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Which Ingredients Go Well With Glycolic Acid — And Which DON'T?

by Ella Goodman 27 May 2024

Alrighty skincare enthusiasts, buckle up! 

We're about to dive headfirst into the sparkling world of glycolic acid and the merry band of ingredients that blend well with it. 

From what to layer after glycolic acid, to the ingredients you should avoid like the plague when you're basking in the glow of this skincare superstar. 

Sit tight, grab a notebook and prepare for the ride!

What can I pair with glycolic acid?

Well, beauty aficionados, your question has finally been picked from the jar. 

It's time to spice up your skincare routine! 

But before we dive in, let's play a quick game of mix-n-match, shall we?

First on the list is, drumroll please... Hyaluronic acid! 

Hyaluronic's superpower? It's a hydration hero! When combined with glycolic acid, the former goes deep, ensuring that your skin remains calm, composed and charmingly hydrated while the latter is busy sugaring off the old cells. 

It's like having a relaxing spa while a tiny construction crew renovates your skin! 

Moving right along, we have a rather sunny companion for glycolic acid: vitamin C. 

Imagine combining the brightening prowess of vitamin C with glycolic acid's exfoliating expertise. The result? Looks like someone just hit the skincare jackpot! 

Vitamin C helps your skin to sparkle like sunlight on a morning dew while glycolic acid tactfully removes the dull, dead skin. Their combined action helps you attain that enviable glow-getter status. 

Next up, we have another pleasant pairing – glycolic acid and peptides. 

The dynamic duo of glycolic acid and peptides gives your skin the one-two punch it needs. 

While glycolic acid clears the way by playing 'clean-up', peptides swoop in to revitalize the skin. They act like tiny serum lifeguards, diving in to strengthen your skin's elasticity and firmness. 

But remember, not all ingredients are best buddies. 

Cue dramatic music!

Enter your skin's arch-nemesis when mixed with glycolic acid, Retinol. 

Tempting as it might be to mix these powerhouses for their anti-aging prowess, resist the urge.

Why? Because when mixed, they can have a war of sorts on your skin, often leaving it irritated and distressed.

And let's not forget about benzoyl peroxide. It's fabulous in combating acne, no doubt. However, paired with glycolic acid, it's akin to inviting a bull to a china shop - a total wreckage! So, steer clear!

Don't fret, though. Let's get back to the happy world of great pairings. 

Though it could seem like an odd-one-out, SPF should ideally be your skin's BFF, especially when using glycolic acid. 

The little pitfall of this otherwise magical worker is that it can make your skin photosensitive. But just as Batman uses his cape for protection, SPF becomes your shield from the UV rays.

Feeling a bit overwhelmed? That's okay. Building an effective skincare routine isn't like waiting in line for your morning latte - it takes time, patience, and a lotta learning.

With glycolic acid, the secret lies in finding the perfect partner in crime. If done right, it's like harnessing the power of the skincare Avengers to bring life back to your skin. 

The potent combos we've discussed should help you avoid any skincare faux pas and steer you toward an applause-worthy glow.

What can I layer after glycolic acid?

Glycolic acid is a boss when it comes to rejuvenating our skin, but it certainly doesn’t work alone. 

And we’ve met some of its trusty teammates. But which of those teammates should be layered after glycolic acid?

First up: Sunscreen! Let's say that again - Sunscreen! 

It’s the first, the foremost, the prime entrée on the list. 

Glycolic acid will call the shots and throw open the doors, revealing fresh, sun-sensitive skin. You’ve got to swoop in then with a high-quality SPF to be the knight in shining armor. It safeguards your skin from the harsh jabs of UV rays.

And stay in tune with the hydration vibe. After glycolic acid, use a hydrating serum. 

Hyaluronic acid, again, is a top pick. It binds to water and lubricates those parched skin cells like a mini oasis. Watch as it fluffs up your skin by infusing it with moisture, rounding out the effects of the glycolic acid.

Next up in the green room is niacinamide. This buddy can work alongside glycolic acid or in the immediate aftermath. 

It aids in tamping down inflammation and redness, harmonizes oil production, and rekindles the spark in dull skin. It's like a gentle, assertive friend who helps quieten the rowdy, troublesome ones at a party. 

Remember ‘A is for Apple’? Well, in skincare, A is for antioxidants. 

Use them in synchronization with glycolic acid. They fight those mischievous free radicals and reduce oxidative stress. Think vitamin C or E. Imagine them as your bodyguards, disarming any threats hurled at your skin.

Peptides are your bedfellows here. They function at night, improving your skin texture while you're dreaming of, well, perfect skin. 

Not to mention, they even aid collagen production, making your skin look plump and youthful. 

Retinol and glycolic acid are tricky. Not enemies, but frenemies, maybe? 

Both potent and aggressive, they can wage a war on your skin if combined. If you're a seasoned veteran in the skincare realm and your skin can handle this tag team, go for it. Just be cautious and watch for signs of dryness or redness. 

In the realm of skincare, the complex algorithm of what mixes well with what matters more than you'd think. It's not simply about layering one product after another. It's about the effectiveness, the absorption, and the harmony of ingredients. 

Glycolic acid is potent and powerful enough to command its own stage. But, when combined wisely with these backstage heroes, you can achieve skin that’s not just good but is radiant, glowing, and picture-perfect.

What ingredients NOT to mix with glycolic acid?

So you're using glycolic acid in your skincare routine? Fantastic choice! 

Glycolic acid is like that friend who knows just how to brighten your day (or skin, in this case). But hey, even the best of pals don't always mix well with others.

Let's play a game of "keep away" with certain ingredients that don't quite make the cut when paired with your new favorite skincare buddy.

First up, let's distance glycolic acid from retinol. Yes, again.

Now don't get me wrong, retinol itself is a king in the skincare kingdom. It's an anti-aging warrior, pushing back wrinkles and fine lines like a champ. 

But when combined with glycolic acid, the story can turn a tad too intense for your skin. These ingredients both work to revitalize your skin by exfoliation, but when they come together, it could lead to over-exfoliation, resulting in irritated, dry skin instead.

Now it's time for another cautionary note about benzoyl peroxide. 

On its own, it's a superhero for anyone dealing with acne. But summon it with glycolic acid, and its powers may dwindle. Their standalone benefits could cross-cancel when put together, lowering their efficacy.

Alright, time for our last 'Keep Away' contestant - physical exfoliants. 

These include any products that scrub, polish, or buff your skin, like grainy scrubs and brushes. Glycolic acid already acts as an exfoliant. Double exfoliation? Your skin might wave a red flag for help, resulting in sensitivity and redness.

So remember, while glycolic acid is a superstar in your beauty regime, it doesn't gel with everyone. 

Think of it as a solo performer that thrives when it gets the entire stage (or your skin) to itself. 

Stick to this 'Keep Away' list and your skin will thank you. 

And isn’t that what we're all after: happy, healthy skin? Play to the strengths, understand the quirks, and your skincare routine will be as personalized and effective as it gets.

Can I use salicylic and glycolic acid together?

Attention beauty buffs! Salicylic acid — yes, that fantastic, oil-absorbing, pore-penetrating skincare superstar — warrants a mention for its prowess in harmonizing with glycolic acid. 

Meet your new favorite team-up!

Consider this: Salicylic acid, explicitly targeting oil, gets to work on your acne and blemishes. It dives deep into your pores, takes aim at excess sebum, and expedites the eviction of acne-causing troublemakers from your skin. 

Glycolic acid, on the other hand, prances a bit higher, intermingling on your skin's surface. Its exfoliating properties perform a spotlight-worthy immaculate sweep of surface cell debris, making way for a rejuvenating skin enhancement.

Combine them? Now, that's total harmony! 

This duo attacks skin dullness and congestion on two fronts, leading to a stunningly clearer complexion. 

However, being the diligent skincare enthusiast you are, always observe the response of your skin to this dynamic pairing. Potent as they are, irritation may come knocking if you overdo it.

Definitely put the brakes on if dryness and redness become uninvited guests at your skincare soiree, too. 

When that happens, it's time to bring on the hydration champs. Cue moisturizing mavens like hyaluronic acid, and calming aloe vera. Enlist their expertise to soothe and fight dehydration, and keep your skin singing a happy melody.

Your best bet? Pick up a serum that combines both salicylic and glycolic acid. Serums like this are professionally formulated to make sure the acids are working in perfect harmony, and won’t overwhelm your skin.

After this deep dive, you are now an ingredient mixologist! Take this wisdom, apply it to your skincare regimen and soon you'll be the most sought-after skincare guru among your circle! 

And while we're dropping truth bombs – here's another skincare commandment: Drink water. Eat healthily. 

Because great skin doesn’t just rely on the colorful product bottles lined up in your bathroom, it’s a collaboration with smart dietary choices.

Welcoming you to the never-ending, yet fruitful journey of achieving a stunning skin glow, remember – there's no miracle solution. Great skin is crafted – not conjured.

With that, we end this little skincare soiree. 

Turn this knowledge into action, as beautiful skin waits for no one! 

Onwards, to a breathtaking, fabulous, skin transformation!

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