Glycolic acid has gained significant popularity in the skincare realm, thanks to its remarkable exfoliating and rejuvenating properties. As one of the most effective alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs), glycolic acid is widely used in products to improve skin texture, promote anti-ageing benefits, and achieve a more radiant complexion. This ingredient is highly recommended by influencers, celebrities, dermatologists, and even the Beauty Insider team when it comes to giving the skin a brightening boost while fading dark spots. 

In Malaysia, a plethora of glycolic acid products are available, each offering unique benefits and formulations tailored to various needs not only for the skin but for the body and hair as well. If you want to add this glow-getter into your routine, keep on reading to find the best glycolic acid products in Malaysia! 

What is Glycolic Acid?

Glycolic acid is a type of alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) that comes from sugar cane. It has a chemical exfoliating function and is made up of small molecules with excellent skin-penetrating properties, making it a popular ingredient in skincare to body care products. It’s a gentle exfoliant that works to get rid of dead skin cells on the outermost layer of the skin, which, in turn, helps accelerate skin renewal to reveal smoother skin. Furthermore, it also helps unclog pores, reduce fine lines and wrinkles, and improves skin texture. As it boosts cell turnover, it gradually fades dark spots, hyperpigmentation, and acne scars. 

Glycolic acids are usually added to various products in concentrations ranging from 5% to 20% for over-the-counter products, while higher concentrations are usually applied by licensed dermatologists and aestheticians. Users who want to try products that contain this ingredient are recommended to use the lowest concentration. Introduce glycolic acid into your routine slowly to test sensitivity and minimise the risk of irritation.

Glycolic acid is a versatile ingredient that has numerous benefits for the skin. It is known to be effective in addressing concerns such as dullness, uneven skin tone, rough skin, and dark spots. However, since it is an active ingredient, it is advisable to patch test and consult with a dermatologist or skincare professional before adding glycolic acid into your routine, especially if you have sensitive skin or specific skin conditions.

The Best Products with Glycolic Acid in Malaysia

1. L’Oréal Paris Glycolic-Bright Dark Circle Eye Serum

Say goodbye to panda eyes and instantly achieve a fresh, awakened look as if you’ve had an extra three hours of sleep with L’Oréal Paris Glycolic-Bright Dark Circle Eye Serum. This potent product boasts a 3% Brightening Complex, which includes Glycolic Acid, Vitamin CG, and Niacinamide. Its high-performance formula works wonders by reducing dullness, enhancing under-eye radiance, and minimising hyperpigmentation. 

Equipped with the patented triple roller applicator, it’s exquisitely designed to fit the contours of the eye area, allowing for precise application. In addition to providing a soothing eye contour massage, it also helps reduce under-eye puffiness, delivering an instant cooling effect for brighter-looking eyes. With its exceptional formula, numerous users have reported visible results in just two weeks, including a remarkable 49% reduction in dark circles for eyes that appear brighter and more awakened. Pair L’Oréal Paris Glycolic-Bright Dark Circle Eye Serum with L’Oréal Paris Glycolic-Bright Instant Glowing Serum to complete your skincare regimen. After cleansing and applying toner,  apply a few drops of the Glycolic-Bright Instant Glowing Serum onto your face. Then, proceed with the Glycolic-Bright Dark Circle Eye Serum by gently massaging it into the under-eye area.

Why we love it:

  • Comes with a patented triple roller applicator
  • Fragrance-free 
  • Ophthalmologically tested and proven suitable for all skin types, including sensitive skin
  • Tested and proven on all Asian skin tones

Price: RM88.50

Where to buy: L’Oréal Paris’ official website, Guardian and Watsons

2. Alpha-H Liquid Gold Exfoliating Treatment with 5% Glycolic Acid

The Alpha-H Liquid Gold Exfoliating Treatment with 5% Glycolic Acid has garnered a reputation as one of the best glycolic acid products in Malaysia, and for good reason. Its optimal concentration of 5% glycolic acid is gentle yet effective, making it suitable for a wide range of skin types, including sensitive skin. The glycolic acid works to gently slough away dead skin cells, unclog pores, and promote cellular turnover. It also contains other potent ingredients such as licorice extract and silk proteins to improve the overall appearance and health of your skin.

Why we love it:

  • Boosts skin clarity
  • Improves skin texture
  • Brightens skin tone

Price: RM260.00

Where to buy: Sephora

3. Skintific Glycolic Acid Daily Clarifying Toner

Another best selling glycolic acid products for skin in Malaysia is the Skintific Glycolic Acid Daily Clarifying Toner! It’s garnered a loyal following in the community because of its multiple benefits that make it a standout choice apart from the competition. It contains a low concentration of 1% glycolic acid that’s effective for gentle exfoliation without causing excessive irritation or sensitivity, making it suitable for a dull and acne-prone skin types, especially for those new to adding actives into their routine. To complement the glycolic acid, it also contains niacinamide, lactobionic acid, and 5x ceramides to boost radiance and promote skin barrier strengthening.

Why we love it:

  • Improves appearance of pores
  • Reduces breakouts
  • Smoothens skin

Price: RM35.49

Where to buy: Shopee

4. Pixi Overnight Glow Serum

When your skin is looking exhausted and stressed out, give it a boost with Pixi’s Overnight Glow Serum! It’s developed as a night treatment to be applied before bedtime, allowing the product to work its magic while you sleep. One of the key reasons why Pixi Overnight Glow Serum is highly regarded is its potent concentration of 10% glycolic acid. As it unclogs the pores, it evens out the skin tone while soothing it at the same time. Enriched with  aloe vera, cucumber extract, and vitamins A, C, and E to nourish your skin.  

Why we love it:

  • Provides antioxidant benefits to protect the skin from environmental damage
  • Supports overall skin health
  • Helps minimise skin irritation

Price: RM121.00

Where to buy: Sephora

5. The Ordinary Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Treatment

You’ve probably seen this everywhere, especially if you’re on Tiktok. While we’re not fans of using it as a perspirant replacement, we love using the Ordinary Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Treatment on our face, elbows, underarms, and sometimes around the bikini to help exfoliate and brighten those areas. In addition, it also has soothing ingredients like aloe vera and ginseng extract, which help to minimize potential irritation and calm the skin. It’s effective in refining the skin’s texture, improving radiance, and reducing the appearance of fine lines and blemishes.

Why we love it:

  • Comes in a big volume
  • Numerous benefits and uses
  • Mild exfoliation with soothing effects

Price: RM80.00

Where to buy: Zalora

6. Paula’s Choice Skin Revealing Body Lotion 10% AHA Glycolic Acid

Paula’s Choice Skin Revealing Body Lotion is renowned for its high concentration of 10% glycolic acid to help soften, smoothen, and even out the skin all over the body. This potent percentage ensures effective exfoliation and skin renewal, helping to improve the texture and appearance of the skin. It’s one of the top picks for brightening lotions with glycolic acids in Malaysia which can also be used for targeted areas of the skin such as rough elbows, knees, and heels. Regular use of this lotion can help to smooth rough patches, diminish the appearance of dry skin, and enhance overall skin radiance.

Why we love it:

  • Exfoliates, smoothens, and moisturises the skin
  • Soothing and hydrating 
  • Protects skin from external aggressors

Price: RM155.00

Where to buy: Paula’s Choice MY

7. The Inkey List Glycolic Acid Exfoliating Scalp Scrub

The Inkey List Glycolic Acid Exfoliating Scalp Scrub is developed with a formulation tailored for scalp care. So, if you want to ditch the physical scalp scrub, opt for this one instead. It helps improve scalp health and address specific concerns. Its main ingredient, glycolic acid, works to gently exfoliate the scalp, removing dead skin cells, excess oil, and product build-up. In addition, it’s combined with soothing and hydrating ingredients to nourish the roots and promote better hair growth.

Why we love it:

  • Maintains and balances scalp’s moisture
  • Prevents scalp dryness and dandruff 
  • Reduces flakiness, itchiness, and irritation

Price: RM75.00

Where to buy: Sephora

8. Butter London Extra Whip Hand & Foot Treatment

Your hands and feet deserve a pampering treatment, too! Butter London Extra Whip Hand & Foot Treatment is one of the top picks in Malaysia for products with glycolic acid since it promotes softer and smoother skin while reducing the appearance of scars, spots, and fine lines. With consistent use, this hand and foot treatment becomes firmer while maintaining its hydration and overall healthy appearance. 

Why we love it:

  • Aromatic fragrance for a spa-like experience with each application
  • Restores healthy skin appearance
  • Prevents dryness

Price: RM149.00

Where to buy: Sephora

9. L’Oréal Paris Glycolic Bright Glowing Daily Cleanser Foam

Since its launch in Malaysia, the L’Oreal Glycolic Bright Glowing Daily Cleanser Foam has become one of the go-to repeat buys for products that contain glycolic acid. The formulation is made with other beneficial ingredients such as brightening and hydrating components to not only exfoliate the skin but also promote a more even skin tone and provide essential moisture. It gently cleanses away impurities, dirt, oil, sebum, and makeup residue to avoid pore-clogging without stripping the skin of its natural oils. 

Why we love it:

  • Gentle for daily use
  • Enhances radiant complexion
  • Assists in evening out the skin tone

Price: RM26.25

Where to buy: Shopee

10. Ole Henriksen Dewtopia 5% Acid Firming Night Crème

Containing 5% glycolic acid, the Ole Henriksen Dewtopia 5% Acid Firming Night Creme’s potent formula provides the skin with deep moisture at the end of the night routine to give you a smoother, more refined complexion. Its velvety-smooth texture is easily absorbed by the skin, leaving it feeling nourished and rejuvenated. It’s a daily night cream that works best as you sleep, maximising the benefits of glycolic acid and other active ingredients.

Why we love it:

  • Boosts cell turnover for more radiant, smoother skin
  • Hydrates and firms the skin
  • Keeps skin soft and supple even after you wake up

Price: RM275.00

Where to buy: Sephora

11. Glow Recipe Watermelon Glow AHA Night Treatment

Next, is another luscious and refreshing skin treatment that’s established itself s one of the best glycolic acid products – the Glow Recipe Watermelon Glow AHA Night Treatment! Known for its unique formula, it combines the exfoliating power of glycolic acid with the hydrating and soothing properties of watermelon extract to gently exfoliate the skin while providing it with essential hydration, nourishment, and antioxidant protection. Furthermore, its gel-like formula blends effortlessly onto the skin, allowing for easy application and quick absorption. Use it once or twice a week for an extra boost and achieve a brighter, smoother, and more hydrated complexion.

Why we love it:

  • Sweet and refreshing watermelon scent that’s a treat to the senses
  • Adds a boost of hydration and brightening effects
  • Clean and vegan formula

Price: RM179.00

Where to buy: Shopee

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