Glycolic Acid Vs Salicylic Acid: Know the Similarities & Difference

a woman applying face serum | Glycolic Acid Vs Salicylic Acid Know the Similarities & Difference

Glycolic Acid & Salicylic Acid

Glycolic acid and salicylic acid are two common chemicals in skincare. Many over-the-counter (OTC) products, such as facial cleansers, serums, skin shine cream, and toners, include them. 

This article will help you decide whether glycolic acid or salicylic acid is best for your skin type or problem. 

What is glycolic acid, and how does it work? 

Glycolic acid is a hydroxy acid. It also has an alpha hydroxyl group (AHA). It can be traced in sugarcane as a natural source or can be produced inside a lab. As glycolic acid is a very small element, it can very easily go into one’s skin’s barrier. 

Glycolic acid cream exfoliates your skin while preserving moisture when used topically. This helps in fresh new skin development.

Glycolic acid also protects your skin from UV radiation and reduces inflammation. It's also effective against acne-causing germs.

Glycolic acid for the skin is primarily used to improve skin tone and minimise indications of ageing. It can also assist with: 

  • Hyperpigmentation, acne scars, or sun damage can be lowered
  • reduce the appearance of pores and brighten your complexion 
  • lowers the fine lines and wrinkles appearance
  • improve skin elasticity 
  • control acne outbreaks 

Because of the above benefits, glycolic acid is usually referred for:

  • hyperpigmented skin is a skin type that has a higher chance of getting hyperpigmentation
  • skin that shows symptoms of ageing and is prone to acne 
  • Despite the fact that glycolic acid is generally regarded as harmless, it can irritate certain people. If a product contains a high concentration of glycolic acids, such as 10% or more, this is more likely to occur. 

It might make one sensitive to the sun as well. To avoid sun damage, it's critical to use sunscreen while using glycolic acid.

Definition of salicylic acid and how it functions

A beta hydroxy acid is salicylic acid (BHA). The natural sources include wintergreen and willow bark. Artificially, it can be made inside a lab as well.

Salicylic acid cream exfoliates the skin in the same way as glycolic acid does. It can also aid in pores unclogging and it works by reducing the production of sebum and by removing sebum or oil which is excess. 

The main benefit of salicylic acid is to treat acne and prevent its occurrence. It can also assist with: 

  • keep oily skin under control 
  • Blackheads should be reduced in appearance. 
  • hyperpigmentation should be reduced 

There are many skin types which can have benefits from these:

  • acne-prone skin, oily skin, and hyperpigmentation-prone skin 
  • Salicylic acid is there in a lot of over-the-counter products, but, not everyone can use it. It can make one feel irritated or dry.

Which is the superior acne treatment? 

Unlike glycolic acid, Salicylic acid lowers the production of sebum in the skin. This is very important as sebum can make the pores clogged and increases the chances of having acne or pimples.

Salicylic acid's exfoliating, anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial properties are also good for acne-prone skin. If you'd want to try a salicylic acid-containing product or salicylic acid gel, you might want to look into the following options, which can all be found online: 

Chemical peels are cosmetic procedures that remove dead skin cells, improve the appearance of your skin, and level out skin tone. If this is your primary goal, look for a product that contains glycolic acid. 

Because of its small molecular size, glycolic acid is very effective at penetrating and exfoliating the skin. It also aids in the retention of moisture in the skin. 

Salicylic acid, on the other hand, has the potential to dry out the skin. Furthermore, if you don't have oily skin, salicylic acid may accidentally eliminate too much sebum. 

If you want to attempt a glycolic acid-based chemical peel, you might want to look into the following options, which can all be found online: 

Which one is the best fit for you? 

The acid that's best for you relies on a variety of circumstances, just like any other skincare component.  

If you're looking for a better fit, try glycolic acid:

  • wish to decrease the look of fine lines and wrinkles but are mostly concerned with hyperpigmentation or uneven skin tone 
  • acne outbreaks are rare if you don't have oily skin. 

Salicylic acid, on the other hand, is generally a better choice if you: 

  • suffer from active acne outbreaks 
  • blocked pores if you have acne-prone or oily skin
  • There are other products that include both glycolic and salicylic acid. If you have acne and hyperpigmentation, both issues, this combination can be perfect.

Take Away

Glycolic acid and salicylic acid are two common chemicals in skincare. Glycolic acid is a good exfoliator, which means it can get rid of dead skin cells to get clear skin. 

If one has acne-prone skin, Salicylic acid could be a better option. It has the ability to treat or prevent acne and can remove sebum which is excessive. Excessive use can irritate the skin. If you're still not sure whether glycolic acid or salicylic acid is best for your skin, consult a dermatologist or skin care professional.