Would 20% Glycolic Cream Help Me?

I Have Light Skin That is Sensitive, with Redness and  3 Age Spots.

Doctor Answers 4

Sensitive Skin and best Skin Care Treatments

You have to be extremely careful when using products for sensitive skin.  While 20% Glycolic Cream is great it may NOT be so for you if your skin is sensitive. It will certainly not treat redness.  You are much better off using topical Vitamin C which will help with both the pigmentation and the redness.  There are a myriad of other topicals that are designed for patients with light skin that is sensitive.  Please consult with a dermatologist who has experience in cosmetics and understands these products.

New York Dermatologist
5.0 out of 5 stars 78 reviews


The skin lightening you'll need to address these spots is not an acid like glycolic but rather a hydroquinone or a laser.  There are many lasers, that when in the hands of a professional who is trained and experienced in the treatment of melasma and spots, can reduce the appearance of the lesions and even out skin tone.  Ensure the professional you are seeing has years of laser experience and a proven record of successful treatments.  

Sunscreen is a must and even better - cover up when in the sun.


R. Stephen Mulholland, MD
Toronto Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 95 reviews

Sensative Skin

 No, a glycolic based product is unlikely to be of assistance in your case. An examination would be helpful to determine which of the vast array of possible products or laser ablation would be most benifical in your case. Best,


Gary R Culbertson, MD, FACS

Gary R. Culbertson, MD
Columbia Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 9 reviews

20% Glycolic For Sensitive Skin

A 20% glycolic acid would probably be too stimulating for your sensitive skin. If what you're trying to treat is pigmentation, you would probably do better with a melanin suppressant.  There are different kinds of melanin suppressants. The standard is a 2% hydroquinone which is typically used for brown spots. It can make you sun sensitive so make sure your wear SPF. There are also many natural melanin suppressants like azelic acid, kojic acid, rumix and licorice which are particularly good for the red pigmentation left by acne.  

All acids will be exfoliating, and so, might slightly reduce the appearance of age spots.  You may find that you tolerate a lactic acid, which naturally occurs in the skin, better than a glycolic.  Also consider malic and mandelic acids as both are also helpful with pigmentation problems.

Cheryl Lee Eberting, MD
Salt Lake City Dermatologist
4.7 out of 5 stars 3 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.