Hang around the skin care community long enough, and you'll start hearing rumblings about using fan-favorite ingredients all over your body, not just for the face. A while back, that might've meant just making sure you apply a night cream from your eyebrows to your clavicle — but nowadays, it's all about the acids. Regularly using glycolic acid for your body has become more of an everyday, at-home exfoliation step for skin care fans rather than the spa-exclusive body peels of days gone by. (Though, hey, nobody would say no to one of those, too.)
"Glycolic acid is the ideal ingredient for body care because it is a very gentle chemical exfoliant," Nina Zilka, co-founder and CEO of Alder New York, tells TZR over email. "We tend to build up a lot of dead skin on our bodies because our torso, arms, and legs don't get as much exposure as our hands and face, so a gentle daily chemical exfoliant can be a game changer for keeping skin healthy and soft."
Or, you might be drawn to using glycolic acid to combat and treat body acne, a side effect of the chemical exfoliation. "It is also a great ingredient to use for bacne and other acne-prone areas," Zilka explains, and adds that the ingredient can be used for "both fighting and preventing acne." (Helpful, if you're stuck in an acne cycle.) Anyone who experiences both body acne and dry patches doesn't have to fret about making sure the glycolic acid only touches certain areas, too, since the acid excels at sloughing away flaky patches.
There is one small drawback to using glycolic acid in your body care routine though — at least, from a formulator's point of view. Alder New York's Cleansing Body Bar, launched on Jan. 4, features 1% glycolic acid, and Zilka says it's "quite tricky to formulate a bar soap with glycolic acid, because the acid softens the solid bar." So, this might be why you commonly see glycolic products formulated as liquids, gels, or scrubs, rather than a traditional body bar.
"And to make it even harder, we were very intent on using a 1% glycolic acid formulation with our new Cleansing Body Bar — no less — to make it effective at gentle daily exfoliation," Zilka continues. Obviously though, the brand managed to succeed, seeing as you can now grab the bar for $12.99 on its website. "It took some time, but we were able to formulate the right surfactant blend to create the perfect balance with the acid — and we couldn't be prouder of the result!"
Ahead, shop TZR's picks for the best glycolic acid products for your body.
We only include products that have been independently selected by TZR's editorial team. However, we may receive a portion of sales if you purchase a product through a link in this article.
Glycolic acid teams up with lactic and salicylic acids in these handy formula-soaked towels, which are portable enough to take with you wherever you go.
Cult famous amongst those who experience keratosis pilaris, First Aid Beauty's body scrub delivers exfoliating pumice beads, glycolic and lactic acids, and protective vitamin E straight to your skin.
Glycolic acid gets transported into a cream form with Lancer's *very* luxe Body Nourish moisturizer. It features a whopping 10% glycolic acid, so expect to see a change in texture and tone without having to wait forever.
Anyone can enjoy the benefits of this cult classic, even if it's geared towards smoothing out keratosis pilaris. Glycolic acid whisks away dry skin, while green tea extract minimizes redness and the humectant urea attracts moisture.
There are plenty of reasons to love this new launch, but two key ones are its gentler-than-average formula — 1% glycolic acid here — and the fact that it's fragrance-free.