Derms Always Recommend This Serum for Pigmentation, Dryness, Acne, and Wrinkles

November 14, 2021 at 06:30AM

If having a glowing, youthful complexion with improved fine lines, reduced discolouration, and a smoother texture is way up there on your priority list, you’ve come to the right place. 

In case you didn’t know already, there’s a magical skincare ingredient out there that can do all that and then some. Seem too good to be true? According to dermatologists, it’s not. This otherworldly ingredient, otherwise known as glycolic acid, is a chemical exfoliant AHA (alpha-hydroxy acid) that works almost as well as getting a professional facial. “It’s a substance derived from sugar cane and is known for its exfoliating benefits,” explains Marisa Garshick, a board-certified dermatologist. “It helps to get rid of dead skin cells and therefore brightens the skin."  

It also works even better when paired with certain other ingredients. "It can work well with niacinamide, which is soothing on the skin and helps to reduce sensitivity and irritation," Garshick says. "Similarly, it pairs well with hyaluronic acid to help boost moisture and reduce any potential dryness or irritation.” Obviously, this all sounds good and dandy, but these ingredient pairings are especially key if you have sensitive skin. Chemical exfoliants can be drying and potentially irritating if you aren’t used to them yet, so when selecting the right glycolic acid product for you, you’ll want to make sure it has another moisturising agent in it.

There are so many ways to incorporate this super-effective ingredient into your routine, but we believe wholeheartedly in the power of a good serum. It’s the best way to get the most bang for your buck when it comes to skincare products. If you’re ready to take the plunge, find the best glycolic acid serums below.

This serum contains a powerful blend of both alpha-hydroxy acids (including glycolic) and beta-hydroxy acid, salicylic acid, to boost glow and unclog pores at the same time. Not only does it leave your skin glowing and radiant, but pores are also left looking refined and skin smoother.

While serums that champion one single ingredient can often feel a little daunting, this one from Typology really does work well if you use it correctly. We recommend applying it every three nights as a maximum, straight after cleansing. You’ll wake up with brighter, smoother skin.

If you’re a fan of Pixi Glow Tonic but want something a little less intense, this serum is for you. The 10% glycolic acid formula works to exfoliate skin overnight, leaving it looks revitalised, plump and more even in tone come morning.

Drunk Elephant’s lightweight serum is a bedtime go-to for Garshick because it blends glycolic, tartaric, lactic, citric, and salicylic acid. “It combines both benefits of alpha-hydroxy acids and beta-hydroxy acids to help brighten the skin and reduce dullness while also reducing oil.”

If any brand is going to get a glycolic serum right it’s Paula’s Choice. Containing a potent blend of AHAs (including glycolic, lactic and malic) with a low percentage salicylic acid, this stuff attacks skin exfoliation from all angles, leaving your complexion smooth and radiant beyond compare. Plus, it’s pH-balanced so as not to disrupt your skin’s natural defence barrier too severely.

It would almost be a crime to leave this cult-favourite product off the list. This glycolic acid treatment penetrates deeply into pores to remove congestion and contains other exfoliating ingredients like potassium lactate to really boost up your radiance levels. 

For a dark-spot corrector that works lightning fast, try this gem from Murad. It contains glycolic acid, resorcinol, and tranexamic acid to help minimise hyperpigmentation and increase the removal of dull surface cells.

In addition to glycolic acid, this overnight treatment from SkinCeuticals incorporates 2% phytic acid to further help brighten the skin. It’s also a great complement to a chemical peel to pre-condition the skin.

This serum from Alpha-H is another great option for those with sensitive skin because it contains a lower percentage of glycolic acid (5%). Licorice root and other silk proteins also add extra hydration and antioxidants and help prevent moisture loss. 

Few glycolic acid products are quite as effective as those found in Kate Somerville’s ExfoliKate range. This leave-on treatment blends AHAs (including glycolic acid) with fruit enzymes to supercharge exfoliation, while white tea extract and honey soothe any potential flare ups. Unlike some of the more intensive products in the range, this one is suitable for slightly more sensitive skin types.

Featuring 10% glycolic acid to deeply exfoliate and aloe to soothe, these ampoules contains a supercharged glycolic serum designed to be used as a seven-day boost for dull skin—and they really work. Plus, they won’t cost you a fortune, either.

This unique little set comes with a moisturiser and glycolic acid activator. Using the glycolic acid activator beforehand, you’ll create a smooth, freshly exfoliated canvas for the rest of your nightly routine.

Next up, I speak to dermatologists every day—these are the brands they always recommend.

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Author Shawna Hudson | Whowhatwear
Selected by CWC

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