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As a true skincare junkie and self-taught pimple-popping pro, I totally geek out on skincare science and new discoveries. But no matter how many “new and improved” formulas come out, nothing compares to how I feel about glycolic acid. This magical active acid has been my pore-minimizing, acne and scar-clearing confidant for many years, leaving my skin smooth and bright, and enhancing the look of my face with and without makeup.
Falling under the alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA) family, glycolic acid derives from sugarcane. This water-soluble acid, best known for restoring the skin's radiance and luminosity, exfoliates the outermost layer of skin, the stratum corneum, eliminating debris, dead skin cells, excess sebum and preventing acne breakouts. It also helps quickly eliminate stubborn hyperpigmentation and acne scarring while stimulating collagen production and elasticity to reverse the process of fine lines and wrinkles.
It’s my gold standard and money-saving alternative to luxury spa peeling procedures, and as such, I’ve become well acquainted with a selection of fan-favourite glycolic acid formulas. Just when I thought nothing could come close to my treasured Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Framboos™ Glycolic Night Serum ($118), I was introduced to a new formula that retails for nearly a third of the price: L’Oréal's Revitalift Triple Power LZR Glycolic Acid Serum ($39).
Shop it: Amazon, $39
This weightless, clear solution, designed without the use of parabens or mineral oils, gently exfoliates the skin with a whopping 10 per cent glycolic acid to vitalize lacklustre skin and reveal a softer, younger complexion. The Revitalift Glycolic Acid Serum, unlike a lot of AHA serums I’ve used in the past, magically melts into the skin without leaving a heavy or sticky residue. What I love most about it is that it provides almost instantaneous results.
L’Oréal claims that in as little as two weeks, your complexion will become visibly unified. After a month of nightly use, I’ve noticed a remarkable improvement in the firmness of my skin, the size of my pores and the pigmentation left from acne scarring around my chin — so much so, that I’ve been confidently leaving the house without foundation or concealer under my eyes. It has also controlled and reduced the number of breakouts I typically get, ultimately changing my standards of drugstore skincare.
But who is to say that this glycolic acid solution alone will give you the same results? Yes, it's great for quickly eliminating breakouts and signs of aging, but if you’re regularly dealing with hormonal cystic acne, you may want to layer glycolic acid with a BHA (beta hydroxy acids) like salicylic acid, which is oil-soluble and can penetrate the blemish and tackle the problem. That being said, it is formulated with aloe (not astringent on the skin), making it a safer choice for all skin types.
With a solid 4.5-star rating on Amazon, here’s what reviewers are saying:
“I’m a fair-skinned young-at heart-woman in my early 50s. You know those unsightly, definitely in-freckle blotches can come up? This product erases them. I have found my new holy Grail and couldn’t be happier - after just a week. I’m already ordering a new bottle to have on hand. I do use it on my décolletage and hands as well. Thank you, L’Oréal!”
“This product really does produce results quickly. I use it in tandem with their nighttime facial cream. I have large pores on my chin, and they look much better after 2 or 3 days of using this. I believe it is helping some of the fine lines and wrinkles but will have to use it longer to know for sure. In my case, I am happy just to have a more even skin tone!”
“It has definitely faded the sunspots I have ok my cheeks. [The] only non-prescription product I have tried that performs as advertised. It is not harsh and fragrance-free.”