Glycolic Acid Anti-Wrinkle Face Cream

This is my favorite glycolic facial cream and it comes in a range of strengths to allow for step-up AHA skin care. Maximize results with ultra-pure glycolic acid formulated into an elegant cream with an acid pH of under 4.

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Dr. Cynthia Bailey Wants You to Know

Glycolic acid creams are the best non-prescription wrinkle creams for fast results. Within days of using these creams you can see brighter and smoother skin tone. Within weeks, you will notice a lightening of uneven skin hyperpigmentation from age spots. Glycolic acid also has the power to unclog clogged pores and fight blackheads. When used longer, glycolic acid creams will stimulate your skin’s collagen renewal process and increase hyaluronic acid in the top and second living layers of your skin, which are called the epidermis and dermis. This equates to a more attractive, smooth and youthful complexion with fewer sunspots and wrinkles. Of course, we all want that.

What’s the catch?

There are two things you need to know before starting to use a glycolic acid cream.

First, you have to train your skin to tolerate glycolic acid. By definition, these products are "acid" – aka potentially irritating to sensitive skin. Like embarking on a strength-training fitness program, you need to start with what you can do and work up as your fitness improves. The same is true with your skin and glycolic acid. When a person first starts using glycolic acid, I usually recommend starting at what I consider the beginning strength, which is about 10%. Once glycolic acid has begun to work its magic, the skin changes and higher levels can be tolerated; we start at 10%, progress up to 15%, and finally to 20%, as I describe in my Directions tab. You get more results with higher AHA concentrations, but don’t try to jump into 20% right away.

Second, glycolic acid creams must have a very high acid pH of about 4 and a very high concentration of "free" glycolic acid in the product to work their magic for your complexion. This means the active glycolic acid needs to be about 10% or higher - and this is not necessarily the % strength written on the product label. That’s because glycolic acid is often neutralized by other product ingredients and what was originally added is no longer present as "free acid" to treat your skin problems. As a consumer, you really can't easily know this detail about an AHA product so you need to trust that the company who makes your product has free acid strength in mind. Because powerful products are irritating, as I mentioned above, most "consumer-friendly" products sacrifice results in favor of ease of use. This means they have lower free acid levels. My creams have the powerful free acid levels you would expect from a dermatologist and this is what is necessary to get results.

What makes glycolic acid such a great ingredient to fight skin aging?

Glycolic acid is a small alpha hydroxyl acid (AHA) made from sugar cane. Because it is small, it gets into your skin easily where it can do its job. A foundational scientific study done in 2001 and reported in the Journal of Dermatologic Surgery showed that when people applied glycolic acid to their skin, huge changes were seen under the microscope. This study showed that glycolic acid cream creates three important improvements in your skin that lead to a more youthful complexion. The cream:

  1. Increases epidermal (the top living cell layer) thickness dramatically (a whopping 17%). This means it can reverse the skin thinning that happens with age.
  2. Increases epidermal hyaluronic acid content (by an astounding 180%) and hyaluronic acid dermal content too (9%). This means your skin is plumper and dewier, and the appearance of your wrinkles is lessened. Also, your skin is less fragile, and it's healthier because cells and nutrients can move around in it better.
  3. Turns on the genes for making skin collagen (3 times greater than before). This means you might actually really get rid of wrinkles because reversing wrinkles requires that your skin makes collagen in the dermis (the deeper part of your skin) below the epidermis (the top living layer).

From an older study reported in 1996 in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, we already knew three additional benefits of glycolic acid treatment, which are that it:

  1. Evens-out irregular skin pigmentation. This means it can get rid of your age spots and even help lighten hyperpigmentation from melasma.
  2. Reverses the signs of classic sun damage in the epidermis that we see under the microscope.  This means it makes the structure of your skin look more like a kid’s when we view it under a microscope. (In doctor speak, there is a reversal of basal cell atypia and return of the normal undulating rete pattern.)
  3. Exfoliates the dead skin cells. This means your skin looks brighter, dewy, and moist and feels softer.

Dr. Bailey Skin Care's Glycolic Acid Anti-Aging Face Cream is made with the purest form of glycolic acid by an FDA-regulated laboratory. This ensures that you get only the best professional results to fight the signs of skin aging. The cream is non-comedogenic and oil free, so it won't clog pores and it is ideal for oily and acne-prone skin. That means it is perfect for people who are acne prone or who have oily skin or combination skin and who want a wrinkle cream for anti-aging skin care.

The light textured cream is enriched with squalane to hydrate skin and it layers nicely with your other skin care skin products. 

For antioxidant benefit, Dr. Bailey Skin Care's Glycolic Acid Anti-Aging Face Cream is enriched with antioxidants, including vitamins A, C, E and green tea and CoQ 10 (ubiquinone) to help protect from free radical skin damage. It is also paraben free and fragrance free.

I recommend that anyone who is trying glycolic acid for the first time start with the 10% cream and work up in strength. Please know that extremely sensitive skin complexions, such as people suffering from rosacea or eczema, may not tolerate glycolic acid products. Scaly dry skin from product allergy will also not tolerate glycolic acid. Please consult a physician before using glycolic acid if this describes you.

Directions for Use: Start by using Dr. Bailey Skin Care Glycolic Acid Anti-Aging Face Cream 10% once a day and gradually increase to twice a day as your skin adjusts and begins to tolerate glycolic acid skin care therapy.

Please note that the use of products with glycolic acid can irritate your skin. If irritation develops discontinue use and consult a physician.

What My Customers Say

"It really works for age spots. I've used it for 2 weeks, not every day. I put it on one of my hands too and that one has less age spots now than the other." 



Bernstein, EF, et. al. (including Van Scott, E), Glycolic Acid Treatment Increases Type 1 Collagen mRNA and Hyaluronic Acid Content of Human Skin, Dermatologic Surgery 2001;27:429-433

Ditre CM et. al. (including Van Scott, E), Effects of alpha-hydroxy acids on photoaged skin; A pilot clinical, histologic, and ultrastructural study, Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, 1996;34:187-195


Tips For Success with Glycolic Acid Products

  • Always start with lower strength products and work up in strength as your skin is able to tolerate the glycolic acid.
  • Glycolic acid is by definition an ‘acid’ and can irritate sensitive or injured skin. When or if there is stinging or irritation, you can lower the concentration of the glycolic acid in the product by diluting it in half with a non-glycolic acid product and gradually work towards full strength.
  • Mix equal portions of the glycolic acid product and a similar non-glycolic acid product that you know your skin can tolerate in your palm before applying them to the skin.
  • In a week or so, add less of the non-glycolic acid product as you mix the two products in your palm. Slowly continue this process until you can tolerate the full strength glycolic acid product.
  • If your skin becomes irritated, take a break from your glycolic acid treatment for a few days, or until the skin returns back to normal, before resuming therapy.
  • Avoid or use less glycolic acid in areas of your skin that are more sensitive. This means diluting the glycolic product as above or avoiding glycolic acid on the area all together. Examples of sensitive skin areas on the body include the décolletage area of the chest and the skin folds of the groin or under the breasts. On the face this would include the eyelids and central ‘T-zone’ in people suffering from seborrhea.
  • Do not get glycolic acid on the lips and of course do not eat products intended for external use only.
  • The eyelid folds are sensitive. Of course, do not get glycolic acid in your eyes. This means do not apply it so close to the eyes that it melts into the eyes as the product warms to skin temperature.
  • Sometimes glycolic acid products may sting if you use them after exfoliating with a scrub or rough shower cloth or sponge. If this happens, then apply glycolic acid products on days that you don’t physically exfoliate when washing. Instead apply a non-glycolic acid product after exfoliating and use your glycolic acid product when you don’t exfoliate
  • If your skin develops irritation, an injury, a sunburn or windburn or a rash, you must not apply glycolic acid to those areas of your skin. Wait until your skin is entirely healed plus at least 2 weeks. Glycolic acid will further irritate irritated skin, compounding the inflammation, preventing healing and possibly resulting in scarring or dyspigmentation. This includes skin irritated from wind or sun, irritating skin medicines such as acne medicines or tretenoin (Retin A and Renova) or procedures such as electrolysis, laser, chemical peels, waxing etc.
  •  Irritated skin can develop permanent darkening in response to sunlight. Do not expose irritated skin to the sun until the skin has returned to normal.

Glycolic Acid Anti-Wrinkle Face Cream 15%: Purified Water, Glycolic Acid, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Cyclopentasiloxane, Ammonium Hydroxide, Stearyl Alcohol, Glyceryl Stearate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Polyacrylamide, C13-14 Isoparaffin, Dimethicone, Squalane, Tocopheryl Acetate, Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf Extract, Ubiquinone (Coenzyme Q-10), Hydrolyzed Glycosaminoglycans, Phospholipids, Retinyl Palmitate, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Cetearyl Glucoside, PEG-100 Stearate, Xanthan Gum, Laureth-7, Sodium Benzoate, Potassium Sorbate, Phenoxyethanol, Disodium EDTA.

Glycolic Acid Anti-Wrinkle Face Cream 20%: Purified Water, Glycolic Acid, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Cyclopentasiloxane, Ammonium Hydroxide, Stearyl Alcohol, Glyceryl Stearate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Polyacrylamide, C13-14 Isoparaffin, Dimethicone, Squalane, Tocopheryl Acetate, Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf Extract, Ubiquinone (Coenzyme Q-10), Hydrolyzed Glycosaminoglycans, Phospholipids, Retinyl Palmitate, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Cetearyl Glucoside, PEG-100 Stearate, Xanthan Gum, Laureth-7, Sodium Benzoate, Potassium Sorbate, Phenoxyethanol, Disodium EDTA.


Customer Reviews

brightens complexion Review by sak

I am 65 years old and I have used the 20% skin cream for several years now. I use this product at night and in the morning. I have noticed it helps brighten my complexion, fade age spots and my fine wrinkle lines are less evident. My skin is sensitive and I am not able to use Retin-A but my skin does fine with this product.

(Posted on 3/24/2017)

Excellent product Review by Helen

I am in my sixties and have always been obsessed with healthy skin. It has taken me years to find a routine that consistently works. Thanks to the info from this site I finally have found the winning program. I use Retin-A five nights a week over the Power of Three Cream. Two nights a week I use Dr. Bailey's glycolic cream. I have to layer it over the Power of Three Cream too or it causes too much flaking. My skin is smooth, soft and exfoliated. I do not have the irritation, seborrheic dermatitis, redness and blackheads that used to plague me.

(Posted on 2/8/2017)

Great product Review by me13

I had used MD Forte in the past but they were bought out by Vivite. The price increased a lot for the same product. I have used glytone but find it is too irritating for my sensitive skin. I was using 20% with the Forte line but started with 15% after using the glytone. I will jump back up to 20% soon. I have used glycolic acid for 18 years and I would never use anything else. After cleansing my skin and applying the lotion my skin feels fantastic! That feelings has not changed in 18 years either. It is euphoric.

(Posted on 6/14/2016)