If your skin is rough and sun-damaged, opt for glycolic acid.
Part of the alphahydroxy acids (AHAs) family—water-soluble, naturally derived exfoliating agents—glycolic acid is the smallest molecule of all the acids, so it can deeply penetrate skin. “Glycolic acid is the old standby for freshening the skin,” says Beverly Hills, CA, dermatologist Rhonda Rand, MD. “It accelerates cell turnover and helps stimulate new collagen and elastin production.” An excellent exfoliator, the acid lifts away the outer layer of dead skin cells to help soften lines, wrinkles and scars and allow for the growth of new skin.
Find it in: L’Oréal Paris Revitalift Bright Reveal Peel Pads ($21), acid-drenched rounds that, when used before bed and topped with moisturizer, deliver a significantly brighter, smoother complexion.