Four Reasons You Should Know About Gluconolactone



What is Gluconolactone?

Gluconolactone is an acid, used in skincare formulations to help increase skin cell turnover and improve the appearance of aging skin. It works in a similar way to AHAs and BHAs but is better for sensitive skin types. It is part of a group of acids called PHAs or polyhydroxy acid, which differs from alpha and beta hydroxy acids, such as lactic acid and glycolic acid. While these other acids can often be found in anti-aging creams, serums, and facial peels, they can be damaging to the skin if used in high concentrations. When used in high concentrations, AHAs and BHAs can break down the skin mantle barrier, sensitizing the skin and potentially causing dryness. 

While Gluconolactone is an acid, it has shown to be gentler on the skin because of its molecular structure, which is larger than that of other types of acids that are used in skincare products. However, there is a drawback to this, as products that contain Gluconolactone may not penetrate the upper layers of the skin to work on deeper wrinkles under the surface of the skin.

For those with sensitive or sensitive aging skin, products that contain this ingredient may be a better choice and may have a number of advantages despite Gluconolactone’s low-level penetrative ability.


the good: Smooth skin texture, helps hydration, improves the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, and helps increase skin cell turnover.

the not so good: Doesn’t penetrate as deeply as other acids which means that it may not give you as a greater improvement as quickly.

Who is it for?All skin types except those that have an identified allergy to it. Gluconolactone is particularly beneficial for sensitive skin types.

Synergetic ingredients:Works well with most ingredients

Keep an eye on:Nothing to keep your eyes on here.

Who Should Use Products with Gluconolactone?

If you have used in-home or professional peels in the past that contains AHAs to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, you may have experienced one or more side effects from acid-based ingredients, such as peeling, redness, and sensitivity to the sun. These side effects can be irritating and even painful while you wait for the upper layers of skin to slough away and reveal new growth underneath. If you find that your skin cannot tolerate other acids, then products that contain Gluconolactone may be a better option for you. Similar to other acids, gluconolactone is used 2-3 times a week depending on the strength and formulation. 

What Are the Benefits of Gluconolactone?

If you are considering the use of products that contain Gluconolactone, you may be wondering how effective this ingredient is when compared to AHAs or beta hydroxy acids that are usually used more frequently. Tests on photoaging and Gluconolactone show that this acid reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles that are associated with photoaging after six weeks, and that even greater results were visible after twelve weeks. This means that if you use a cream or serum that contains this ingredient, you will not see immediate results, but after a month or so of continuous use, you should start to see a reduction in fine lines and wrinkles. This makes Gluconolactone a viable ingredient choice for those who aren’t looking for a quick fix for their aging skin and want a product that will give them long-term results instead.

If you have sensitive skin, you should make an effort to understand how long-term use of Gluconolactone may affect your skin and whether it may cause damage that other acids may cause, such as a loss of pigmentation in the treated area.

Anti-aging and texture
Gluconolactone, through exfoliation, helps to improve the texture of the surface of the skin by removing dead skin cells and promoting skin cell turnover. This has an added effect of improving the overall appearance of the skin, including fine lines and wrinkles. 

As gluconolactone removes the dead skin cells from the surface of the skin it allows other ingredients to work more effectively and allows the skin to better regulate its moisture content. Dead skin cells, when they sit on the surface of the skin allow moisture to escape from the skin. Moisture loss is one of the causes of aged-looking skin

Gluconolactone is an acid, it works by gently eating away at the dead skin cells. Exfoliation has been found to help reduce the appearance of blackheads and reduce debris that often forms the basis of breakouts. Exfoliation also helps the skin to renew its own skin cells.  

New research suggests that gluconolactone may also have antimicrobial properties. This means that it may be beneficial for congested or acne-prone skin types. This research is relatively new and this indication has not been fully explored yet. 

Is Gluconolactone Safe?

Since Gluconolactone is not as acidic as most AHAs, it is gentle on the skin and has a low instance of side effects. However, those with thin or highly sensitive skin should speak with their dermatologist about using products that contain Gluconolactone and whether it is the best ingredient choice for treating fine lines and wrinkles. If you have sensitive or compromised skin such as a flare-up of eczema or dermatitis it is best to avoid this ingredient until the flare-up has resolved. 

Kornhauser, A, Coelho, S, & Hearing, V, 2010. ‘Applications of hydroxy acids: classification, mechanisms, and photoactivity’, Clinical, Cosmetic and Investigational Dermatology, vol. 3, pp. 135–142. Kantikosum, K, Chongpison, Y, Chottawornsak, N, & Asawanonda, P, 2019. ‘The efficacy of glycolic acid, salicylic acid, gluconolactone, and licochalcone A combined with 0.1% adapalene vs adapalene monotherapy in mild-to-moderate acne vulgaris: a double-blinded within-person comparative study.’ Clinical, Cosmetic and Investigational Dermatology, vol. 12, pp. 151–161.



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