Glycolic acid is one of the most popular AHAs (alpha hydroxy acids) used in skincare and is derived from sugar cane. The primary benefit of glycolic acid is an exfoliating effect on the skin, which (in right concentration) can increase the brightness of the skin, help fade post-acne and sun-induced dark spots, and leave behind a natural glow.
While glycolic acid can certainly be beneficial to your skincare routine, it is not as effective at treating and preventing new acne breakouts as other acids such as salicylic acid. Therefore, it is best to wait to use glycolic acid until your active acne is under control. To maintain acne-free skin and achieve some of the additional benefits of glycolic acid, you can start using it on alternating nights with your acne treatment cream that contains salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide.