A’pieu Glycolic Acid Cream Has Only 3% Glycolic Acid. Is It Enough To Exfoliate Skin?

by Gio
Apiu glycolic acid cream

“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 but it gets the job done. For beginners, at least. Here’s what I mean…

Key Ingredients In A’pieu Glycolic Acid Cream

Glycolic Acid To Exfoliate Skin

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 To Unclog Pores

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 the 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?

Niacinamide To Hydrate, Soothe And Brighten

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

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

Related: Can You Mix Niacinamide With Vitamin C?

Let’s Put It To The Test: Personal Use & 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…

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!

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.

Available at: $15.00/£9.05 at Soko Glam and Yes Style


Have you tried A’pieu Glycolic Acid Cream? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Ingredients: 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



Emma July 31, 2019 - 1:41 pm

Hi Gio, just interested in why Propanediol is irritating? It’s the main ingredient in one of my serum (The Ordinary Ascorbic Acid 8% + Alpha Arbutin 2%) which I am currently finding a but irritating. I put it down to the actives but I’ve been able to tolerate Ascobic Acid in past without much problem… just wondering if it could be the Propanediol instead? Thanks for a great review!

Gio August 9, 2019 - 4:33 pm

Emma, propanediol is a penetration enhancer. So if you’re using a lot of it with powerful actives like Vitamin C or glycolic acid, it can cause irritations.


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