Glycolic or Salicylic Acid ?

Two most effective ingredients in almost all acne products are Glycolic acid and Salicylic acid. However, which one is better ?


is an Alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA) also known as a fruit acid. It comes from sugar cane juice. Glycolic acid is considered by the medical community to be the work horse of AHA’s, and the most effective for skin rejuvenation. It is water soluble and because it has the smallest molecular size of all the AHA’s, glycolic acid will penetrate into the skin better than all the others. It’s great for exfoliating dead skin cells, refining pores, and stimulating fresh new skin cells to come to the surface. It also helps lighten pigmentation and age spots. Glycolic acid is suited for all skin types that include dry/sensitive, normal/combination, or oily/acne prone as well as aging, sun-damaged skin.


is a Beta hydroxy acid derived from willow bark. Beta hydroxy acid (BHA)is a mild acid and has a slightly different chemical structure.This structure is used in 95% of the over-the counter products for acne.Salicylic acid is a little more drying and works best on oily or acne prone skin.Salicylic acid molecular structutre is large and cannot penetrate deep in the cells and therefore cannot stimulate action in the dermis (lower layer of skin) to produce collagen and elastin.Although good for acne becuase it will clean a pore out,Salicylic acid does not have the same rejuvenating effects of Glycolic acid. It is not recommended for dry, sensitive or normal skin types.

I personally prefer salicylic acid when it comes to treating my acne and acne scars because it works very quickly while glycolic acid takes time to treat acne. However, salicylic based products are so strong for sensitive skin like mine that it makes my skin super dry and flaky if used for more then a couple of weeks subsequently. Glycolic acid is comparatively gentler and more suitable for sensitive and oily skin.

I would recommend Glycolic acid based products for girls and guys with sensitive acne prone skin and ones with normal acne prone skin can use Salicylic acid based products,it works wonders!!!

All the Best 🙂

5 Responses

    1. Thanks anjali . I will be review a few products containing Glycolic and Salicylic acid soon. Do look out for it 🙂 or Subscribe for updates.

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