WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN GLYCOLIC ACID AND SALICYLIC ACID AND WHICH IS BETTER FOR YOUR SKIN? Glycolic and salicylic acid are totally different substances, although you will often see them formulated in the same product. They are both great for skin, but each has its own place. Glycolic acid (an alpha hydroxy acid) comes from sugar cane and is the smallest of the exfoliating acids . It’ works to “digest” dead skin cells aka eliminate them. Salicylic acid (also called beta hydroxy acid) is the primary ingredient used in various concentrations to lessen oil build-up. You see them together so often because used in a well balanced formulation they work on the primary protagonists of a blemish ………….oil and dead skin cells. Salicylic is the primary choice for acne prevention/treatrment . Glycolic Acid is for mature skin to help increase the exfoliation cyle which gets much slower as we age aka a layer of dead skin cells that makes skin look dry and shows fine lines and wrinkles. There really is lots of confusion on these ingredients and many companies promote glycolic acid for acne, but use salicylic for the best results !