Glycolic acid belongs to a family of acids called alpha-hydroxy acid (AHAs), which are incredibly popular in the skincare world. Alpha-hydroxy acids refer to “a group of naturally occurring ‘fruit acids’ that can be found in foods.” This specific form of AHA, glycolic acid, is typically derived from sugar cane and gains its following in the beauty product market from its absorbability and exfoliating powers.
Yet, that’s not all AHAs, including glycolic acid, are known for when it comes to enhancing the health of your skin.
These plant-derived acids “work by loosening the glue-like substance that holds dull and dead skin cells on the topmost layer of your skin, revealing newer, healthier skin.” When it comes to glycolic acid, there are a few added benefits. Glycolic acid “stimulates new cell generation, resulting in improved skin texture, tone, and a brighter complexion,” as well as boosts “production of collagen and elastin,” leading to accelerated “skin healing and [reduced] signs of environmental damage.”
How does glycolic acid accomplish all of these skin-rejuvenating tasks?
Out of all the alpha-hydroxy acids, glycolic acid happens to have “the smallest molecular size,” and is the “most bioavailable and active, allowing it to penetrate the skin the most easily.” Along with reducing the signs of aging and environmental damage, glycolic acid has also been shown to “improve skin issues like blackheads, hyperpigmentation, enlarged pores, psoriasis, keratosis pilaris, and hyperkeratosis, among others.”
Now, you’re ready to find your ultimate glycolic acid beauty product! Yet, be careful when picking up that bottle from the drug store shelf. Many skincare products that include glycolic acid also include ingredients that are oftentimes animal-based. To help you find your perfect product, here are 10 vegan and cruelty-free glycolic acid skincare products available on Amazon to choose from!
Looking for an environmentally friendly, cruelty-free, gluten-free, non-GMO, vegan glycolic acid product? This Derma-E Radiance Toner with Glycolic Acid and Rosehip Extract may be the perfect one for you! Derma-E focuses on eliminating all toxins and chemicals from their products with a zero tolerance for parabens, artificial colors, sulfates, petrolatum, mineral oil, lanolin, and phthalates. This glycolic acid toner includes a blend of rosehip extract, which rejuvenates, rebalances, nourishes, hydrates, and detoxifies. With an exfoliation component, this toner will unclog pores and leave skin feeling smooth! A 6-fluid ounce bottle costs $9.03.
Mean Jean McCormack says “This stuff is AWESOME, just be careful with it because it’s POWERFUL, lol. I was under the impression that I could use it day and night, everyday, so I did and am now a scaley mess, lol. I used it for two days, day and night, so a total of 4 times, and that was way too much! Since it’s so strong, I would suggest using it once a day once or twice a week at first just to see how your skin does with it. Once you find the right schedule for your skin, you’ll be SUPER pleased! I have never felt my skin feel so soft and smooth!! It’s AMAZING, especially for the price! I can’t praise it enough! I’m disabled and on an EXTREMELY tight budget, so I sincerely appreciate a company that makes products that actually work and are in a price range that I can somewhat afford! It’s awesome and I’m definitely going to try and buy some of their other products! Love it!”
This Amara Beauty Facial Toner with Witch Hazel & Vitamin C relies on a unique blend of plant-based ingredients including 100 percent natural witch hazel, MSM, vitamin C, aloe, neroli, and glycolic acid. This toner aims to balance your skin’s pH, increase absorption ability, shrink pores, and hydrate. Plus, Amara Beauty promises a vegan, cruelty-free product free of sulfates, parabens, and fragrances. A 6-fluid ounce bottle costs $17.05.
Cerah13 says “I am not one that thinks toners are “necessary,” but I think this particular product is worth it. First, the ingredients are treatment-oriented, so I feel like it’s a good thing for my skin (oily, prone to deep painful cysts). Second, the spray delivery is nice; the product is actually going on my skin as opposed to being wasted on cotton. Third, it’s a good multi-tasker. I sometimes use it to set my makeup, and I’ve also used it to spot-treat blemishes before a treatment.”
Not a fan of toners? This Earth Science Papaya Glycolic Gentle Skin Peel will offer the same skin-rejuvenating benefits of glycolic acid with a little more tender loving care. The blend of papaya extract and glycolic acid purifies and exfoliates aiming to reduce acne breakouts in all skin types. Earth Science promises a vegan, cruelty-free, and gluten-free product that is also free of toxic parabens. A 4-ounce tube costs $12.29.
Kia H. says “So I’m trying to get rid of some discoloration and dead skin from this hot sun exposed summer. I’ve been using this peel weekly to encourage cell turnover and sloth off sun damaged skin. It works! It had really been a key part of a regime that is keeping my skin refreshed and youthful. It’s a gentle enough peel but definitely something you feel working. I use Aloe Vera afterward to soothe the minor tingly feeling. I really like this fruity glycolic over aggressive glycolic and lactic peels and treatments. It balances some natural ingredients and the glycolic chemical for a nice and effective restoration of bright healthy skin.”
Grapefruit is one of the most refreshing natural products available due to its high levels of flavonoid antioxidants! This Grapefruit Glycolic Wash with Organic Jojoba Wax Micro-Spheres by Made from Earth uses a completely unique healing and brightening formula of glycolic acid, grapefruit extract, aloe vera extract, jojoba wax, and vitamin C. This glycolic acid face wash is 100 percent vegan, cruelty-free, as well as free of parabens, sulfates, mineral oils, lanolin, gluten, and GMOs. The blend focuses on stimulating collagen to reduce fine lines and wrinkles, removing dead surface cells, softening and hydrating, and ultimately revealing bright youthful skin. A 4-fluid ounce bottle costs $14.99.
BQ Martelle says “Love this face wash. I have extremely sensitive skin and this causes me no irritation what so ever.”
Green tea is rich in antioxidants helping to reduce inflammation. This Plum Green Tea Mattifying Moisturizer uses these skin-rejuvenating powers, along with the exfoliating properties of glycolic acid to balance hydration, reduce acne, increase good bacteria production, and provide a fresh appearance. This product is 100 percent vegan, cruelty-free and is free of parabens, phthalates, silicone, and non-comedogenic ingredients. Plum Green Tea Mattifying Moisturizer is great for all skin types, even acne-prone skin! A 50-milliliter bottle costs $10.99.
Amazon Customer says “Pretty nice feeling moisturizer. Made skin very smooth and soft. It does not help super oily skin. My skin is very combo, dry and sensitive in all areas except my T zone, and the nose is most oily. It did not do much for my nose. I still had to use blotting paper. That being said, it’s not necessarily a bad thing. I do not trust that any product that keeps your face matte all day is much good for your skin. I recommend using a product like this for oily skin, and make sure to use blotting paper! Your skin will stay soft and will not dry out by using extremely matte products. So, it’s pretty good, has a nice velvety feel, smells nice, does not irritate at all!”
While this vegan and cruelty-free face serum is a bit more expensive, you’ll get your bang for your buck in quality! This Bodyography Overnight Serum for Face Glow has a complete formula of nourishing vitamins — A, C, E, — and exfoliating glycolic acid, yet has no alcohol and zero parabens. This facial serum reduces the sign of aging by repairing damaged skin, reducing fine lines and wrinkles, and evening skin tone. Plus, this serum will help remove dead skin cells and dark circles, revealing rejuvenated, youthful, and hydrated skin! A 1-fluid ounce bottle costs $51.00.
It’s all in the name with this toner! Natural Logix is a trusted source of all-natural, cruelty-free, and vegan beauty products such as this Natural Logix Anti-Aging Treatment Toner for All Skin Types. Natural Logix aims to heal, restore, diminish sun damage, reduce fine lines, tone, and nourish the skin with a blend of glycolic acid, amino acids, vitamin C, witch hazel, organic aloe, organic jojoba oil, organic sulfur, and plant extracts. This vegan and cruelty-free toner promises to be safe for all skin types with zero parabens, alcohol, or sulfates. A 4-fluid ounce bottle costs $14.99.
This X Facio Labs Organic Xtreme XT Toner is excellent for those seeking youthful skin! This all-natural toner refreshes, tones, heals and protects skin with a formula of vegan and cruelty-free glycolic acid, organic sulfur, amino acids, vitamin C, and active plant extracts. It’s recommended to layer this toner with a serum or moisturizer. A 17-fluid ounce bottle costs $18.05.
Amazon Customer says “After around two weeks of using this toner, I can tell that it has had a significant difference on my skin. My skin is sensitive and acne prone to acne scars. I was looking for a new toner when I decided to give this one a shot. And I am glad that I did! Before, my skin’s felt very rough and a lot of redness from past acne, but after using this toner, I noticed that my skin is so much smoother and most of my redness has disappeared. I have also noticed that I have not had any major breakouts after using this toner. The toner smells similar to grass jelly and dries quickly after being sprayed onto the face. Definitely would buy this product again after I finish the first bottle!”
Another fabulous, vegan, and cruelty-free Derma-E has made this glycolic acid list! This Derma E Anti-Wrinkle Vitamin A Glycolic Facial Cleanser with Papaya focuses on reducing the signs of aging with the exfoliating and rejuvenating powers of glycolic acid. This all-in-one facial cleanser is sulfate-free, yet efficiently washes away dirt, oil, makeup, and helps clear the pores of impurities. You’ll be left with a healthy, vibrant, smooth, and youthful complexion! A 6-fluid ounce bottle costs $9.49.
Springerpitt says “This is the only product I’ve found that keeps acne at bay. I tend to get clogged pores that turn into little bumps, and I’ve found that if I stop using this for even a week or two they come right back. I use it every other day in the shower and make sure to massage in for 30-60 seconds. The smell is mild and pleasant and I love the chemical exfoliant rather than harsh scrubbers.”
This Life Essentials Skin Care Glycolic Acid Cream promises the highest quality vegan and organic ingredients in this cruelty-free glycolic acid-based facial cream. This beauty product aims to boost the skin’s ability to naturally moisture, produce collagen, and repair and heal damage. Life Essentials promises their product is great for all skin types, even the most sensitive, and will leave your skin feeling refreshed and rejuvenated! A 1-fluid ounce bottle costs $14.95.
Jessica says “I have been using this lotion for several months now, and it has helped my skin immensely. I’m in my late-20’s with sensitive acne-prone skin. This does a great job preventing breakouts. I use it once a day after showering on my face, neck, chest and shoulders. I didn’t experience any irritation and hardly notice the scent, which is important because fragrances trigger headaches for me. It’s expensive but completely worth it to me since it’s one of the only things I’ve found that seems to work. There are less expensive products from other brands, but the ingredients are lower quality. For instance, the second ingredient in this (after water) is aloe, which my skin has responded so well to. In other brands I’ve tried, the second ingredient has been petroleum which made my skin feel awful and more oily than before. Everyone’s skin is different, but if you have sensitive acne-prone skin, high-quality ingredients can make a huge difference and this lotion is definitely worth a try!”
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