Article image

Glycolic Acid vs. Lactic Acid

Exfoliation is a critical part of your skincare routine. It gets rid of the dead skin and clears the way for the new skin beneath to shine. Regular exfoliation can reduce bumpy or textured skin and leave what's left feeling smooth and soft. 

To exfoliate, you can use chemicals to peel off dead skin. Two of the most common chemical exfoliants are glycolic and lactic acids.

What Is Glycolic Acid? 

Scientists devolve glycolic acid from sugar cane — the root "gluc" refers to sugar. Glycolic acid is a fruit-derived alpha hydroxy acid with no color or odor. It becomes soluble in water and is widely used in skincare products. 

What Is Lactic Acid? 

Lactic acid is another type of alpha hydroxy acid that comes from milk. It can make skin look firmer and decrease the appearance of lines and wrinkles. 

The Difference Between Lactic Acid and Glycolic Acid

Lactic acid and glycolic acid have a lot in common: 

  • Both are organic. 
  • They can break down the material that keeps cells together. 
  • They reduce the bumpiness by decreasing dead skin cells. 
  • They help hydrate the skin by attracting moisture. 

Along with their commonalities, both acids treat your skin in unique ways.

You should use glycolic acid if your skin has sustained damage from the sun. Because glycolic acid is such a small alpha hydroxy acid, it can get deeper into the skin, reaching the smallest parts of cells. It also increases collagen production, which firms the skin and wards off signs of aging. Glycolic acid can thin skin when you first start using it. Over time, your skin will become thicker and better able to keep sun damage away. 

Lactic acid works better on sensitive skin because it provides a more gentle experience. Glycolic acid can exacerbate the effects of sensitive skin, but lactic acid treats it with care. It offers greater hydration and won't thin out the skin as glycolic acid initially does. 

Find Skincare Products With Glycolic or Lactic Acid

Replenix Glycolic Acid 20% Resurfacing Peel

Medature Gentle Makeover Peel +

SkinCeuticals Glycolic Renewal Cleanser Gel

ClarityRx Restore It 7.5% Glycolic Exfoliator

Glytone Enhance Brightening Cleansing Powder

Whatever acid you decide will be most effective for your skincare needs, you can find quality formulas from Exclusive Beauty Club. We have a range of products available to suit all skin types. Browse our selection of skincare products that are medical grade and recommended by professionals.