Woman applying serum on skin

Glycolic acid is one of the most versatile ingredients in beauty. When it comes to skin care, it offers a host of benefits that inspire adulation among fans, who often refer to it as a “holy grail” product. A frontrunner of the alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) family, glycolic acid is a natural acid derived from sugarcane. It has a small molecule size that allows it to penetrate deeper into the skin. Because of this, glycolic acid is considered the strongest among other similar AHAs like malic and lactic acid.

If you’re on the fence about adding glycolic acid products to your routine, consult your doctor to determine your skin’s tolerance for it. If you have sensitive skin, don’t go diving into the deep end with a peel or serum. Instead, start with a glycolic cleanser and take it from there. Here are some of the benefits that your skin stands to gain with proper and consistent use.

Exfoliates Gently

Exfoliation is one of the pillars of a good skincare routine. Sloughing off dead skin cells can prevent clogged pores and address dullness. If your skin can’t tolerate , give this AHA a try for a friction-free experience.

Improves Signs of Aging

This exfoliating action benefits those who are experiencing signs of premature aging. According to the National Institutes of Health, it’s an effective way to reverse photodamage. By getting rid of the uppermost layer of the skin, glycolic acid helps refine skin texture. To add from the Wiley Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, it also , increases levels of in the epidermis, and improves the quality of elastic fabrics in the skin.

Regulates Oily Skin

While “acid” isn’t usually what comes to mind when you say acne treatment, improving acne-prone skin is also among its many benefits. It is known to help control excess oil and keep the skin smooth and breakout-free. Just watch out for formulas containing alcohol, which can be drying and irritating.

Because skin can be sensitive after using an , apply a lightweight gel moisturizer to increase water levels in the skin without triggering irritation. Choose from POND’S range of Jelly Moisturizers: POND'S Aloe Vera Jelly Moisturizer, POND'S Watermelon Jelly Moisturizer, and POND'S Orange Nectar Jelly Moisturizer. These deliver soothing hydration that can boost your skin’s glow.

Fades Acne Scars

Unlike other acids that can dry out the skin, glycolic acid can actually help it retain more water and strengthen the skin barrier. It allows the skin to heal faster and fade dark marks and deep scars. This quality makes it the ingredient of choice for those who want to achieve smooth, glowing skin.

Brightens Dry Skin

Even skin that’s already doing pretty okay can benefit from glycolic acid. Because of its exfoliating nature, regular use — whether in cleanser, toner, or serum form — can help prevent dullness. It combats hyperpigmentation and it gives you a brighter and more even skin tone.

Start your glycolic acid journey slowly but surely. Ease it into your routine with a cleanser to test for allergies and/or build up your tolerance. Give it a month of regular use to see results.