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8 best glycolic acid face washes for clear skin in 2023

Glycolic acid is an alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA) that you can find in most skincare products these days, even cleansers. However, if you are using a glycolic acid face wash or any other product with the ingredient for the first time, it might initially irritate your skin. This is because the ingredient is an active. If the reactions are consistent and harsh, stop using the product immediately and consult a physician.

Having said that, glycolic acid does not adversely impact your skin in most cases. It actually comes with a slew of benefits. Let’s get to know about them.

Benefits of using a glycolic acid cleanser

Glycolic acid peels off the top layer of skin to smoothen wrinkles, fine lines and dark spots. Well, it’s not as harsh as it sounds. What it does is, it removes dead cells to bring out the skin’s natural glow and improve its texture. Glycolic acid is also effective when it comes to lightening scars.

It also seeps deep into your pores to pull out dirt and grime, which reduces the chances of developing acne, blackheads, bumps and blemishes on your skin. In short, glycolic acid improves the texture of your skin, making it smooth and brightening your complexion.

However, when add glycolic acid face wash to your skincare regime, don’t forget to check the other ingredients in it. The best glycolic acid cleansers often contain herbal extracts and cooling ingredients, such as aloe vera, cucumber and green tea, that can further calm your skin and retain moisture. Dermatologists like Dr. Shereene Idriss recommend that you leave the glycolic acid cleanser on your face for 30 seconds after lathering to let the actives do the job, instead of just simply washing them away.

Additionally, glycolic acid, when paired with salicylic acid, imparts excellent results when it comes to depuffing dead skin cells and decongesting pores. You can opt for a salicylic acid and glycolic acid face wash such as the Bioderma Sebium Actif Intense Purifying Foaming Gel Cleanser (Buy it for SGD 12.50 on lookfantastic) to gently exfoliate your skin.

Who should use a glycolic acid cleanser?

Glycolic acid cleaners help exfoliate the top layer of the skin, so people suffering from acne, dark skin patches and ageing skin should use products infused with this ingredient.

(Hero and featured image credit: Karen Moskowitz/Getty Images)

Best glycolic acid cleansers to buy in 2023:

SGD 18.50

The NIP+FAB Glycolic Fix Cleanser is a foaming face wash containing a powerful blend of glycolic acid and apple amino acids. The cleanser not only lifts away impurities and makeup but also performs gentle exfoliation that promotes renewed and youthful skin. It also contains olive oil that ensures your skin is hydrated after washing. If you are struggling with the fine lines and wrinkes, this glycolic acid facewash is for you.

Image: Courtesy lookfantastic

SGD 21.50

Equipped with AHA glycolic acid and BHA salicylic acid this cleanser from Bioderma helps clarify the skin through its mild exfoliation properties. The face wash is in a gel-to-foam formula that does not dry your skin and effectively lifts away impurities from pores. An excellent product to kick start your skin care routine, it can be used both morning and night.

Image: Courtesy lookfantastic

SGD 28

For a squeaky clean wash without stripping away your skin’s moisture, this gel formula, which heroes glycolic acid, has been proven to retexturise and smoothen the skin. Marshmallow extract, chamomile, and sage have also been included to help balance and smooth the skin while fighting inflammation.

SGD 54

This gentle blend of plant-derived lactic acid and glycolic acid gently exfoliates and hydrates to reveal smoother, brighter skin over time by removing dead surface skin cells. Added ingredients such as antioxidant-rich blueberry extract and hyaluronic acid help keep the skin hydrated and plump.

SGD 10.50

The Skin Authority Daily Cleanser contains sugarcane extracted glycolic acid that promotes skin brightness by exfoliating dead skin build-up. A vegan face wash, it re-texturises the skin and helps combat dryness and flakiness.

Image: Courtesy lookfantastic

SGD 64.50

Leverage the goodness of vitamin C and glycolic acid together with the Rodial Vitamin C Brightening Cleanser. Formulated with non-abrasive exfoliants such as fruit AHAs and glycolic and lactic acids, this face wash helps in minimising the appearance of pores and energies your skin’s complexion. On the other hand vitamin C provides a brightening effect on your skin making it youthful and supple.

Image: Courtesy lookfantastic

SGD 12

A refreshing formula laden with the benefits of glycolic acid, the Neutrogena Clear and Defend Plus Facial Wash is a great choice to cleanse and soothe your skin. Glycolic acid exfoliates along with minimising the appearance of uneven skin tone due to blemishes. On the other hand, salicylic acid aids in controlling excess sebum. Get a revitalised and balanced looking complexion with this face wash from Neutorgena.

Image: Courtesy lookfantastic

SGD 63

This one’s a bit of a splurge, but we guarantee it’s well worth your investment. Developed by dermatologists, this glycolic acid cleanser is one of the best in the market today, combining not only a blend of different exfoliants (both chemical and physical, and glycolic acid included, of course) but also hydrating ingredients to keep skin glowing.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Question: Can I use glycolic acid daily?

Answer: Yes, you can use it every day. However, if you’re a beginner, start with a formula that has a low concentration of the active and gradually work it up once your skin is accustomed to the product.

Question: Is glycolic acid good for acne?

Answer: With the help of its antioxidant and antibacterial properties, glycolic acid helps treat acne flare-outs and similar skin issues.

Question: Are there any side effects of using glycolic acid?

Answer: If your skin is too sensitive or dry, you might experience itching or redness after applying glycolic acid. It is recommended that you consult a dermatologist before purchasing a glycolic acid-infused product. Also, do a patch test to check how your skin reacts to it.

Question: Can I use glycolic acid with vitamin C?

Answer: Yes, combining vitamin C with glycolic acid can benefit your skin. Glycolic acid clears dull surface cells allowing better penetration of vitamin C. This accelerates cell renewal and gives you smooth and glowing skin.

Question: Who should use glycolic acid?

Answer: Glycolic acid is best for acne-prone skin. You can also use it to reduce signs of premature ageing and revive dull skin.

8 best glycolic acid face washes for clear skin in 2023

An Anthropology graduate, Nikita started her journey in writing and editing while she was still a student. She has worked with various agencies and brands, creating content in lifestyle, entertainment, travel and wellness space. Nikita aspires to travel the world and explore food, culture and more while penning it all down to share with the world.

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