You may not have guessed by its name, but gluconolactone is a chemical exfoliating acid. It's part of the polyhydroxy acid (PHA) family, which formulators and cosmetic chemists call the "new generation" or "gentler cousin" of alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs). Its natural compassion for all complexions and ability to play well—and boost the effectiveness of—other acids is one of the many reasons Youth To The People tapped it as one of the hero ingredients powering the Mandelic Acid + Superfood Unity Exfoliant.
“Gluconolactone is just as effective as AHAs but dramatically less sensitizing, if at all,” says Jacob del Rosario, Director of Field Sales + Education at Youth To The People, continuing, “It's great for super sensitive and mature skin types.” It's so gentle, dermatologists have even recommended it for patients with rosacea-prone skin and for use after professional treatments.
Once it hits your skin, gluconolactone works to gently lift dull, dead surface skin cells, smooth out any rough texture, and even skin tone, adds del Rosario.
Much like mandelic acid, gluconolactone has a larger molecular structure. Geeky science fact: the larger the molecule, the slower it absorbs into the skin. Irritation? Don't know her. This also means you don't have to restrict how often you use it within your weekly routine.
In addition to functioning as an exfoliant, gluconolactone earns skin health-boosting bonus points for its dual roles as an antioxidant and a humectant, meaning in the long-term it can have youth-sustaining effects for skin, and it also draws water into the skin to immediately boost hydration and strengthen a compromised skin barrier. With a list of multitasking abilities, what's not to love about this high-performance, total softie of an acid?