Gluconolactone in your Skincare Routine: What You Need to Know

Gluconolactone is quickly becoming one of the most talked about skincare ingredients. But what exactly is gluconolactone? What does it do? And is it right for your skin? Our guide will explain gluconolactone skin benefits and how to incorporate it into your skincare routine.

What is Gluconolactone?

Gluconolactone is a polyhydroxy acid (PHA) also found naturally in fruit, honey, and wine. It acts as a gentle chemical exfoliant, helping to buff away dead skin cells. PHAs are similar to better-known acids like alpha-hydroxy (AHA) and beta-hydroxy acids (BHA), but they have a larger molecule size, so they don’t penetrate the skin as deeply. In plain terms, this means that PHAs like gluconolactone are gentler than their cousins AHA and BHA.

Benefits of Gluconolactone

While its primary purpose is to exfoliate the skin, gluconolactone also has many other benefits.

  • Exfoliation – Exfoliating is essential for those with congested skin or people living in dry climates. Gluconolactone is a gentle exfoliator that dissolves dead skin cells and helps improve skin texture and tone. Effects of exfoliation include brighter, more even skin tone, smoother skin texture, and reduced appearance of fine lines. Natural exfoliants like gluconolactone are popular because they don’t rub and pull against the skin like physical exfoliators, such as scrubs and exfoliating tools.
  • Hydration – Gluconolactone is also a humectant. Unlike other exfoliants, it attracts water from the air in your environment into the skin and helps it retain moisture, keeping your skin smooth and hydrated. Hydration is the key to healthy skin, and moisture will help keep your freshly exfoliated skin from drying.
  • Antioxidant properties – _.   Gluconolactone acts as a scavenger for free radicals and this accounts for its antioxidant property.  Gluconolactone aids in anti-aging and UV protection and can neutralize free radicals.
  • Anti-aging – Gluconolactone has anti-aging properties. Gently exfoliating the skin helps brighten dull skin and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, resulting in younger-looking skin. 
  • Gentle – Because it is so gentle, gluconolactone is safe for all skin types, including dry, sensitive, and mature skin. There are no severe side effects associated with gluconolactone. Redness, dryness, and flaking are extremely rare.
  • Acne – Gluconolactone helps to treat and prevent acne. Dead skin cells can contribute to clogged pores and breakouts. By removing dead skin cells and excess oil, gluconolactone helps keep skin clear and free from blemishes, blackheads, and breakouts.   Gluconolactone was observed to be as effective as benzoyl peroxide in the treatment of acne but to have fewer side effects.

How to use Gluconolactone

You can use gluconolactone alone or as an ingredient in your daily cleansing or exfoliating regimen. Most people use gluconolactone with other ingredients, such as a cleanser or exfoliating pad, rather than on its own. While gluconolactone does not have any adverse interactions with most skincare ingredients (including AHA, hyaluronic acid, and Vitamin C), it is not recommended to use harsh exfoliants in combination with gluconolactone, particularly if you have sensitive skin. Follow immediately with a moisturizer to help lock in hydration. Finally, use sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher to protect your skin from harmful UV rays.

Is Gluconolactone safe for all skin types?

Gluconolactone is one of the gentlest exfoliating agents in the skincare world. Gluconolactone is especially good for people with sensitive or mature skin who find AHAs and BHAs to be too strong. Gluconolactone can be effectively incorporated into skincare routines for acne-prone and mature skin.

Can I use Gluconolactone every day?

Depending on the concentration and your skin type, you may be able to use your gluconolactone product every day, even twice a day. When starting a new skincare product or routine, dermatologists often recommend using the products at night at first, as some ingredients can cause increased sensitivity to the sun. If you don’t experience irritation, you can increase usage to twice daily, in the morning and at night.

Gluconolactone in SkinTherapyMD™ Products

Gluconolactone is quickly becoming one of the buzziest names in skincare. It is a gentle exfoliant, dissolving dead skin cells and improving the skin’s overall tone and texture. It also helps your skin hold onto moisture and protects against sun damage. Because it is gentle and effective, gluconolactone can be incorporated into any skincare routine, regardless of skin type. That’s why gluconolactone is an ingredient in our SkinTherapyMD™ products. Check out all our ingredients and shop our product lines today.


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  3. Gluconolactone.  EWG’s Skin Deep Database.  Published 2018
  4. Cosmeceuticals.  Third Edition. 2016; Elsevier