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How to Use Glycolic Acid and Hyaluronic Acid Together

Updated: Jan 18

Exfoliating and keeping your skin hydrated are two practices that will help you improve your skin’s texture and overall health. For those seeking clear, radiant skin, glycolic acid, and hyaluronic acid are two power-packed skincare actives. Frequently found in top-tier skincare products, these two acids offer numerous benefits. If you’re trying to figure out how to use them together or wondering if it’s even safe, this guide is for you.

How to Combine Glycolic Acid and Hyaluronic Acid

A Glycolic Acid toner from the skin care brand The Ordinary.

Glycolic and hyaluronic acid, though both valuable, play different roles in skincare. Glycolic acid acts as an exfoliant, eliminating dead skin cells, while hyaluronic acid moisturizes the skin. When used properly, they complement one another.

Understanding their Roles

Glycolic acid, being an alpha-hydroxy acid, exfoliates the skin by targeting and breaking down dead skin cells to reveal a fresher layer underneath. Hyaluronic acid, a humectant, pulls moisture into the skin, ensuring hydration.

Layering Glycolic Acid and Hyaluronic Acid

For optimal results, apply glycolic acid-based products before hyaluronic acid-based products. This clears the way by removing dead skin cells, enabling the hyaluronic acid to penetrate deeper into the skin. After the glycolic acid has been absorbed, follow up with hyaluronic acid.

However, there may be circumstances where this might not be applicable. For instance, if you are using a lotion that contains glycolic acid but also has a hyaluronic acid serum. Here you will have to apply products in order of thickness. In the case of water-based products, apply glycolic acid first and follow with hyaluronic acid.

Paying Attention to Concentrations

These acids come in various strengths. It’s crucial to start with a milder concentration to avoid skin irritation, increasing it slowly as your skin acclimates. This tip especially goes for glycolic acid and in the case you are a beginner. Start with concentrations below 5% and build up.


Always apply hyaluronic acid-based products on damp. This will allow hyaluronic acid to draw moisture from the dampness on your skin into your dermis. Otherwise, hyaluronic acid will draw out moisture from your skin causing extreme dryness.

Avoiding Overuse

It may not be necessary to use these acids daily. Glycolic acid is the strongest AHA, and depending on how well your skin tolerates it, limiting using glycolic acid to 2-3 times a week is more than enough. As for hyaluronic acid, it can be used daily on damp skin.

Benefits of Using Glycolic and Hyaluronic Acid Together

Enhanced Skin Texture

The combined action of exfoliation and hydration from these acids leads to smoother skin.

Reduces Hyperpigmentation

While glycolic acid addresses dark spots, hyaluronic acid ensures the treated areas are moisturized. It is important to know that hydrated skin is less prone to inflammations that can lead to hyperpigmentation.

Fights Acne

Glycolic acid helps in unclogging pores, and with the added hydration from hyaluronic acid, acne occurrences are reduced.

Promotes Collagen Production

Both acids stimulate collagen production, which keeps the skin elastic and youthful.

The Best Glycolic Acids Products to Buy

The Best Hyaluronic Acid Products To Buy

  • Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel Cream: This lightweight water gel is packed with hyaluronic acid to lock in moisture and keep your skin hydrated all day long. The non-greasy formula absorbs quickly, leaving your skin smooth and supple.

  • L'Oreal Revitalift Derm Intensives Micro-Hyaluronic Acid + Ceramides Line-Plumping Water Cream: This moisturizer is an anti-aging range that uses powerful ingredients to reduce wrinkles, firm skin, and restore youthfulness. These products are specifically formulated to provide visible results in just one week.

  • The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5: This serum combines hyaluronic acid and vitamin B5 to provide lasting hydration and improve the overall health of your skin. The lightweight formula absorbs quickly, leaving your skin plump, smooth, and youthful-looking.

The Best Products With Both Glycolic Acid and Hyaluronic Acid

Specific product recommendations would need further research based on current market trends and reviews.

Kiehl's Ultra Pure High-Potency 9.8% Glycolic Acid Serum is expertly formulated to exfoliate dead skin cells, unveiling a brighter, smoother complexion. This powerful serum combines a 9.8% concentration of glycolic acid with hydrating hyaluronic acid, working together to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, while also improving overall skin texture and tone. Suitable for all skin types, this dual-action serum promises to rejuvenate your skin, leaving you with a youthful, radiant glow.

SKIN1004's Hyalu-CICA Brightening Toner is expertly formulated with a potent blend of Glycolic Acid, Hyaluronic Acid, and Centella Asiatica (CICA). Glycolic Acid exfoliates dead skin cells, revealing a brighter complexion, while Hyaluronic Acid provides deep hydration to maintain the skin's moisture balance. Centella Asiatica, known for its healing properties, soothes and repairs the skin. This powerful combination works synergistically to improve skin texture, reduce dark spots, and enhance overall skin tone, leaving you with a radiant, healthy glow. Suitable for all skin types.

FAQs

Can Glycolic Acid Be Used with Hyaluronic Acid?

Yes, when used correctly, they enhance each other’s benefits, with glycolic acid handling exfoliation and hyaluronic acid focusing on hydration.

Does Glycolic Acid Come Before Hyaluronic Acid in a Routine?

Yes, glycolic acid should be applied before hyaluronic acid for the best results.

Remember: It’s always recommended to do a patch test and consult a dermatologist when introducing new products or actives to your skincare routine.

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