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Glycolic Acid vs Hyaluronic Acid: Which One is Right for Your Skin?

Glycolic acid and hyaluronic acid are two of the most sought-after skincare ingredients, which can be found in all types of products from cleansers to toners.

Although these two substances offer unique benefits, they act differently and serve distinct functions. Glycolic acid is a type of alpha-hydroxy acid that’s extracted from sugar cane – it works by exfoliating your skin gently yet effectively to minimize wrinkles or fine lines while improving texture at the same time!

In contrast to glycolic acid, hyaluronic acid is a humectant that exists naturally in the body and has impressive power to bind with moisture.

This makes it ideal for adding hydration and plumping skin. In this article, we will review the differences between these two acids as well as their pros and cons before looking at how they should be incorporated into your skincare routine for maximum results.

Hyaluronic Acid and Glycolic Acid: What They Do

To begin with, the more difficult acid to pronounce is hyaluronic acid (HA). Its incredible ability to beef up your skin’s hydration levels makes it an invaluable ingredient for optimal complexion health.

In summation, Hyaluronic Acid’s properties can be a major benefit in reversing the signs of aging, acne, and other dullness on your face. It is an incredibly powerful moisturizer as it binds up to 1000 times its weight in water! A surplus of water for your cells will make them look firmer and more hydrated – like an oasis or water cooler specifically designed for parts of the face such as the cheeks or forehead.

Hyaluronic Acid andHyaluronic Acid (HA) is an indispensable factor in the equation to combat acne and aging, yet on its own, it does not fight these conditions. Instead, HA functions like a fuel source for cells and proteins by providing them with the necessary aid they need.

A natural component found both within our bodies as well as externally in nature, you can supplement HA quite effectively via hyaluronic acid serums; some types of injectable fillers even contain high concentrations of this essential molecule!

Hyaluronic Acid is the equivalent of water for your facial tissues, but glycolic acid stands in as a raging fire! Glycolic acid plays an important role in chemical peel treatments that are necessary to combat aging and get rid of dead cells.

Chemical peels essentially burn off the outermost layer of dry skin from your face, uncovering a brighter complexion beneath.

Left untouched, these cells can not only make wrinkles look more pronounced but also raise the risk of acne breakouts. Fortunately, that is something we can take action against.

Remaining dead skin cells on your face put you at risk of inflammation, irritation, and much more – especially if you intend to take a selfie in the upcoming week. Fortunately, glycolic acid can minimize these issues as well as unpleasant factors like hyperpigmentation, photoaging, and sun damage that are generally thought of as “cosmetic”.

How Hyaluronic Acid and Glycolic Acid Are Different

It is essential to comprehend the fire and water comparison when exploring these two vital components – hyaluronic acid and glycolic acid, yet there are several other facets to consider. You can break down this query in a multitude of ways.

To truly comprehend the disparity between glycolic acid and hyaluronic acid, we must explore their primary objectives. Glycolic Acid works to remove dead cells while Hyaluronic Acid is created to bring in hydration. Even though they both strive for the same final result – radiant skin – one methodically removes while another adds; two distinct tactics with a common pursuit.

Hyaluronic Acid vs Glycolic Acid: Side Effects

Not only are there distinct differences between facial acids and peeling agents, but their side effects vary too. While the benefits of using facial acid may be plentiful, some unfortunate outcomes can also occur for its users such as irritation, redness, inflammation, or even skin damage if used incorrectly.

Glycolic acid has experienced similar results when applied through a peel treatment method; therefore care must always be taken when applying it to your visage.

It has been reported that five percent of individuals may experience slight adverse reactions when using this product, including inflammation and skin irritation. Fortunately, following the recommended guidelines can significantly reduce these risks. On the other hand, hyaluronic acid is considered to be much safer with even fewer chances of causing any harm or injury.

Side effects typically result from the method of application, such as irritation at the injection site. However, this product is deemed safe enough to use by pregnant women- so it’s highly unlikely that your skin will have any issues with it.

Glycolic Acid vs Salicylic Acid vs Hyaluronic Acid

Glycolic AcidSalicylic AcidHyaluronic Acid
SourceDerived from sugar caneDerived from willow barkNaturally occurring in the skin
FunctionExfoliates and brightens skin, and can help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinklesExfoliates and unclogs pores which can help reduce the appearance of acne and blackheadsHydrates and plumps skin can help improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles
Molecular SizeSmall molecule size, able to penetrate deeply into the skinLarge molecule size primarily works on the surface of the skinLarge molecule size primarily stays on the surface of the skin
pH LevelLow pH level, around 3.5Low to medium pH level, around 2 to 4Neutral pH level, around 7
Skin TypeBest for normal to dry skin typesBest for oily and acne-prone skin typesSuitable for all skin types
Side EffectsIt may cause irritation, redness, and dryness if overused or used incorrectlyIt may cause dryness and peeling if overused or used incorrectlyRarely causes side effects, but may cause minor irritation in some individuals
Complementary IngredientsVitamin C, niacinamide, and sunscreenBenzoyl peroxide, tea tree oil, and retinoidsRetinol, vitamin C, and ceramides

It’s important to note that while these ingredients have different functions and properties, they can also work together in a skincare routine to provide multiple benefits for the skin. However, it’s important to introduce new ingredients slowly and carefully to avoid irritation or sensitivity.

How to Use Glycolic Acid and Hyaluronic Acid Together

When you compare hyaluronic acid and glycolic acid, it’s a match made in heaven. Glycolic acid functions as an exfoliator to help remove dead skin cells. Just be mindful that this ingredient can cause irritation if your skin is sensitive; hence why patch testing should always come first.

After cleansing with glycolic products, follow up with hyaluronic-based gels, serums, or masks for maximum hydration benefits – the perfect post-exfoliation cocktail.

It’s critical to follow this order: glycolic acid exfoliation, rinse off your face with water, then moisturize by applying hyaluronic acid while the skin is still slightly damp. According to Dr. Michel, “Moisturizing after using glycolic keeps hydration levels from dropping and prevents over-drying of the complexion.”

While hyaluronic acid moisturizers are a great option, other alternatives like ceramide creams can also work to effectively hydrate your skin post-exfoliation and prevent dryness or irritations. The goal here is always to keep the moisture locked in and leave you with healthy-looking skin.

With hyaluronic acid and glycolic acid in your skincare regimen, you can kiss away dullness and dry patches. Your complexion will become more vibrant and youthful-looking.

So if you’re trying to maintain a healthy glow now while prepping for the future, these two power ingredients should be your top go-to’s. Ready to make up your mind between buying the hyaluronic gel or glycolic peel? Don’t choose one over another – get both instead.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Use Hyaluronic Acid and Glycolic Acid Together?

Absolutely! While it is not recommended to use both of these ingredients simultaneously, especially for those who have sensitive skin, hyaluronic acid, and glycolic acid can be incredibly useful if you are struggling with dry or dull skin. Both of these ingredients can help restore your appearance as well as improve the overall health of your skin.

Which Acid is Best for Face?

Glycolic acid is an amazing anti-aging ingredient that can do wonders for your skin! It’s a powerhouse AHA extracted from sugar cane and is the most potent of all AHAs, due to its small molecular structure which allows it to effectively penetrate deeper into the dermis.

Glycolic acid has become one of the best solutions for reversing signs of aging – reducing wrinkles, evening out skin tone, diminishing discoloration, and improving texture – leaving you with younger-looking skin.

Is it OK to Use Glycolic acid Everyday?

If you choose the right concentration, then yes – Glycolic Acid can be used daily. However, if it’s your first time using a chemical exfoliant of this kind, start off slowly and build up to daily use rather than putting too much stress on your skin from the get-go.

Can You Use Glycolic Acid with Hyaluronic Acid and Retinol?

Absolutely, it is possible to use glycolic acid alongside hyaluronic acid and retinol! However, you must be cautious in combining multiple active ingredients as this could cause irritations or sensitivities on your skin.

Glycolic acid and retinol are both exfoliants that can assist with improving your complexion’s texture and appearance, while hyaluronic aids hydration which helps to enhance the moisture levels of your skin.

To help avoid any potential irritation, it is advised to introduce these ingredients slowly by beginning with a small concentration and then gradually making the ratio larger. Additionally, using a moisturizer can further minimize discomfort or sensitivity.

Is Glycolic Acid or Hyaluronic Acid Better for Acne?

Both Glycolic Acid and Hyaluronic Acid serve difference purposes in acne treatment, making it challenging to determine which is definitively better. Glycolic Acid, a type of alpha hydroxy acid (AHA), is renowned for its exfoliating properties. It works by dissolving dead skin cells and unclogging pores, reducing the likelihood of acne formation. By promoting cell turnover, it can also help fade acne scars and improve overall skin texture. However, it may not be ideal for those with sensitive skin, as it can cause irritation and redness.

On the other hand, Hyaluronic Acid is a humectant that attracts and retains moisture in the skin, aiding hydration. Although not a direct acne treatment, well-hydrated skin is less prone to inflammation and can support the skin’s barrier function, potentially helping prevent acne flare-ups. Hyaluronic Acid is generally safe for all skin types and is less likely to cause irritation.

Ultimately, an effective acne-fighting regimen may incorporate both ingredients in different steps. For instance, Glycolic Acid could be used in a cleanser or toner to exfoliate and clear pores, while Hyaluronic Acid can be applied through a moisturizer to maintain adequate hydration without clogging pores. However, since individual skin types and needs vary, it’s essential to consult a dermatologist to determine the most suitable products for specific acne concerns.

Which Acid is Best for Glowing Skin?

The best acid for promoting glowing skin is arguably Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA), and more specifically, Glycolic Acid. AHA, derived from various natural sources like sugarcane and fruits, is renowned for its exfoliating properties. Among AHAs, Glycolic Acid possesses the smallest molecular size, allowing it to penetrate the skin deeply and effectively.

Glycolic Acid works by breaking down the bonds between dead skin cells on the skin’s surface, leading to their gentle removal. This exfoliation process helps reveal fresher, more radiant skin underneath, giving the complexion a youthful glow. Moreover, Glycolic Acid stimulates collagen production, enhancing skin elasticity and suppleness.

Regular use of Glycolic Acid can also aid in reducing hyperpigmentation, fine lines, and acne scars, contributing to an even-toned and luminous complexion. However, it’s vital to use products with appropriate concentrations and to apply sunscreen diligently while using Glycolic Acid, as increased sensitivity to sunlight can occur.

As with any skincare ingredient, individual reactions may vary, and some people with sensitive skin might experience irritation. It’s always wise to perform a patch test and seek advice from a dermatologist to determine the best approach for incorporating Glycolic Acid into a glowing skin regimen.


When it comes to taking skin care, you don’t have to go overboard. In fact, sometimes less is more! If you believe that a concoction of powerful acids can provide the look and feel for your face that you desire, then get in touch with someone who specializes in this kind of skincare routine.

Our suggestion? Prioritize talking to a medical professional about whatever issues or changes are concerning before committing to any chemical-based solutions.

By simply making healthier food choices, exercising regularly, and drinking plenty of water, you can successfully treat many skin issues.

If you have acne-prone skin, sensitive skin type, or are looking for anti-aging benefits, more targeted treatments may be necessary. These treatments can range from simple to complex and sometimes require serious procedures other than just topical acid creams.

To determine the best approach to achieve and maintain your desired skin, an individual consultation is highly recommended. In the interim, it’s wise to add face acids to your wish list for future treatments – just like you would with chemicals in a high school chemistry class: keep them away until approved.