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Why do glycolic acid products always contain water?

Esthilove asks…I was just wondering, if glycolic acid is neutralized by water why do so many products with glycolic acid in them have water as the first ingredient?  Doesn’t that negate the effects of the glycolic acid?

The Beauty Brains respond

I’m not sure where you got your info but glycolic acid is ALWAYS used as a dilution in water. The pure acid needs to be in water so the ions disassociate (so it can work.) Plus, the higher the concentration of acid the more damaging it is to your skin. So you certainly need water in ANY GA product.

And just for the record, acids (which have a low pH) are not neutralized by water. They’re neutralized by bases (which have a high pH.)

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Frances R Dean December 12, 2013, 9:39 pm

    This website is really helpful, especially to us women. Many of us want to know the real reason behind some of the beauty regimens we do and this answers a lot of them. Thanks and kudos to the ones behind this website! 🙂

  • Sheri Lee January 2, 2020, 10:57 am

    Every dermatologist that I have been to have said that water neutralizes Glycolic Acid so I am still confused about the question and the answer… why would Glycolic Acid be mixed with water in a cream or toner if water neutralizes it?

    • Perry Romanowski January 3, 2020, 9:19 am

      Water does not neutralize Glycolic Acid. You need a base (alkaline) to neutralize and acid (glycolic). Water is merely the solvent.