7 Best Glycolic Acid Serums for Silky Smooth Skin (2021 ✅)

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Find the best glycolic acid serum for your skin type, skin condition, and budget! Overall, my top recommendation is La Roche-Posay Glycolic B5 Serum.

Glycolic acid serums are an effective and affordable way to keep your skin in tip-top shape while maintaining the results of a professional or at-home chemical peel like a glycolic acid peel.

But with so many glycolic acid serums on the market, which one is right for you? 🤔

Let's find out!

RELATED:

What Is The Best Glycolic Acid Serum?

Here are my top recommendations:

  1. Editor's Choice: La Roche-Posay Glycolic B5 Serum
  2. Best for Signs of Aging: Glytone Exfoliating Serum 5.5
  3. Best for A Gorgeous Glow: Farmacy Beauty Honeymoon Glow
  4. Best for Silky Smooth Skin: Platinum Skin Care Serum 15/30
  5. Best for Hyperpigmentation: Civant Skin Care AHA Exfoliating Serum
  6. Best Budget Pick: QRxLabs Glycolic Acid/AHA 15% Renewal Serum
  7. Most Popular Pick: Alpha Skin Care Intensive Renewal Serum
La Roche-Posay Glycolic B5 Serum
1
EDITOR'S CHOICE

La Roche-Posay 
Glycolic B5 Serum

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Best For:

✅ Dark Spots
✅ Brown Spots
✅ Discolorations
✅ Uneven Skin Tone

Key Ingredients:

⭐ 10% Glycolic Acid
⭐ Transexamic Acid
⭐ Kojic Acid
⭐ Vitamin B5
⭐ Thermal Spring Water

Key Features:

👍 Professional Quality
👍 Safe for Sensitive Skin
👍 Fragrance-Free / Oil-Free
👍 Non-Comedogenic

Many years ago, I discovered La Roche-Posay after falling in love with Cicaplast Balm B5 Recovery Cream.

(I literally achieved glass skin using this face cream 😀)

Now, it's one of my top picks for professional formulas at affordable prices (seriously, La Roche-Posay costs no more than your average drugstore brand!).

For an effective glycolic acid serum, look no further than Glycolic B5 Serum, a bestselling dark spot corrector with 10% glycolic acid, transexamic acid, and kojic acid.

Glycolic acid removes dead skin cells, smooths fine lines and wrinkles, and corrects uneven tone, while kojic acid is a natural brightening agent that helps fade dark spots.

Transexamic acid (TXA) is a more recent innovation in skincare that targets skin discoloration by removing excess plasmin and plasminogen, which in turn dials down melanin production. (source: Paula's Choice)

Finally, panthenol (vitamin B5) moisturizes and balances out the drying effects of glycolic acid while thermal spring water, rich in minerals like selenium, nourishes your skin and provides anti-inflammatory benefits to reduce the appearance of redness. (source: Seite, 2013)

La Roche-Posay Glycolic B5 Serum Ad

My Verdict: Let La Roche-Posay Glycolic B5 Serum help restore your skin's natural brightness with a professional formula of 10% glycolic acid, TXA, and kojic acid to fade dark spots and target skin discoloration, all for the same price as your average drugstore brand.

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Glytone Exfoliating Serum 5.5
2
BEST FOR SIGNS OF AGING

Glytone 
Exfoliating Serum 5.5

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Best For:

✅ Wrinkles
✅ Fine Lines
✅ Age Spots
✅ Sun Damage
✅ Crow's Feet
✅ Smile Lines

Key Ingredients:

⭐ 5.5 PFAV Glycolic Acid
⭐ Glycerin
⭐ Rosehip Oil

Key Features:

👍 Professional Quality
👍 2 oz Value Size
👍 Fragrance-Free
👍 Non-Comedogenic

Did you know that early signs of aging like sun spots and fine lines can appear as early as your 20s? 😨

That's why you should start your anti-aging routine today, including a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF30+ like Josie Maran to prevent further sun damage.

(the Sun's ultraviolet rays cause free radical damage to your skin cells, which contributes to premature aging)

Glytone Exfoliating Serum 5.5 is an excellent option to build a beginner anti-aging routine around.

This glycolic acid serum features 5.5 PFAV glycolic acid, which stands for Precision Free Acid Value.

Free acid value is essentially a more accurate way to measure the true concentration of glycolic acid.

For example, a 5.5% free acid value translates to around 14% glycolic acid at pH 4 (using LabMuffin's calculator).

RELATED:

To better understand free acid value, Glytone provided the following diagram to illustrate the corresponding skincare benefits at different free acid levels:

Glytone PFAV System

As you can see, 5.5% free acid value corresponds to a "moderate increase in cellular turnover", which means you can expect a good amount of exfoliation, as well as smoother & softer skin.

This is the perfect concentration of glycolic acid to keep wrinkles and fine lines at bay and minimize existing signs of aging like sun spots, crow's feet, or smile lines.

My Verdict: Like all things in life, starting early is key. Build your beginner anti-aging routine with Glytone Exfoliating Serum 5.5 to prevent and minimize premature signs of aging.

Need a higher concentration? Glytone is available in 11 PFAV and 17 PFAV as well.

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Farmacy Beauty Honeymoon Glow AHA Resurfacing Night Serum
3
BEST FOR A GORGEOUS GLOW

Farmacy Beauty 
Honeymoon Glow

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Best For:

✅ All Natural Glow
✅ Soft & Dewy Skin
✅ Refined Pores

Key Ingredients:

⭐ 10% AHA Blend
⭐ 1% BHA
⭐ 3% Flower Acids
⭐ Hyaluronic Acid
⭐ Honey Blend

Key Features:

👍 Clean Ingredients
👍 Fragrance-Free
👍 Cruelty-Free
🌍 Sustainable Choice
🏆 1,000+ Reviews!

Have you been searching for the "holy grail" of skincare: a natural & healthy glow?

Farmacy Beauty Honeymoon Glow is designed to make your dream come true with clean ingredients that help peel away dead skin cells and brighten your complexion.

A 10% AHA blend of lactic, glycolic, citric, and fruit acids, resurfaces dull skin and fades hyperpigmentation while 1% BHA, natural salicylic acid from willow bark, clarifies your complexion and shrinks pores.

3% flower acids from hibiscus flower extract provides gentle exfoliation while hyaluronic acid and a proprietary honey blend intensely hydrates to prevent moisture loss, leaving your skin looking plump and smooth. 🤗

With 1,000+ reviews, Honeymoon Glow is a natural bestseller that proves you can have clean formulas that are effective and environmentally responsible.

(Farmacy Beauty has committed to 100% carbon neutral shipping and waste-free packaging)

You can interact with the full ingredient list as well and learn more about any ingredient (powered by the ClearForMe database of 2+ million ingredients).

Farmacy Beauty Honeymoon Glow Ad

My Verdict: Let your skin glow like never before with Farmacy Beauty Honeymoon Glow featuring 10% AHAs, 1% BHA, 3% flower acids, HA, and honey extracts, for soft & dewy skin!

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Platinum Skin Care Serum 15
4
BEST FOR SILKY SMOOTH SKIN

Platinum Skin Care 
Serum 15/30

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Best For:

✅ Silky Smooth Skin
✅ Clearer Complexion
✅ Helpful Hydration

Key Ingredients:

⭐ Glycolic Acid
⭐ Mandelic Acid
⭐ Phytic Acid
⭐ Hyaluronic Acid
⭐ Vitamin C & B

Key Features:

🧪 pH 3.4-3.5
👍 2 oz Value Size
👍 Fragrance-Free
👍 Non-Comedogenic
🏆 Excellent Reviews

For a professional spa-quality treatment, I trust the experts at Platinum Skin Care for high-quality formulas at reasonable prices.

Based in Michigan, Platinum Skin Care has been in business for over 20 years and is best known for their chemical peels, including their #1 selling TCA peel.

The brand has an extensive anti-aging collection as well, including Serum 15 and 30, featuring an AHA blend of glycolic, mandelic, and phytic acids, plus hyaluronic acid, vitamin C and panthenol (vitamin B5).

It's a potent glycolic acid serum for smoothing texture, including fine lines and wrinkles, and reducing signs of hyperpigmentation like dark spots and sun damage.

Hyaluronic acid draws moisture into your epidermis from the deeper layers of the skin for a plump and hydrated appearance while vitamin C inhibits melanin synthesis to break up patches of discoloration.

With 100+ reviews, Serum 15/30 is one of Platinum Skin Care's bestselling products and customers have consistently testified of its effectiveness for improving texture and tone.

My Verdict: Give your skin a silky smooth finish with Platinum Skin Care Serum 15/30, a powerful AHA serum with glycolic, mandelic, and phytic acids, plus HA and vitamins C & B.

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Civant Skin Care AHA Exfoliating Serum
5
BEST FOR HYPERPIGMENTATION

Civant Skin Care 
AHA Exfoliating Serum

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Best For:

✅ Hyperpigmentation
✅ Dark Spots
✅ Melasma
✅ Age Spots
✅ Uneven Skin Tone

Key Ingredients:

⭐ Glycolic Acid
⭐ Lactic Acid
⭐ Capryloyl Salicylic Acid
⭐ Hyaluronic Acid
⭐ Vitamin B3, B5, E
⭐ Argan Oil

Key Features:

👍 Clean Ingredients
👍 Vegan / Cruelty-Free
👍 Made in the USA
👍 Money Back Guarantee

From the makers of the #1 bestselling Meladerm, comes a powerful and complimentary glycolic acid serum.

AHA Exfoliating Serum is part of a full skincare routine inspired by the massive success of Meladerm for treating hyperpigmentation, dark spots, melasma, and age spots.

(for more info, check out Advanced Brightening Kit which includes 2 full-size bottles of Meladerm)

Glycolic, lactic, and capryloyl salicylic acid (a derivative of salicylic acid known as a lipohydroxy acid or LHA) clear out dead skin cells, stimulate cell renewal, and increase your skin's absorption of subsequent products.

Meanwhile, hyaluronic acid and panthenol (vitamin B5) soothe sensitive skin and boost moisture levels for smoother, softer skin texture.

Finally, niacinamide (vitamin B3) helps even out skin tone by blocking melanosome transfer from melanocytes while rich argan oil and vitamin E nourish dry skin.

All Civant Skin Care products are vegan, cruelty-free, made in the USA, and come with an industry leading 30-day money back guarantee.

AHA Exfoliating Serum Ad

My Verdict: Brighter, clearer, and smoother skin is possible if you have hyperpigmentation like dark spots, melasma, age spots, and uneven skin tone. Use AHA Exfoliating Serum along with a natural and plant-based skin lightening cream like Meladerm for best results.

For the best deal, check out Advanced Brightening Kit which includes 2 full sizes of Meladerm.

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QRxLabs Glycolic Acid AHA 15% Renewal Serum
6
BEST BUDGET PICK

QRxLabs 
Glycolic Acid/AHA 15% 
Renewal Serum

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Best For:

✅ Budget Buyers

Key Ingredients:

⭐ 15% AHA Blend
⭐ Centella Asiatica
⭐ Chamomile
⭐ Calendula
⭐ Hyaluronic Acid

Key Features:

👍 Natural Ingredients
👍 Cruelty-Free
👍 Made in the USA
🏆 Excellent Reviews
🏆 700+ Ratings

If you're looking for a budget-friendly glycolic acid serum, QRxLabs is my top recommendation.

Best known for its Glycolic Acid 20% Resurfacing Pads, QRxLabs combines botanical extracts with effective formulas at very competitive prices.

Glycolic Acid / AHA 15% Renewal Serum features a blend of 15% AHAs (glycolic, lactic, citric, malic, and tartaric) from natural sources like bilberry, sugar cane, orange, lemon, and sugar maple.

It's an excellent combination to help revitalize dull skin, smooth signs of aging, and even out your skin tone.

Meanwhile, the 3 C's of centella asiatica, chamomile, and calendula promote wound healing, reduce inflammation, and soothe sensitive skin while hyaluronic acid increases moisture retention for smoother looking skin.

All QRxLabs products are cruelty-free and made in the USA with eco-friendly packaging.

QRxLabs Glycolic Acid AHA 15% Renewal Serum Ad

My Verdict: With over 700+ reviews, QRxLabs Glycolic Acid / AHA 15% Renewal Serum is an effective and budget-friendly glycolic acid serum to take your skincare routine to the next level.

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Alpha Skin Care Intensive Renewal Serum
7
MOST POPULAR PICK

Alpha Skin Care 
Intensive Renewal Serum

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Best For:

✅ Wrinkles
✅ Fine Lines

Key Ingredients:

⭐ 14% Glycolic Acid
⭐ Green Tea
⭐ Aloe Vera

Key Features:

🧪 pH 3.7
👍 2 oz Value Size
👍 Fragrance-Free
🏆 Excellent Reviews
🏆 2,000+ Ratings!

Featuring a powerful formulation of 14% glycolic acid, Alpha Skin Care Intensive Renewal Serum has the highest percentage among the brand's glycolic acid products.

Alpha Skin Care provided the pH as well which allows us to calculate the corresponding free acid value.

14% glycolic acid @ pH 3.7 is ~8% free acid value.

(as a reminder, free acid value is a better measure of the true concentration of glycolic acid)

At 8% free acid value, Alpha Skin Care will definitely produce significant results for wrinkles and fine lines, thanks to increased cell turnover and collagen production.

As this is a high percentage of glycolic acid, you may feel some stinging or tingling upon application.

You'll be more sensitive to sunlight as well so apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen like Josie Maran during the day.

Green tea and aloe vera round out the ingredient list for hydration and antioxidant protection.

With 2,000+ reviews, customers frequently said even their dermatologist noticed a difference when they started using Alpha Skin Care. Common comments include:

  • Brighter, more even skin tone
  • Softer, smoother skin texture
  • Fewer blemishes
  • Reduced appearance of wrinkles and fine lines
Alpha Skin Care Intensive Renewal Serum Ad

My Verdict: Get a powerful 14% glycolic acid serum at an affordable price with Alpha Skin Care Intensive Renewal Serum, a bestseller on Amazon with 2,000+ reviews.

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Best Glycolic Acid Serum
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