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11 Best Glycolic Acid Cleansers That Make Your Skin Velvety Smooth

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Though many ingredients can clear your skin, nothing holds a candle to glycolic acid when it comes to sloughing off all the impurities from the surface and boosting radiance on a dull, uneven complexion. That said, any great skincare routine should begin with the application of the best glycolic acid cleansers — as they work like a charm for preparing your visage for the next steps while leaving skin looking and feeling clean and silky smooth.

The best glycolic acid face wash

Hence, we scoured the internet to uncover the best glycolic acid face washes that are both gentle and effective. From lightweight and foaming formulas to creamy textures and plant-based products, everything is here so that you can find your perfect match cleanser.

SkinCeuticals Glycolic Renewal Cleanser
Best overall

SkinCeuticals Glycolic Renewal Cleanser

First on our top list, SkinCeuticals Glycolic Renewal is the best glycolic acid cleanser, no matter what you’re dealing with. It targets dullness, rough texture, breakouts, and aging signs with a potent formula enriched with 8% glycolic acid, salicylic and phytic acids. All three work hard to exfoliate and renew, while the addition of aloe leaf extract and glycerin delivers intense hydration so that the skin won’t feel tight or dried out after washing. Plus, the formula is non-comedogenic, skips alcohol and fragrances, and the soft-foaming gel texture is satisfyingly bouncy.

P.S: The free acid value you see on the package describes the actual acid percentage that will penetrate the epidermis, so be ready for transformative results.

Murad Prebiotic MultiCleanser
Best exfoliating

Murad AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser

Murad AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser is a dream for anyone with a rough texture and dull skin. That’s because it contains a blend of three chemical exfoliants, including glycolic, lactic, and salicylic acids, mixed with the scrub effects of jojoba beans to smooth, brighten, and revitalize. It’s a savior for oily folks as it clears away excess sebum and unclogs pores, yet it’s just as good for dry skin as it hikes up moisture levels with sodium PCA.

Neostrata Foaming Glycolic Face Wash
Best foaming

Neostrata Foaming Glycolic Face Wash

This foaming cleanser is great if your skin is used to acids — as it packs a heavy dose of 18% glycolic acid to reveal a fresher, more baby-like complexion. The radiant results are enhanced by lactobionic acid, a polyhydroxy acid with hydrating and exfoliating properties, and grapefruit extract, a protective antioxidant that promotes a brighter tone. Warning: it contains alcohol denat, which can be drying and sensitizing, so if your skin is problematic, damaged, or dehydrated, better steer away from it and pick a more gentle, less-irritating formula.

Peter Thomas Roth Anti-Aging Cleansing Gel
Best for anti-aging

Peter Thomas Roth Anti-Aging Cleansing Gel

Peter Thomas Roth packed all the good stuff in this anti-aging cleanser to clarify, brighten and minimize the look of fine lines and wrinkles. It lifts impurities with glycolic and salicylic acids while promoting a clearer and radiant complexion with a cocktail of citric extracts, including peach, lemon, and grapefruit. Softening ingredients like allantoin and panthenol make the formula more tolerable so that you can enjoy all the benefits without the fear of irritation.

Glytone Mild Cream Cleanser
Best creamy texture

Glytone Mild Cream Cleanser

If you fancy creamy formulas, this is the best glycolic acid cleanser for you. It acts delicately on the skin to exfoliate dead cells and boost radiance, creating a smooth canvas for the next steps in your beauty ritual (and for your foundation). Thanks to the creamy emollient texture, the cleanser is ideal for normal to dry skins, actually adding hydration with glycerin, leaving you with a bouncy and soft look.

Exuviance Deep Clean AHA Cleanser
Best gel formula

Exuviance Deep Clean AHA Cleanser

Exuviance made a foaming cleansing gel with glycolic acid and gluconolactone to thoroughly remove the surface’s dead cells, debris, and makeup. If you’re a stranger to the latter, gluconolactone is a gentle exfoliant with hydrating and antioxidant activities that plump the skin for a smoother and vibrant appearance. Now you know why it’s one of the best glycolic acid face washes out there.

Juice Beauty Green Apple Brightening Gel Cleanser
Best organic

Juice Beauty Green Apple Brightening Gel Cleanser

Juice Beauty Green Apple Brightening Gel Cleanser will be on the liking of any organic skincare lover — as it’s loaded with plant-derived lactic and glycolic acids, plus botanical juices rich in antioxidants and a natural source of malic acid. It works to refine texture, brighten, and reveal a glowing and soft complexion. P.S: The light, refreshing scent is another reason to put this cleanser on your radar. You’ll love it, trust me.

Neutrogena Hydro Boost Exfoliating Cleanser
Best drugstore

Neutrogena Hydro Boost Exfoliating Cleanser

For a drugstore alternative, Neutrogena Hydro Boost Exfoliating Cleanser is definitely standing out. It’s a lightweight gel-cream face wash formulated with lactic and glycolic acids to exfoliate and purify, plus glycerin and hyaluronic acid to boost hydration. The cleanser has raked thousands of thousands of 5-star reviews not only for its wallet-friendly price tag but the results it delivers, which leaves skin feeling revitalized and velvety smooth.

Replenix Gly-Sal Deep Pore Acne Cleanser
Best for acne-prone skin

Replenix Gly-Sal Deep Pore Cleanser

Pick Replenix Gly-Sal Deep Pore Cleanser if you’re battling acne and want to reduce pimples. The formula is powered by 2% salicylic acid and 5% glycolic acid, working hard to reduce excess sebum and unclog pores. Yet, the best part: it’s made on a base of green tea extract, and it also contains zinc PCA, both known as acne-fighting ingredients with the ability to regulate oil levels and prevent further breakouts.

Boscia Cleanser
Best for oily skin

Boscia Detoxifying Black Charcoal Cleanser

This is the best glycolic acid-containing cleanser for oily skin folks. The formula is built around activated charcoal to absorb dirt and excess oil while the addition of glycolic acid detoxifies and reduces congestion. It acts like a magnet to cleanse and draws out pore-cloggers from the surface, making pores appear smaller and skin less greasy.

Dermalogica Daily Glycolic Cleanser
Best gentle formula

Dermalogica Daily Glycolic Cleanser

Ladies (and gentlemen), this is the best glycolic acid cleanser for dry, sensitive skin since it has a pH-balanced, gentle, and non-irritating formula filled with hydrating and soothing ingredients. Although the product is highly concentrated in glycolic acid, it does not cause sensitivities nor dry out the skin thanks to the addition of glycerin, jojoba oil, allantoin, trehalose, and hyaluronic acid.

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