What Does Glycolic Acid Toner Do? Find Out the Benefits of the Best AHA

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Glycolic acid is a popular ingredient that can be found in skincare products. One way to benefit from using glycolic acid is by using a toner that contains a considerable percentage of it. It is right to wonder what glycolic acid toner does for the skin. 

The acid falls under the category of Alpha Hydroxy Acids—which are acids that are majorly gotten from sugary fruits. Glycolic acid, derived from sugar cane, works effectively to treat skin concerns such as aging, uneven skin tone, acne, and so on. 

Read ahead to find out the benefits of using a toner for your skin. This article also contains useful information on how the product works and how to use it in a skincare routine.

Benefits of Using a Glycolic Acid Toner

Applying a toner after cleansing will help to remove leftover dirt and impurities and also restore your pH level balanced. A glycolic acid toner does the same thing for the skin. It helps effectively as an exfoliant to remove dead skin cells from the surface of the skin.

Since glycolic acid contains hydrating properties, the toner will help to enhance your skin’s ability to keep itself moisturized. This will help to hydrate the skin and soothe irritation. 

This makes the toner ideal and usable for both dry and oily skin. Below is a highlight of all the benefits of a glycolic acid toner:

1. Reduces Aging Signs

Glycolic acid is an effective treatment for aging as it helps to exfoliate and enhance collagen production in the skin. Using a glycolic acid toner will help to reduce the appearance of aging signs on the skin. 

Fine lines, wrinkles, and other aging signs develop as a result of the reduction in collagen production. The reduction of collagen production happens as you age and that can cause the skin to lose its elasticity and smoothness. 

The toner will help to encourage the development of new skin cells and enhance blood flow in the skin. This will help in increasing the production of collagen in the skin to restore the skin’s elasticity. The toner will also help the skin to keep its natural moisture. 

However, it is important to know that a glycolic acid toner cannot remove or clear out wrinkles and other aging signs. It can only help to reduce the appearance of the signs on the skin.

Early introduction of glycolic acid toner into the skincare routine will help to prevent the formation of aging signs on the skin.

2. Brightens the Skin 

A glycolic acid toner works effectively to exfoliate the skin by penetrating deep past the outer layer of the skin to dissolve dead skin cells. This allows new skin cells to develop in the skin and bring out smoother, brighter, and softer skin. 

3. Penetrates the Skin Easily 

Since glycolic acid is one of the strongest AHA, it works potently to produce significant results. This is because of the small molecular structure that allows it to penetrate easily into the skin to do its work.

The effect of a glycolic acid toner is almost immediate as it penetrates the skin easily and deeply to nourish the skin and promote collagen production. 

4. Increases Efficiency of Other Ingredients

The exfoliation process of glycolic acid removes not only dead skin cells, it also helps to prepare the skin for the application of other skincare products. The toner helps to soften the skin and unclog the pores. 

This helps in removing anything that can block your other skincare products from penetrating the skin. When nothing is blocking the surface of the skin, skincare products will penetrate easily and work more efficiently to give faster and better results. 

5. Hydrates Dry Skin

Glycolic acid works as a humectant to hydrate the skin. It does this by drawing out water from other sources to the skin. It can help to draw water from the air or the deep layers of the skin. 

Applying the toner to your skin will help to replenish and nourish the skin with enough moisture. 

6. Fades Hyperpigmentation

Using glycolic acid toner on your skin may help to fade mild cases of hyperpigmentation, like dark spots, age spots, and even melasma. The toner works on this by exfoliating and removing the dark skin cells from your skin’s surface. 

This helps in the generation of a brighter sin cell to surface on the skin. Continuous use of the toner will help to even out your skin tone and fade hyperpigmentation.

7. Treats Acne

Using glycolic acid toner on your skin works to fight acne by exfoliating and unclogging the pores. Glycolic acid can help to break down and dissolve the dead skin cells that are clogging the pores. This helps to reduce acne and also works to prevent further breakouts.

How Does Glycolic Acid Toner Work?

According to research, glycolic acid has the smallest molecular structure of all the AHAs. This allows it to penetrate the skin deeply and easily to work faster and better than other AHAs.

A glycolic acid toner works by penetrating the skin deeply to speed up skin cell turnover. It does this by breaking down the bond between old skin cells. This enables the skin to shed dead skin cells easily and develop new ones. 

Another research reveals that It also works by triggering the skin to produce more collagen as well. The skin breaks down collagen production as it ages and also when the skin is exposed to the sun for a long time. 

More production of collagen in the skin equals firmer, plump skin. Using toner each day can also help to prevent the breakdown of collagen in the skin.

How to Use a Glycolic Acid Toner

A glycolic acid toner is best used at night, as AHAs are known to make the skin sensitive to UV rays and vulnerable to damage. Therefore, it is best to apply toner in your bedtime skincare routine. 

Also, ensure that when you wear an SPF 30 sunscreen as a layer of protection every morning on your skin. 

Before you begin to use the toner in your everyday routine, it is important to do a patch test. This will help to detect possible allergic reactions to it. 

Apply the toner to a small area of your skin to check. If you do not experience any severe reaction or irritation after 24 hours, you can go ahead to use it on your entire face. If you notice or experience harsh irritation, try using a lower concentration toner or do away with the ingredient.

Start with a low concentration of glycolic acid, as this will help to lessen the risk of side effects. This will also help to get your skin used to the ingredient and build up a tolerance for it.

When applying the toner to your face, ensure that you cover all areas except your eyes, lips, and mouth. Ensuring even coverage will help to facilitate even exfoliation. Also, use only a little amount of toner on your face to avoid irritation. 

Using a high concentration of glycolic acid in a toner too often can cause over-exfoliation. Over-exfoliation can cause the skin to experience severe side effects like burning, irritation, redness, and so on. You can use a lower concentration toner as often as every night.

What Should You Use After Glycolic Acid Toner?

After using glycolic acid on your skin, ensure that you use a moisturizer. Always moisturize your skin in every skincare routine as this will help to hydrate and nourish your skin. 

You may experience slight redness and irritation after using the toner. However, using a moisturizer to hydrate your skin will also help to prevent redness or irritation after using your glycolic acid toner. 

Another vital skincare product to use after using glycolic acid on the skin is sunscreen. The newly developed skin that surfaces after exfoliating your skin with glycolic acid need to be protected from UV rays. 

Exposing the skin to the sun after exfoliation can cause damage to the skin. Therefore, apply an SPF 30 sunscreen daily.

How Many Times a Week Should You Use Glycolic Acid Toner?

You can use a glycolic acid toner up to 7 times a week, depending on the strength of the toner. Most glycolic acid toners contain low concentrations and that gives you the chance to use them more often. 

However, if your toner contains more than 10% of glycolic acid, do not use it daily. Start by using it only twice or three times weekly or as much as your skin allows. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Is glycolic acid toner good for dry skin?

Yes, it is. Glycolic acid toner is good for dry skin because it can help to draw moisture from the air to the skin. 

However, it may also cause the skin to become dry during winter. But this can be prevented by the use of moisturizers to keep the skin hydrated.

Is glycolic acid toner good for oily skin?

Yes, it is. Glycolic acid toner is good for oily skin because it may help to regulate oil production in the skin. 

When the skin produces excess oil, it excretes into the pores and causes dead skin cells to stick and clog the pores. Using the toner can help to unclog the pores by exfoliating and dissolving dead skin cells.

Can you use glycolic acid toner underarms?

Yes, you can. You can use your glycolic acid toner under your arms. This will help to cleanse your follicles and help cleanse sweat and dirt from the skin.

Sweat and dirt can cause the armpit follicles to become clogged. Using this toner will not only help to unclog your follicles but will also help to prevent them from being blocked again.


Using a glycolic acid toner on the skin provides several benefits. It helps to exfoliate the skin and it also helps to stimulate collagen production in the skin. Asides from all that, it also works as a humectant to keep dry skin hydrated. 

When there is enough collagen production in the skin, the development of new skin cells, and hydration in the skin, it will become bright, plump, and soft. 

Start by using a low concentration of acid toner in your skincare routine. Remember that using moisturizer and sunscreen is very important to prevent irritation and damage.

Thanks for reading.

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