Glycolic acid and salicylic acid: which one should you choose?

We often see glycolic acid and salicylic acid in skin care products. What is the difference between them? How to choose?

Glycolic Acid is Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA), derived from sugarcane. Properties:Water-soluble: Can only exfoliate the skin’s surface. Small molecular size: Allows deeper penetration into the skin.


Salicylic Acid is Beta Hydroxy Acid (BHA)derived from willow barkProperties: Oil-soluble: Can penetrate into the pores of the skin. Larger molecular size compared to glycolic acid.


Key Differences


  1. Glycolic Acid: Water-soluble, works on the skin's surface.
  2. Salicylic Acid: Oil-soluble, penetrates into the pores.

Primary Uses:

  1. Glycolic Acid: Best for exfoliating the surface of the skin, anti-aging, and brightening.
  2. Salicylic Acid: Best for treating and preventing acne, controlling oil, and unclogging pores.

Skin Types:

  1. Glycolic Acid: Suitable for dry, normal, and combination skin.
  2. Salicylic Acid: Suitable for oily and acne-prone skin.

Anti-inflammatory Properties:

Glycolic Acid: Does not have anti-inflammatory properties.

Salicylic Acid: Has anti-inflammatory properties, making it effective for reducing acne-related redness and swelling.

Friends who need glycolic acid and salicylic acid can choose these two products without hesitation. They are gentle, non-irritating, affordable and effective.

Glycolic acid pads:

Salicylic acid pads:


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