A'pieu Glycolic Acid Cream review

“What’s this medicine for, and why is it among your skincare stuff? Shouldn’t we put it with all the other meds?,” Mr BWB asked me one night as I was cleansing my skin. I couldn’t blame it on his lack of interest in skincare. This time. A’pieu Glycolic Acid Cream may be an exfoliating moisturiser, but it does look a lot like an anti-rash medicine… It’s not the most glamorous cream, but it gets the job done. For beginners, at least. Here’s what I mean…

Key Ingredients In A’pieu Glycolic Acid Cream: What Makes It Work?


Glycolic Acid is the most famous member of the exfoliating Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs) family. Its job is to dissolve the “glue” that holds skin cells together so they can slough off and reveal the brighter, softer and smoother skin underneath. While it’s at it, it also hydrates skin. It works by increasing the levels of hyaluronic acid (a humectant that attracts and binds up to 1000 times its weight in water) in the skin.

The catch? Glycolic acid can be irritating, especially if you’ve never used it before. But that shouldn’t be a problem here. A’pieu Glycolic Acid Cream contains only 3% glycolic acid. It’s a high enough concentration for beginners and low enough to prevent irritations (unless your skin is super sensitive to it).

P.S. Like all exfoliants, glycolic acid can make your skin more susceptible to sun damage. Always use it with sunscreen.

Related: The Complete Guide To Glycolic Acid: What It Is, What It Does & How To Use It


Salicylic acid is the only member of the exfoliating Beta Hydroxy Acid (BHA) family used in skincare. Like AHAs, salicylic acid exfoliates the surface of your skin to reveal a brighter and smoother complexion.

Unlike AHAs, salicylic acid is oil-soluble. That means it can penetrate inside your pores and exfoliate them from within. Bye bye, acne! Oh, it has anti-inflammatory properties that soothe redness and irritations, too.

But… there’s a catch. A’pieu Glycolic Acid Cream contains only 0.45% of salicylic acid. Don’t expect results overnight. Unless your skin is super sensitive, you may be better off with a separate salicylic acid exfoliant. Just saying…

Related: AHAs VS BHA: Which One Is Best For Your Skin Type?


A’pieu Glycolic Acid Cream contains one of my fave ingredients: Niacinamide. This form of Vitamin B3 does everything:

  • It hydrates skin: It’s more effective than petrolatum at preventing water loss
  • It soothes skin: It alleviates the symptoms of rosacea and irritations
  • It lightens skin: It reduces dark spots, blotchiness (redness) and sallowness (yellowing)
  • It helps treat wrinkles: Preliminary research shows it can boost the production of skin-firming collagen
  • It treats acne: Its effects are similar to those of 1% clindamycin gel

The best part? It has no side effects. Everyone can use it.

Related: Can You Mix Niacinamide With Vitamin C?

Struggling to put together a skincare routine that banishes dryness and makes your skin supple and dewy? Download your FREE “Best Skincare Routine For Dry Skin” to get started (it features product recommendations + right application order):

The Rest Of The Formula & Ingredients

NOTE: The colours indicate the effectiveness of an ingredient. It is ILLEGAL to put toxic and harmful ingredients in skincare products.

  • Green: It’s effective, proven to work, and helps the product do the best possible job for your skin.
  • Yellow: There’s not much proof it works (at least, yet).
  • Red: What is this doing here?!
  • Betula Alba Juice: The sap from the birch tree, it’s a source of hydrating amino acids.
  • Water: The main solvent in the formula, it dissolve other ingredients.
  • Propanediol: It helps other ingredients better penetrate skin, so they work better and faster. But it can be irritating in high concentration, if you have sensitive skin.
  • Tromethamine: It helps to adjust the pH of skincare products.
  • Cetearyl Alcohol: A fatty, moisturising alcohol that makes skin softer and smoother.
  • Glycereth-26: It moisturises skin as well as thickening the texture of skincare products.
  • 1,2-Hexanediol: A synthetic preservative that helps your skincare products last longer. Plus, it has moisture-binding properties that make skin softer and smoother.
  • Butylene Glycol: It helps skincare ingredients better penetrate skin and hydrates skin to boot.
  • Glycerin: A humectant that draws moisture from the air into your skin, increasing its level of hydrating and making it softer and smoother.
  • Cyclopentasiloxane: A volatile silicone that makes the texture smoother and easier to apply. But it evaporates from skin soon after application.
  • Beeswax: A thickening agent with emollient properties.
  • Dimethicone: A heavy type of silicone that fills in fine lines and wrinkles so they look smaller. It also makes the texture velvety-soft and a pleasure to use. And no, it doesn’t suffocate skin. It has a molecular structure made up of big molecules with big gaps in between. This allows skin to perspire.
  • Polysorbate 60: It keeps the oily and watery parts of a product from separating, keeping the formula working for longer.
  • Cyclohexasiloxane: A type of silicones that gives skincare products a silky, spreadable, non-greasy texture.
  • Sorbitan Stearate: It thickens the texture of skincare products and keeps the oily and watery parts of the formula from separating.
  • PEG-240/HDI Copolymer Bis-Decyltetradeceth-20 Ether: A texture thickener.
  • Glyceryl Stearate: An emollient that makes skin softer and smoother.
  • Panthenol: It hydrates skin and soothes irritation. It’s a great ingredient for sensitive skin.
  • Artemisia Princeps Leaf Extract: A plant extract that makes skin softer and smoother.
  • Xanthan Gum: It thickens the texture of skincare products.
  • Hydroxyacetophenone: A synthetic antioxidant with hydrating properties.
  • Sodium Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer: It improves the texture of skincare products in several ways. It increases thickness and opacity. It keeps the oily and watery parts of a formula from separating. And it’s a dispersing agent, too.
  • PEG-100 Stearate: An emollient with thickening properties. It makes skin softer and smoother too.
  • Isohexadecane: It makes skin softer and smoother and enhances the texture of skincare products.
  • PEG-2M: It stabilises emulsions, so they don’t separate into its oily and watery parts. It thickens the texture, too.
  • Hydrogenated Lecithin: An emollient that makes skin softer and smoother.
  • Allantoin: It soothes skin and calms down redness and irritation.
  • Sucrose Distearate: It helps water and oil to mix, so the formula doesn’t separate into layers.
  • Polysorbate 80: It helps It helps water and oil to mix too, creating pleasant textures.
  • Adenosine: Derived from yeast, it soothes skin and reduces irritations.
  • Sorbitan Oleate: It’s an emulsifier that helps water and oil to mix, so the formula doesn’t separate into unpleasant layers.
  • Disodium EDTA: A chelating agent, a fancy way of saying it binds to the metal ions in the water and neutralises them before they can spoil the formula.
  • Pantolactone: A synthetic humectant that draws water from the air into the skin, helping to keep it hydrated.
  • Lactobacillus/Pumpkin Ferment Extract: A gentle exfoliant that removes dead cells from the surface of your skin. But it’s present in such a small amount, it won’t do too much.
  • Phenoxyethanol: A common preservative that inhibits the growth of bacteria and fungi in skincare products.
  • Ananas sativus (pineapple) fruit Extract: Another exfoliant that doesn’t really do much at this low concentration.
  • Alchemilla Vulgaris Extract: A.k.a. lady’s mantle extract, it has soothing and antioxidant properties.
  • Arnica Montana Flower Extract: A plant extract with soothing and anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Actinidia Chinensis (Kiwi) Fruit Extract: An excellent source of antioxidants that helps prevent wrinkles.
  • Pyrus Malus (Apple) Fruit Extract: It hydrates skin and has antioxidant properties that prevent wrinkles.
  • Gaultheria Procumbens (Wintergreen) Leaf Extract: It can irritate skin and has no known benefits for skin.


The cream has a gel-like texture that spreads easily on the skin. It feels a bit siliconey (silicones are here to help spreadability), but I don’t mind that. I’ve read a few reviews that say the texture is greasy, but I don’t find that at all. Maybe on oily skin, but then oily skin shouldn’t use glycolic acid. Stick to salicylic acid, ladies!


It’s fragrance-free. I like that. I know it makes the product smell boring (it doesn’t have much of a scent at all), but that’s good news for sensitive skin. Fragrance is one of the most irritating ingredient in skincare and has no place in a moisturiser, especially an exfoliating one.

How To Use It

You may be tempted to use it as a moisturiser, as that’s what it is. But when a moisturiser has exfoliating properties, you need to use like an exfoliant. What does it mean? Use it two to three nights a week, as the last step of your skincare routine. Avoiding using it on nights you use retinoids, as that could be too much for skin and irritate it.

Performance & Personal Opinion

A’pieu Glycolic Acid Cream stings. I didn’t expect it. I can use higher concentrations of glycolic acid without feeling a single tingling. A tiny 3% concentration should not feel this unpleasant…

It’s not the glycolic acid. A quick look at the ingredient list pointed out the culprit: Propanediol. It’s a solvent that enhances the penetration of active ingredients, but there’s so much of it here (it’s the 3rd ingredient), it tends to irritate skin.

If your skin’s sensitive, I would skip this. If it’s dry like mine, you may use it a couple of times a week – if you don’t find it too unpleasant. At least the stinging doesn’t last long… Usually, I apply exfoliating products straight after cleansing. But this is a cream so I use it as the last step of my evening routine.

Mind you, I keep my routine short: one cleanse, antioxidant serum and A’pieu Glycolic Acid Cream (I use retinol on nights I don’t exfoliate). I don’t recommend you use an exfoliating cream (especially one with such a low amount of acids) after 10 layers. Don’t make it too hard for glycolic acid to reach your skin and do its job.

Once the stinging has faded away, the cream felt moisturising on my skin. When I wake up in the morning, my skin is smooth and soft. What about its exfoliating properties? Results are slow here. If you’re used to higher concentrations of glycolic acid, this won’t do much for you.

If you’re a newbie, you’ll see results – slowly. You have to use it consistently to see an improvement. Once you’ve run out, you may want to consider stepping up your game and go with a higher dose, too.

Apiu glycolic acid cream

What I Like About A’pieu Glycolic Acid Cream

  • Gel-like, fast-absorbing texture
  • Fragrance-free
  • Makes skin softer and smoother

What I DON’T Like About A’pieu Glycolic Acid Cream

  • Very low concentrations of exfoliating acids, so it works slowly
  • It stings
  • It can irritate sensitive skin

Who Should Use This?

Dry skin new to glycolic acid. Instead, don’t use if you have:

  • Acne-prone skin: you need salicylic acid – a 2% concentration at least
  • Oily skin: you need salicylic acid, too
  • Sensitive skin: this stings!!
  • Used glycolic acid for years: 3% is too low for you if you’re already used to higher doses


This exfoliating moisturiser comes in a white and blue tube that makes it look like a medicine. It’s not the prettiest, but it’s functional. But it may be hard to get some of the cream out once it’s almost finished.

Does A’pieu Glycolic Acid Cream Live Up To Its Claims?

A’Pieu’s Glycolic Acid Cream is a multi-tasking, moisturiser that smooths, refines, clarifies and brightens, whilst improving your skin’s thickness and elasticity.  Technically, glycolic acid can do all these things. But there’s very little of it here, so results are small and slow.
Featuring 3% glycolic acid that sink deeply into skin, the formula dissolves pore-clogging debris to minimise the appearance of open pores and fine lines.  It’s true it has 3% glycolic acid, but that’s NOT what dissolves pore-clogging debris. Salicylic acid does that.

Price & Availability

Available at: $15.00/£9.05 at iHerb and Yes Style

The Verdict: Should You Buy It?

I personality am not the biggest fan. It has very low concentrations of exfoliants, but it stings skin.

Dupes & Alternatives

  • Mario Badescu Glycolic Skin Renewal Complex ($35.00): A basic glycolic acid moisturiser that also hydrates skin. Available at Mario Badescu.


Betula Alba Juice, Water, Propanediol, Tromethamine, Glycolic Acid, Cetearyl Alcohol, Glycereth-26, 1,2-Hexanediol, Niacinamide, Butylene Glycol, Glycerin, Cyclopentasiloxane, Beeswax, Dimethicone, Polysorbate 60, Cyclohexasiloxane, Sorbitan Stearate, PEG-240/HDI Copolymer Bis-Decyltetradeceth-20 Ether, Glyceryl Stearate, Panthenol, Salicylic Acid, Artemisia Princeps Leaf Extract, Xanthan Gum, Hydroxyacetophenone, Sodium Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, PEG-100 Stearate, Isohexadecane, PEG-2M, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Allantoin, Sucrose Distearate, Polysorbate 80, Adenosine, Sorbitan Oleate, Disodium EDTA, Pantolactone, Lactobacillus/Pumpkin Ferment Extract, Phenoxyethanol, Ananas sativus (pineapple) fruit Extract, Alchemilla Vulgaris Extract, Arnica Montana Flower Extract, Actinidia Chinensis (Kiwi) Fruit Extract, Pyrus Malus (Apple) Fruit Extract, Gaultheria Procumbens (Wintergreen) Leaf Extract