Hannah Frye

Assistant Beauty & Health Editor

By Hannah Frye

Assistant Beauty & Health Editor

Hannah Frye is the Assistant Beauty Editor at mindbodygreen. She has a B.S. in journalism and a minor in women’s, gender, and queer studies from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. Hannah has written across lifestyle sections including health, wellness, sustainability, personal development, and more.

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July 10, 2023

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Some people find joy in a lengthy skin care routine, while others see it as another chore on their to-do list. For the latter group, multiuse products are everything. To come, a versatile and affordable recommendation from a dermatologist—perfect for the “skinimalists.” 


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How to use a glycolic acid toner in your routine

London-based dermatologist Aamna Adel, Ph.D., gave The Ordinary Glycolic Acid Solution a 10 out of 10 score in a recent TikTok video

The expert praises another video from content creator @Belallure, who shares her go-to methods for applying the glycolic acid treatment—and the list goes far beyond a facial exfoliant. 

In that video, the user rattles off her derm-approved methods, including: 


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In a second video, Adel reviews a tip from content creator @Natakochn, who applies glycolic acid on the scalp to ease oily roots. 

Adel notes that glycolic acid can help reduce sebum on the scalp, which naturally results in less greasy roots. She notes that this ingredient also removes product buildup and exfoliates flakes on the scalp. Adel recommends using the product on your scalp only once a week before you wash your hair

Given everyone has different tolerances for chemical exfoliants, like glycolic acid, start using it once a week for whatever benefit you desire and work your way up, should your skin be able to handle it. 

On that note, if you notice any irritation, itch, or tenderness, stop using the exfoliant immediately. Glycolic acid isn’t for everyone, and that’s OK! Even if you can usually tolerate an acid-infused toner, the sensitive skin under your arms or on your scalp may beg to differ. Always listen to what your skin is trying to tell you.

The Ordinary Glycolic Acid Solution contains a 7% concentration—which is a fairly high dose for the face. For this reason, you may want to stick with using it on your body and patch test on your face and scalp if you think your skin can tolerate the strong exfoliant. 

We also have to mention: If you’re using glycolic acid on your underarms, back, legs, and yes, even feet, you should always moisturize afterward. While the chemical exfoliation is great, it will dry out your skin and potentially compromise your skin barrier if you don’t replenish moisture afterward. 

Look for a simple, fragrance-free body lotion to prevent stinging and soothe your freshly exfoliated skin—here’s a list of our favorites on the market right now


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The takeaway

A dermatologist highly recommends a simple glycolic acid toner for myriad uses on the body and the scalp. If you have sensitive skin, though, be sure to patch test before fully applying the product. Here, everything you need to know about glycolic acid. (For those who need a quick refresher.)