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Glycolic Acid vs. Salicylic Acid

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Glycolic Acid vs. Salicylic Acid

Glycolic Acid vs. Salicylic Acid

For various skin issues, Glycolic Acid vs. Salicylic Acid qualities and differences become complicated, skincare solutions often include glycolic acid and salicylic acid, two types of alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs). Nevertheless, their chemical compositions, skin-acting mechanisms, and optimal applications for particular skin issues are distinct.

One of the AHAs made from sugarcane is glycolic acid, which is soluble in water. Because of its microscopic molecular size, it can reach deep layers of skin.

Glycolic acid is effective because it dissolves, “Enhancing the connections between dead skin cells, thus making them easier to remove.” to exfoliate and expose younger, healthier skin underneath. Problems including hyperpigmentation, rough skin texture, and wrinkles are ideal candidates for this treatment.

Differences Between Alpha- and Beta-Hydroxy Acids

Glycolic Acid vs. Salicylic Acid

Exfoliating acids like beta-hydroxy (BHAs) and alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) are ubiquitous in skin care products. Despite their similarities, there are a few key distinctions between the two.

Acids hydrolyzable in water, AHAs originate from fruits, milk, and sugar. Glycolic acid (from sugarcane), lactic acid (from milk), and mandelic acid (from bitter almonds) are three prevalent AHAs.

Active hydroxy acids (AHAs) lighten and smooth out the skin by breaking the bonds that hold dead skin cells to the skin’s surface. Many skin issues, such as hyperpigmentation, fine wrinkles, and uneven texture, can be effectively treated with AHAs.

In contrast, salicylic acid is sourced from willow bark and is the source of BHAs, acid esters soluble in oil. BHAs effectively treat acne, blackheads, and other blocked pores because they can penetrate deeply into the pores and dissolve excess oil and debris. In addition to reducing redness and irritation, BHAs contain anti-inflammatory characteristics.

Some critical differences between AHAs and BHAs include their chemical structures, the way they exfoliate the skin, and the particular skin issues that each is ideal for treating.

While beta-hydroxy acids (BHAs) are more effective against acne and other blocked pores, alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) are better at treating hyperpigmentation and fine wrinkles on the skin’s surface. The easiest way to determine which acid suits your skin is to talk to a skincare expert or dermatologist.

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Glycolic Acid vs. Salicylic Acid Characteristics

Glycolic Acid vs. Salicylic Acid

Although utilizing acids in skincare may seem extreme initially, you should give salicylic and glycolic acid a shot because they can do wonders for your skin. Although they serve distinct purposes, both are excellent exfoliants.

Glycolic acid is generally fantastic for the skin’s surface, where it helps with dryness, removes dead skin, diminishes fine lines, and boosts radiance. Salicylic acid, meanwhile, aids in pore clearing, oil reduction, and acne treatment.

Those who have sensitive skin may even apply both at once. Keep reading to discover glycolic and salicylic acids, how they differ, what benefits they provide, and how to use them effectively in your skincare routine.

Salicylic Acid: What Is It?

Beta hydroxy acid (BHA) has been used for over 2.000 years to exfoliate the skin chemically,” adds Aliksanian. “Topical preparations can be naturally derived from willow bark or chemically derived.” According to dermatologist Dendy Engelman, MD, who is board-certified, it also helps keep your pores clear by removing the outer layer of skin.

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Uses and Advantages

Hydrogen Peroxide

The following are just a handful of the numerous possible advantages of glycolic acid:

  • Relieves dryness: Glycolic acid can soften rough, flaky skin and reveal a more radiant complexion.
  • Lightens and balances the tone: Glycolic acid’s exfoliating capabilities make it a potential tool for enhancing luminosity and diminishing uneven tone.
  • Reduces the look of fine wrinkles: Glycolic acid increases cell turnover, which may make fine lines and other indications of aging less apparent.
  • “It can also improve hyperpigmentation and fade dark spots,” Engelman explains, referring to the reduction of hyperpigmentation and uneven skin tone.
  • A topical analgesic. Salicylic acid, like glycolic acid, is a wonder ingredient for skin care:
  • “Salicylic acid is commonly used to exfoliate the skin gently, unclog pores, clear out dead cells, and treat acne,” Engelman explains, to cleanse the skin and open pores.
  • Consistent appearance and feel: According to Engelman, salicylic acid, similar to glycolic acid, can make the skin look brighter and less wrinkly.
  • Oversees oil extraction: According to Engelman, salicylic acid helps control excess sebum production; thus, it can aid acne-prone skin in the long run and not just treat existing breakouts.

Possible Adverse Effects and Safe Practices

Glycolic Acid vs. Salicylic Acid

Hydrogen Peroxide

Using glycolic acid may cause typical adverse effects, such as minor irritation, itching, and sensitivity. These symptoms usually go away After a few uses of the product. “If you’re experiencing any side effects beyond [this], glycolic acid may not be for you,” the doctor advises.

As with any new skincare product, it is recommended to gradually incorporate glycolic acid into your skincare routine to assess your skin’s reaction.

“Glycolic is gently stripping off that top layer of dead skin cells, so treat your freshly exfoliated skin gently,” adds Aliksanian.

“People on retinol should be cautious when using glycolic acid, as their skin is already being exfoliated,” Engelman recommends alternating between retinol and glycolic acid applications if you’re concerned about irritation.

“If you want to use both products, use retinol at night and glycolic acid in the morning,” the doctor advises.

Additionally, you should always use sun protection. “Glycolic acid makes your skin more photosensitive, so it’s important to diligently Don’t take chances with your skin!. Your skin will thank you! And avoid direct sunlight if possible,” he adds.

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A Topical Analgesic

As with glycolic acid, salicylic acid may cause skin side effects, such as dryness, irritation, redness, or itching, while your skin adjusts to the new formula. Aliksanian claims these adverse effects can be lessened following a salicylic acid peel by adequately hydrating the skin.

“If your skin is susceptible, you may want to try incorporating salicylic acid with a moisturizer or use it at a lower concentration,” he advises. She recommends contacting a dermatologist if adverse effects persist or worsen.

Always apply a high-SPF sunscreen, even on overcast days, because salicylic acid can make you more photosensitive.

“In addition to diligent SPF application, I wouldn’t recommend applying a salicylic acid treatment more than three times a week, as it can cause irritation and compromise your skin barrier,” the dermatologist says. Remember that the product type you choose also has an effect.

The salicylic acid concentration in serums and toners could be higher than in cleansers. Because it is a member of the aspirin family, salicylic acid should not be consumed by anyone allergic to it.

Do You Know If Glycolic and Salicylic Acid Work Together?

Combining glycolic and salicylic acid is usually safe, but you should monitor your skin’s reaction and avoid excessive use.

“If your skin can tolerate it, using glycolic acid and salicylic acid together can be a powerful duo in minimizing and treating acne while exfoliating and reversing dullness,” he adds.

“That said, keep in mind you’re using two exfoliating properties simultaneously‚ÄĒso you may experience more irritation, dryness, and redness than usual.”

If you want to mix the two, take it easy at first. She advises testing the mixture on a small area of skin once or twice weekly to determine how your skin responds before committing to using the two acids simultaneously every day.

My Skin Was Noticeably Smoother Following Just One Application of The Ordinary’s Glycolic Acid Toning Solution

Glycolic Acid vs. Salicylic Acid

Like most of The Ordinary’s products, the Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution has been the subject of much discussion since its release because it is an exfoliator that offers high-end effects at a drugstore price. As someone who enjoys The Ordinary’s products, I am consistently astounded by their high quality and reasonable price.

I only recently started using a liquid exfoliating toner. Still, Veinary had several great products I’ve used, so I decided to give their toner a go when I needed one. This toner had me curious about its contents, price, and feedback from previous buyers. I wanted to know if it was worth the buzz.

Skin Concerns: Combined With Dark Spots, Prone to Acne, Sensitive

Because of my acne and sensitive skin, I’ve had to be very picky about my skincare products. Products with powerful active chemicals, overly rich and moisturizing formulations, or strong scents frequently trigger my allergic reactions.

That is why I continue to do what has always worked: My go-to skincare products include CeraVe Foaming Facial Cleanser, CE Ferulic Serum by SkinCeuticals, Ultra Fluide Moisturizer by La Roche Posay, and Elta MD UV Clear Broad Spectrum SPF 46 Sunscreen. Every three days, I also apply a prescription retinol therapy.

Although my retinol treatment reduces the severity of my breakouts, I’m still looking for a physical or liquid exfoliator that I can use regularly without irritating my skin, especially in regions where my skin is rough and uneven.

I would be very grateful if the Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution could help reduce the texture and hyperpigmentation. According to Dr. Mona Gohara, a board-certified dermatologist and instructor at Yale School of Medicine, Glycolic acid has multiple applications.

She suggests glycolic acid for people with acne or uneven skin tone and those who want to renew their skin or provide a glowy boot. This toner would be a decent pick after hearing her recommendation.

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Application Process: Take it easy at first

I followed Dr. Gohara’s advice and gradually added the toner to my routine after conducting a patch test, which involves trying a product on an inconspicuous area such as your arm or neck for a day to determine if it would cause an allergic reaction before applying it to your face.

“To improve [an] even skin tone and glow while decreasing acne and wrinkles, use it one day a week and gradually increase the frequency.” Based on the brand’s recommendation, I would use a cotton pad soaked in toner to sweep my face after nightly cleansing for two weeks.

The Ordinary suggests applying the toner before bed. I took extra precautions to apply sunscreen first thing in the morning since the manufacturer warned that my skin would be more photosensitive after using their product.

How It Feels: A Pleasant, Light Liquid

The toner has the same feathery texture as other conventional toners I’ve used. There is no fragrance to conceal the aroma of the composition, which I enjoy, but the lotion does have a little sour smell.

It took me approximately a minute after I finished applying the toner for it to sink in fully. After my skin dried, I could feel slightly stickyness, although I didn’t detect any film or residue.

The sticky feeling went away after I put on my moisturizer. It is highly discouraged, according to Gohara, to layer retinol with glycolic acid. “To avoid irritation, use [it] separately from retinol products,” she advised. I postponed using my vitamin C serum and retinol therapy until later.

Substances: Powerful and Relaxing

Glycolic Acid vs. Salicylic Acid

Glycolic acid, an alpha hydroxy acid (AHA), is a component of many exfoliants because of its ability to degrade and remove dead skin cells. Additionally, this acid helps diminish the look of sun spots, acne scars, hyperpigmentation, and rough skin texture.

Tasmanian pepperberry’s anti-inflammatory properties make it a popular ingredient in skincare products; it reduces redness and inflammation, soothes skin irritation, and boosts collagen and elastin production.

Important Clues

If you suffer from acne or have uneven skin tone, glycolic acid is an excellent component.

Glycolic acid and other AHAs might increase sun sensitivity. Apply before bed and then again in the morning after applying an SPF.

Experience the rejuvenating power of AHAs as they delicately exfoliate the outer layer of dead skin cells, unveiling fresh, radiant skin. One use yields brighter, smoother skin.

My skin improved even though I could only apply the Glycolic 7% Toning Solution twice in two weeks. I was genuinely thrilled since I could feel a difference in the texture of my skin, even though it might not be as apparent to others.

After applying the toner the night before, my skin appeared more radiant, and the little bumps reduced in the morning.

After applying the toner the night before, my skin appeared more radiant, and the little bumps reduced in the morning.

My skincare regimen is minimal because my skin is so sensitive. Even though I take special care to avoid irritating my sensitive skin and my acne, there are moments when I wonder whether I’ll ever have perfect skin because I can’t use solid and effective products without causing scars.

The Ordinary’s toner worked well, and I appreciated seeing results on my skin. The exfoliation from this toner was something I wanted to do more of, so I eased into using it gradually in my regimen.

I understood that my results wouldn’t be as noticeable as those of someone whose skin can be regularly used. However, I still wanted to benefit from t. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that my skin could tolerate 7% glycolic acid, a very high amount, once a week. Looking ahead, I envision myself utilizing this product every week.

Considered a Bargain

Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution, like all of The Ordinary’s products, has an excellent pricing point: $10 for 8.1 fluid ounces is hard to match, particularly when considering the change it can make to your skin. You may use the toner for at least two months before replacing it, even if your skin can withstand this glycolic acid better than mine.

Similar Products: You Have Choices

Glycolic Acid Exfoliating Toner by The INKEY List ($12): The INKEY List’s Glycolic Acid Exfoliating Toner, which contains 10% glycolic acid, is similarly priced to The Ordinary’s toner and claims to aid in the revelation of smoother skin. It also contains witch hazel, so if your skin isn’t prepared for INKEY’s strong recipe, use The Ordinary instead.

The Glow Tonic from Pixi Beauty ($15) is another choice that won’t break the bank. It’s widely accessible in drugstores and is renowned for producing impressive effects at a reasonable price. Glow Tonic, which contains 5% glycolic acid, botanical extracts, aloe vera, and ginseng, could be an excellent alternative to The Ordinary’s toner if you find it too harsh.

Decision at Hand

Glycolic Acid vs. Salicylic Acid

Even though I have susceptible skin, I could use The Ordinary’s Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution without any adverse side effects, and my skin looked and felt better afterward. Discover a more budget-friendly product for radiant skin, such as this exfoliating toner.

Last Thoughts

Suppose your skin reacts favourably to glycolic and salicylic acid. In that case, you can incorporate both into your regimen for more significant advantages. Before trying any of these acids, it’s a great idea to consult a dermatologist.

They can provide valuable guidance to ensure the best experience. In general, both of these treatments are safe for usage across various skin types and can have noticeable results in tone and texture, acne, anti-ageing, and more; nevertheless, it is important to begin slowly and seek medical advice if any adverse reactions develop.


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