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Ask Dr. Schultz | Skin Care Guides | The Difference Between Salicylic and Glycolic Acid

The Difference Between Salicylic and Glycolic Acid

Chemical Exfoliation

Chemical exfoliation is superior to physical as it is much more consistent in its results as well as much less likely to cause irritation. Two of the most commonly used ingredients for chemical exfoliation are salicylic acid and glycolic acid. Both salicylic and glycolic are gentle enough to avoid irritation, if used correctly. Not only will neither burn your skin, but both will effectively remove the dead facial cells that accumulate on your face.

Salicylic vs. Glycolic Acid

However, that doesn't mean that both of these acids are interchangeable. Salicylic acid has a narrow therapeutic margin, which means that it can only be used in at a 1-2% concentration. However, glycolic acid's therapeutic margin spans from 1-70%, so it can be finely tuned to address multiple skin care issues. Additionally, glycolic can be pH-adjusted and buffered which ensures that it will be gentle.

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