The Best Glycolic Acid Serum – 2018 Reviews & Top Picks

In line with our mission to be your top source for all things beauty related, we’ve rounded up 5 of the best glycolic acid serum products. The serums that made it to this list were carefully selected based on their effectiveness in helping you keep your skin looking healthy and young. We believe these products will be secret weapons in your beauty arsenal.

Glycolic acid is becoming an increasingly popular way to remove dead skin cells from the face. In doing so, glycolic acid makes skin look younger, healthier and fresher.

Commonly, glycolic acid is used in anti-aging products, but it also helps balance pH levels in the skin, as well as eliminates acne.

Let’s take a look at some great glycolic acid serums and learn more about what glycolic acid can do for your skin.


Quick Overview: Our Top Picks for the Best Glycolic Acid Serum

OUR TOP #1 PICK - Alpha Skin Care Intensive Renewal Serum is our top pick for best hyaluronic acid serum, because it contains 14 percent glycolic acid to help make skin look younger. This product boosts the production of collagen to make skin firmer, so this is a great product for aging skin issues.

OUR TOP #2 PICK - Our second pick is Peter Thomas Roth Glycolic Acid 10% Hydrating Gel due to the hydrating power it has. This gel delivers vitamins A and E to the skin, as well as aloe vera, which helps soothe irritated skin and keep skin hydrated.

OUR TOP #3 PICK - The third selection on our list is QRxLabs Glycolic Acid 30% Gel Peel, because it contains a high level of glycolic acid that will remove dead skin cells from the face. We liked that this product also contains chamomile and green tea extracts to help soothe irritated skin.

OUR TOP #4 PICK - The number four product is Yeouth Glycolic Acid Face Peel. This product contains 30 percent glycolic acid, which means that it is a pro at getting rid of dead skin, as well as reducing the effects of aging. It also brightens skin to make it look more radiant.

OUR TOP #5 PICK - Number five on our list is Joyal Beauty’s Ultimate Brightening Age Defy Serum. We selected this product, because it contains a number of different nutrients to help keep skin healthy. This serum helps even skin tone and eliminate fine lines.

What is Glycolic Acid?

Glycolic acid is a natural acid that is commonly used as an exfoliating agent in skin care products. This acid is derived from a variety of different plants, such as sugar beets, sugarcane and pineapple.

Because of its botanical properties, it is commonly used to treat a number of different skin conditions.

This acid gently removes dead skin cells. Over time, it can help fresher, younger skin surface. Since it is such a powerful exfoliant, glycolic acid is commonly used in anti-aging products.

However, glycolic can also benefit people who suffer from acne or unbalanced pH in the skin.

Glycolic acid is also found in many chemical peels, which is why many people associate glycolic acid with being harsh on skin. In reality, it is actually very gentle.

Even people with sensitive skin can use glycolic acid without worrying about irritation or damage to the skin.

Skin conditions such as psoriasis, melasma, scarring, skin discoloration and wrinkles are no match for glycolic acid.

Since glycolic acid will slough off the outer layer of skin, it can be extremely effective at treating surface-level skin conditions.

While glycolic acid is mostly known as an exfoliant, it also helps moisturize skin. Low doses of glycolic acid can transfer water from the air onto the skin, where the water can provide hydration to the skin.

Glycolic acid is actually a triple threat. Aside from exfoliating and hydrating skin, it also helps boost the production of collagen.

Collagen helps skin stay firm and wrinkle-free, which is another reason why glycolic acid is commonly found in anti-aging products.

How to Find a Glycolic Acid Serum for You

Now that you know what glycolic acid is, you are ready to find a glycolic acid serum that will work for you.

However, there are a few things you should take into consideration before you run out and try to find a glycolic acid serum.

First, understand that you need to start with a low percentage of glycolic acid so that your skin can get used to the effects of the serum.

If you choose a serum that contains too much glycolic acid, your skin may get red and start to flake.

If you do start to experience flaking, don’t pick at it and start using the serum less frequently.

Second, learn what products do and don’t mix well with glycolic acid. Products that contain vitamin A or retinol can cause reactions because skin is already sensitive.

Plus, you will need to be sure to wear sunscreen with this product, because glycolic acid makes skin more sensitive to the sun.

If you find that glycolic acid serums aren’t for you, but you still want to use a product that contains glycolic acid, there are options out there. Glycolic acid can be found in face washes, creams and peels, as well.

Peels will typically be the harshest form of glycolic acid, while creams are often the gentlest. Face washes and serums fall in the middle.

Generally, these contain a specific percentage of glycolic acid, so you may want to test the waters with different strengths of the acid.

Product Reviews: Our Top 5 Best Glycolic Acid Serum



Our Rating

The number one product on our list for the best glycolic acid serums is Alpha Skin Care’s Intensive Renewal Serum.

We choose this as the top product, because it’s formula contains 14 percent glycolic acid, which is a great balance of power and gentleness.

This serum gently sloughs off dead skin cells, which will help expose new, healthier skin to the surface. In doing so, this product supports younger, healthier looking skin.

While exfoliation is one way to promote youthful skin, this serum also supports the increase of collagen production, which will help fill in fine lines and wrinkles.

We love that this serum leaves skin feeling soft and smooth. It also feels light on the skin after application.

Unlike many products that contain acids, this product doesn’t create a burning sensation when applied to skin. At most, you will feel a tingling sensation as you apply it.

The biggest downside to this serum is that it has a very thin formula, which can make it difficult to apply without wasting a bunch of product.

What We Like

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    Helps even out skin tone and texture
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    Gets rid of acne and acne scars

What We Don't Like

  • The formula is extremely thin
  • May cause tingling sensation on skin



Our Rating

Peter Thomas Roth Glycolic Acid 10% Hydrating Gel came in second on our list, because it moisturizes skin while it exfoliates.

We love that this product contains a number of different vitamins and minerals that help protect and nourish skin, too.

This product helps stimulate the turnover of skin cells, which will help improve the appearance of skin with sun and age damage.

Fine lines and wrinkles fade away due to the increased hydration, increased collagen production and appearance of fresh, healthy skin.

We love that this product is both oil- and fragrance-free, because it is less likely to clog pores or cause breakouts and skin irritations. Plus, there is no oily residue left behind after applying this serum.

This product isn’t without flaws, however. You may experience redness and irritation while using this product. Breakouts are also a possibility while using Peter Thomas Roth’s Glycolic Acid 10% Hydrating Gel.

While these issues aren’t common, if you have extremely sensitive skin, this product may be a little harsh.

What We Like

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    Leaves skin feeling hydrating and smooth
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    Suitable for numerous skin types

What We Don't Like

  • May cause redness and irritation
  • May cause breakouts



Our Rating

Number three on our list is QRxLabs Glycolic Acid 30% Gel Peel, because of its superior strength formula.

This product contains 30 percent glycolic acid, which makes it a great peel product for removing dead skin cells from the surface of skin.

This serum helps reduce acne and get rid of blackheads, which makes it beneficial to those who are experiencing both acne and aging skin. It also helps even out skin tone, including hyperpigmentation.

One unique characteristic of this product is that it is a gel, which means that it is too thick to run down into your eyes during use.

While we love how effective this product is, it can be harsh on skin. Like many other peels, this product can cause a burning or stinging sensation on your face.

It may also cause skin to turn red and be irritated. If you are experiencing extreme sensitivity, you are probably using a serum with too much glycolic acid.

What We Like

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    Fades the appearance of scars
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    Removes dead skin cells from face

What We Don't Like

  • Stings skin while on the face
  • May cause redness and irritation



Our Rating

Fourth on our list is Yeouth Glycolic Acid 30% Gel Peel, because it also contains retinol and green tea to help with the effects of aging, as well as soothe damaged, irritated skin.

This glycolic acid serum exfoliates away dead skin cells and promotes cell turnover.

It also increases the production of collagen. All of these abilities combined make it one of the toughest anti-aging products on the market.

The green tea, chamomile and cucumber extracts in this serum deliver vitamins and minerals to the skin. They will help soothe irritation on the skin. Sun damage is also less likely, because of the addition of these extra ingredients.

These ingredients also help fight bacteria and inflammation, which makes this a great product for those who are suffering from acne.

We love that this product is vegan and cruelty-free. It also doesn’t contain any parabens, sulfates or added fragrance.

What We Like

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    Reduces the appearance of acne and acne scars
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    Leaves skin feeling soft and smooth

What We Don't Like

  • May make skin sensitive and red
  • May make skin dry



Our Rating

Joyal Beauty Ultimate Brightening Age Defy Serum is the last product on our list, because it is made specifically with ingredients to fight the effects of aging and make skin look both younger and healthier.

This serum contains both glycolic acid and salicylic acid, which makes it a great exfoliant and acne fighter.

There is also willow bark extract in this, which also helps fight off the bacteria that causes acne.

We love that this serum only contains 1.2 percent glycolic acid, because it is much gentler than the other products featured in our list.

Since it is gentler, you are less likely to experience irritation and redness while using it.

Another reason we selected this product is because it helps boost production of collagen and elastin, which make skin more pliable and youthful.

This serum helps reduce the appearance of uneven skin tone, regardless of what caused the issues. It also makes fine lines and wrinkles disappear.

What We Like

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    Gentle enough for sensitive skin
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    Helps control oil production

What We Don't Like

  • May cause redness or irritation
  • Leaves face feeling tight after use

The Bottom Line

Our top choice for the best glycolic acid serum is Alpha Skin Care Intensive Renewal Serum, because it contains an intermediate level of glycolic acid that helps fade fine lines and wrinkles without irritating skin.

We selected this as the top product, because it also boosts collagen production.

All the products on this list are good options for those who want to get younger looking skin. The biggest difference in these products is the amount of glycolic acid in the formula.

You may want to consider picking one with a glycolic acid level you are comfortable with.

We believe that any of the products on this list will help you get more youthful, radiant skin, but our favorite is Alpha Skin Care Intensive Renewal Serum.

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