfates, and gluten, so all you get is a rich glycolic moisturizer that brightens and smooths the skin so it looks perfect every day.

In addition to glycolic acid, this lightweight moisturizer also contains Mexican Blue Agave Yeast Extract that helps improve skin elasticity, and a botanical blend that helps combat dryness and flakiness.

Pros:

  • Enhances the skin’s ability to attract moisture
  • Made without any harmful ingredients
  • Designed for the face and neck
  • Lightweight and quickly absorbing formula
  • Brightens and smooths the skin

Cons:

  • Some complaints about the price
  • Some claim the pump on the bottle was defective

What Does a Glycolic Acid Cream Do?

Glycolic acid creams are exfoliants that remove dead skin cells from the skin so that newer and brighter skin will appear.

For dull skin and uneven skin tone, glycolic acid works wonders. When combined with other types of acid, these creams can reduce the look of fine lines and wrinkles, rough spots, and even dark spots.

How to Use a Glycolic Acid Cream

While some glycolic acid creams are made to be used once a day, the majority of them require you to use them twice a day.

You’ll have to cleanse the skin first because the product has to be applied to clean skin. Since the molecules in glycolic acid are super small, the cream will absorb quickly and should instantly give your skin a smoother and brighter look. Always follow the directions on the package of the product.

Frequently Asked Questions

FAQ - Best Glycolic Acid AHA Creams

Q: Which is better: retinol or glycolic acid?

Q: Can I use glycolic acid with retinol?

A: Yes and no. If you use these two products, it is best to use them on alternate days so that you don’t put your skin through too much.

Q: Can I use glycolic acid with vitamin C?

Q: Do you have to use sunscreen with AHA?

A: It is recommended that you use sunscreen with any AHA product, including glycolic acid, simply because a good exfoliant can sometimes make the skin extra sensitive to sunlight.

Conclusion

Glycolic acid/AHA creams can work wonders for dull, lifeless skin. They are easy to use and contain soothing ingredients so the skin both looks good and feels good.

While they are exfoliators above all else, they are usually combined with other ingredients to make your skin lighter, brighter, less dull, and much smoother.

Judy Rose

Hi, it’s Judy!

I’m a passionate skincare specialist and writer. I have more than 7 years of experience as a beauty, fashion, and lifestyle writer and editor, and I’m extremely passionate about what I do.