Glycolic acid speeds up skin cell turnover to produce healthier, glowing skin. But your skin cannot be healthy or glowing if it is dehydrated and dry.
Many people recognize the benefits of using a moisturizer with glycolic acid but the real question is: how?
Let’s talk about how we should use these two things to get the best benefits for our skin.
Related Article: Glycolic Acid for Underarms – How to Use, Benefits & Risks
Should You Use Moisturizer Before Or After Glycolic Acid
Moisturizer should be applied to the skin after glycolic acid.
Glycolic acid can be used in face washes, toners, serums, acid peels, or even creams. Some moisturizers even contain glycolic acid.
However, if you are using the two separately, then the rule of thumb is that you want your acid to be on your skin and in your pores before you seal them off with your moisturizer.
Wait Time Between Applying Glycolic Acid and Moisturizer
It is advised that you wait at least 60 seconds after applying glycolic acid before applying moisturizer or any other product.
Whether you are using glycolic acid as a toner, serum or chemical peel, you should wait for it to dry and be absorbed into the skin before applying anything over it.
Why It Is Important To Use Moisturizer After Glycolic Acid
Glycolic acid, especially in strong concentrations, can dry out the skin. So, it is important to keep the skin moisturized and hydrated to prevent irritation.
Glycolic acid exfoliates the skin. This exfoliation naturally occurs with some moisture loss. Additionally, when this acid is used in strong concentrations (like a peel) it visibly dehydrates the skin and helps the skin to peel.
Ensuring that you moisturize will prevent the skin from becoming too dry. Excessively dry skin will not heal and regenerate properly.
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Tips To Follow When Using Glycolic Acid
1- Use glycolic acid at night
Your skin is more susceptible to UVA/UVB rays that damage it during the day after using glycolic acid.
2- Always use sunscreen
Even though you wash your face every morning, the effects of glycolic acid will remain even during the next day. Therefore, you should always protect your skin by applying sunscreen.
3 -Use a glycolic acid formulation that is suitable for your skin.
If you are new to glycolic acid, start by introducing it to your skincare routine using mild products first. For example, you may start with a face wash or toner, then work your way up to serums and masks. If you feel like you want to do a chemical peel, consult a professional for advice.
4- Always moisturize
Even if you have oily skin, and especially if you have dry skin, when using glycolic acid, always use a moisturizer to prevent dryness and irritation.
5- Avoid over-exfoliation
There is such as thing as over-exfoliation. When using glycolic acid, you may not need to physically exfoliate too much. Everyone’s skin is different so pay attention to yours and decide when and how often you will need to do additional exfoliation.
6- Apply your skincare products in the right order
Remember that the general order for your skincare routine at night is:
- Oil-based makeup remover,
- Water-based cleanser,
- Exfoliator or clay mask (when necessary),
- Acid treatment (glycolic acid),
- Spot treatment, eye cream (optional),
- Moisturizer, night cream, or night mask.
7- Adjust how often you use it
Sometimes your skin cannot tolerate glycolic acid every day, especially in high concentrations. Tailor your routine to suit your skin by adjusting how often you use glycolic acid.
You can start by using it once per week and work your way up until either your skin protests or until you can use it daily.
Here is a great example of a simple skincare routine using glycolic acid as a toner by JUST MICHELLE:
Best Moisturizers To Use After Glycolic Acid
1- EltaMD UV Daily Face Sunscreen Moisturizer
This moisturizer contains hyaluronic acid to boost hydration and it contains powerful SPF properties. It is sheer enough to be worn under makeup and it is lightweight so that it will not block your pores.
2- CeraVe Day & Night Face Lotion Skin Care Set
Hyaluronic acid, niacinamide, and ceramides are all included in this package and work together to keep the skin suitably hydrated.
Both lotions are oil-free and won’t clog your pores, and the daytime lotion has extra SPF to shield the skin from damaging UVA and UVB radiation.
3- La Roche-Posay Toleriane Ultra Face Moisturizer
This face cream is formulated without ingredients that may cause potential irritation or allergic reactions, such as preservatives, parabens, fragrances, and drying alcohol. It is lightweight and has been allergy-tested, so it is perfect for sensitive skin.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Can I use moisturizer before glycolic acid?
You should not use moisturizer before glycolic acid.
Moisturizes lock and seal your skin to keep moisture in. That means it also will prevent other products applied over it from penetrating the skin properly.
Applying glycolic acid after moisturizer will only dilute it and render it less effective.
Glycolic acid before or after moisturizer: which is better?
It is better to use glycolic acid before your moisturizer.
This will ensure that the glycolic acid has time to penetrate the skin. Additionally, when the moisturizer seals off the pores to keep in moisture, it will also help glycolic acid to stay in the pores and work better.
Can I use glycolic acid during the day?
You can use glycolic acid during the day, but you should always use sunscreen over it.
Glycolic acid makes your skin more vulnerable to sun damage, so if you are going to use it during the day, always pair it with sunscreen to protect your skin.
Can I use any moisturizer after glycolic acid?
You can use any moisturizer that is suitable for your skin type after glycolic acid provided that it does not contain more glycolic acid, other acids, or other ingredients that may oppose glycolic acid.
For example, you should be using glycolic acid with other acids, Vitamin C or retinol. If you need to use both of these ingredients, you may need to use them on alternate days.