I originally heard about chemical exfoliants when I saw them included on the basic skin care routine pages of both reddit and Paula’s Choice. I did some research and decided that a chemical exfoliant would fit well into my routine. In a nutshell, chemical exfoliants gently remove dead skin cells from the skin, revealing the soft supple skin underneath. Some websites I read mentioned that their effects could be seen overnight, and in my mind I pictured glowing skin breaking free like a butterfly from a cocoon of rough dead skin. Because of my poor impulse control excitement, I hauled butt to Sephora and grabbed this glycolic acid chemical exfoliant.

Product information:


From the Peter Thomas Roth website:

This gentle, time-release form of glycolic acid helps produce a fresh, youthful-looking complexion. Boosts cell turnover to help diminish the look of fine lines and wrinkles. Helps clarify and smooth skin texture.



Water, Glycolic Acid, Arginine, Whole Leaf Aloe Vera, Glyceryl Stearate, Peg-100 Stearate, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Glycerin, Butylene Glycol, Safflower Oil, Emulsifying Wax, Dimethicone, Squalane, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Micellized Vitamin A, Micellized Vitamin E, Oleth-2, Polysorbate 20, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Disodium Edta, Diazolidinyl Urea.

The CosDNA ingredient analysis can be found here.

 Ingredient Spotlight:

  • What exactly is a chemical exfoliant?  Chemical exfoliants come in two flavours: alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) and beta hydroxy acids (BHAs). They both function to exfoliate the skin and improve fine lines and skin tone. In general, AHAs are used in aging and dry skin because they exfoliate the surface of the skin. BHAs penetrate into pores and are therefore more useful in people with acne and blackheads.

Alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs)

AHAs (such as glycolic acid) are little powerhouse molecules that work by decreasing the thickness of the outermost layer of the skin and increasing cell turnover. This improves skin tone, reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, and smoothes the surface of the skin. Once the outermost layer of the skin is thinned, the skin becomes more flexible and is better able to reflect light, leading to enhanced radiance. AHAs also increase the skin’s hydration because they act as humectants and draw water into the skin.

Because the outermost layer of the skin is thinned, skin treated with an AHA is more susceptible to UV damage. It is extra important to apply and reapply sunscreen during the day.

Note that AHAs need to be formulated at a pH of 3-4 in order to be effective.



This glycolic acid moisturizer comes in a hygienic white squeeze tube. The moisturizer itself is white and thick and has a mild chemical smell. I used it in my routine every second night, alternating it with a retinol treatment.  This is the first time I have used a chemical exfoliant and my skin seemed to like it– I didn’t have any redness, burning, or other negative reaction.  I have been using it for about 3 months, and I looooooove it. Not just love, but looooooove.


I can’t say that I saw results overnight, but the texture of my skin has improved dramatically since I started using this AHA. I have always struggled with roughness because my skin is so dry, but this AHA has acted like a steamroller and smoothed out all the rough patches and bumps. It helped reduce hyperpigmentation I had from pimples and made my skin look are radiant overall. Every time I looked in the mirror I wanted to touch my face because my skin looked so smooth.

The Sephora website claims:

This advanced deep skin renewing action supports cell turnover to help diminish the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and other signs of aging. It helps clarify the skin and smooth away a rough texture, leaving it looking refined and revitalized.

These claims are spot on: AHAs will certainly help reduce signs of photoaging (fine wrinkles and hyperpigmentation), as well as improve the skin’s texture and overall appearance.  No far flung claims here!


Wow is all I have to say about this AHA. Wow wow wow! Glycolic acid is a dynamite AHA. It smoothes skin texture, helps even skin tone, and helps reduce the signs of aging. If you have dry skin and you haven’t given AHA a try, I would definitely recommend it!


  • glycolic acid improves skin texture and tone, and reduces the signs of aging
  • make sure you wear a sunscreen
  • expensive but worth it
  • recommended to buy

Score: 5/5

Where to buy: Sephora


This chemical exfoliant gets the Beautiful Hound Seal of Approval!



Baumann, L. (2014). Cosmeceuticals and cosmetic ingredients. United States: McGraw-Hill Professional.

Cosmetic Ingredient Dictionary A – Z: Cosmetics Cop Expert Advice. (n.d.). Retrieved 28 February 2015, from http://www.paulaschoice.com/cosmetic-ingredient-dictionary/

Michalun, M. V., & Dinardo, J. C. (2015). Milady Skin Care and Cosmetic Ingredients Dictionary (4th ed.). Clifton Park, NY, USA: Cengage Learning.

Winter, R. (2009). A consumer’s dictionary of cosmetic ingredients: complete information about the harmful and desirable ingredients found in cosmetics and cosmeceuticals. United States: Three Rivers Press.