Follow us on our new Insta page »


What-it-does: exfoliant, chelating

Official CosIng Information

Quick Facts

  • It’s a polyhydroxy acid (PHA), that is often referred to as next generation AHA
  • It gently lifts off dead skin cells form the skin surface making skin smooth and even
  • In the long term it provides anti-aging benefits, like increased skin thickness and decreased wrinkles (though a tad less than even more proven superstar AHAs)
  • It’s a great moisturizer and even helps to repair impaired skin barrier
  • It’s antioxidant, and does not make your skin more sensitive to the sun
  • It can be used even if your skin is very sensitive, rosacea prone or if you are post cosmetic procedure

Geeky Details

Gluconolactone is kind of an acid, even though you would probably not guess it from its name. It’s a PHA, or polyhydroxy acid. PHAs are close relatives to the famous AHAs, both in terms of similar chemical structure and similar effects on the skin. They are often marketed as new-generation AHAs. So if AHAs do not tell you anything, you can read all about them here. Go and read. We tell you, it’s worth the time.

So the main promise of gluconolactone (and also its brother, the other most often used PHA, lactobionic acid) is that it has comparable awesome skin benefits to AHAs but without the irritation as a side effect. Sounds great, right?

There was a study done in 2004 that compared a PHA skincare regimen and an AHA skincare regimen  for 12 weeks focusing on irritation and anti-aging benefits. The result? PHAs scored much better at irritation, stinging and burning (and much better means of course much less), and they scored very similar for anti-aging, skin-smoothing effects. There were only two aspects where the AHAs scored a bit better: pinch recoil and skin sallowness. 

Being gentle on the skin probably comes from the larger molecular size, that means less penetration and less irritation. In fact PHAs are so gentle that you can even use them if your skin is very sensitive (even if you have rosacea or atopic dermatitis) and they are also suggested post cosmetic procedure to prolong and enhance the skincare benefits. 

Another area where PHAs excel is skin moisturization. They are better at that than AHAs and can help to repair the skin barrier. They are also shown to work successfully together and enhance the benefits of other actives, including azelaic acid for rosacea or hydroquinone for hyperpigmentation. 

And that’s still not all. Gluconolactone also has antioxidant and chelating properties, which means that it can prevent oxidation of easily oxidised other things. Actually, it’s antioxidant effect is comparable to famous Vit C (though to be fair Vit C is awesome but not a particularly strong antioxidant in itself). 

And one more super interesting study result: as opposed to AHAs that increase sun sensitivity,  gluconolactone was shown not to do that. Not that we want to tell you not to use sunscreen if you use a gluconolactone exfoliant (please always use sunscreen!), but we thought this is interesting. 

Bottom line: Gluconolactone is a superstar and especially if your skin is sensitive it’s a must try. It will smooth your skin, even out the skin tone and even give anti-aging benefits and all this without irritation. Yep, must try. 

Show me some proof

  • Cutis., 2004 Feb;73(2 Suppl):14-7., A polyhydroxy acid skin care regimen provides antiaging effects comparable to an alpha-hydroxyacid regimen.
  • Cutis.,2004 Feb;73(2 Suppl):3-13., The use of polyhydroxy acids (PHAs) in photoaged skin.
  • Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, , Volume 5 (1) – Mar 1, 2006, An evaluation of a polyhydroxy acid skin care regimen in combination with azelaic acid 15% gel in rosacea patients
  • Dermatologic Surgery, , Volume 30 (2) – Feb 1, 2004, The Polyhydroxy Acid Gluconolactone Protects Against Ultraviolet Radiation in an In Vitro Model of Cutaneous Photoaging
  • Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, , Volume 4 (1) – Jan 1, 2005, After 30 years … the future of hydroxyacids
  • Hunt, Michelle J., and Ross StC Barnetson. "A comparative study of gluconolactone versus benzoyl peroxide in the treatment of acne." Australasian journal of dermatology 33.3 (1992): 131-134.

Products with a known amount of Gluconolactone

Other products with Gluconolactone

Neostrata Reactive Skin Neutralizing Serum Biologique Recherche Lotion P50 Biologique Recherche Lotion P50 V Biologique Recherche Lotion P50 W COSRX Low Ph Pha Barrier Mist Exuviance Age Reverse Night Lift Exuviance Evening Restorative Complex Filorga Oxygen-Peel Loção Micropeeling Reoxigenante GHD Heat Protect Spray Garden of Wisdom Pha Plus Serum Garden of Wisdom Pha Plus Serum Gold Bond Rough & Bumpy Skin Daily Therapy Cream Kicks 10% Aha + 10% Pha Face Concentrate Neostrata Bionic Lotion Neostrata Bionic Lotion -15 Bionic/Pha Neostrata Daytime Protection Cream Spf 23 Neostrata Eye Cream Neostrata PHA Facial Cleanser Neostrata Ultra Moisturizing Face Cream Novexpert Vitamin C The Peeling Night Cream Ole Henriksen Truth On The Glow Cleansing Cloths SVR Sebiaclear Active SVR Sebiaclear Cicapeel SVR Sebiaclear Serum SVR Sebiaclear Cicapeel Anti-Spot Anti-Marks 24H Targeted Active Gel A.Florence Skincare BHA / PHA Exfoliating Toner With 1.5% Salicylic Acid + 5% Gluconolactone Bakel Lactobionic Anti-Age Serum Exuviance Antiredness Calming Serum Exuviance Bionic Oxygen Facial Exuviance Probiotic Lysate Anti-Pollution Essence Garden of Wisdom Retistar Retinol 1% Serum HANNAN MEDISPA Acne Scar Serum HUMAN NATURE Hydrating Face Toner ISIS PHARMA Teen Derm® K Concentrate Isntree Clear Skin Pha Sleeping Mask Jordan Samuel Skin Hydrate Facial Serum MyChelle Dermaceuticals Remarkable Retinal Serum Neostrata Bionic Face Cream Neostrata Tri-Therapy Lifting Serum No7 Laboratories Dark Spot Correcting Booster Serum PCA Skin Bpo 5 Percent Cleanser Phace bioactive Detoxifying Gel Cleanser SVR Sebiaclear Mat + Pores The Inkey List PHA Toner [ten.twelve] skincare Mask To Reveal Exfoliating Leave-On Gel Mask 3INA The Toner A.Florence Skincare Aha/Pha Exfoliating Toner With 5% Lactic Acid + 4% Pha BE.LOVED Trust Yourself Toner With 15% Gluconolactone Dermasence MelaBlok Dermosil Exfoliating Night Serum