A PHA derived from glucose. It has exfoliating and humectant properties and acts as a penetration enhancer for other ingredients. It has also been shown to assist in the treatment of acne and the prevention of photoaging.
All functions


Gluconolactone is an ingredient from the second generation of AHAs - a group called Poly-hydroxy acids (PHA). They are derived from sugars and have the same, gentle exfoliating effect.

Gluconolactone is derived from glucose. It is used in skincare in a way similar to AHAs like glycolic or lactic acid: it is a gently exfoliating and humectant moisturizing ingredient that is able to enhance the beneficial effects of other ingredients and procedures (like laser treatment, dermabrasion, retinoids, or hydroquinone).

It is also a beneficial ingredient for acne treatment. One study showed that 14% gluconolactone lotion was able to reduce the number of inflamed lesions only somewhat less efficiently than a 5% benzoyl peroxide solution. Another study shows that gluconolactone can be a beneficial ingredient in the battle against sun-induced skin aging.

Gluconolactone has been shown to be better tolerated and to produce fewer side effects when compared to AHAs. There is less burning, irritation, and redness (even after prolonged use) and the exfoliating and anti-aging benefits are comparably good.


Edison, B. et al.. (2004). A Polyhydroxy Acid Skin Care Regimen Provides Antiaging Effects Comparable to an Alpha-Hydroxyacid Regimen. Cutis; cutaneous medicine for the practitioner. 73. 14-7.
Grimes, P. E., Green, B. A., Wildnauer, R. H., & Edison, B. L. (2004). The use of polyhydroxy acids (PHAs) in photoaged skin. Cutis, 73(2 Suppl), 3–13.
Hunt, M. J., & Barnetson, R. S. (1992). A comparative study of gluconolactone versus benzoyl peroxide in the treatment of acne. The Australasian journal of dermatology, 33(3), 131–134.
Bernstein, E. F., et al. (2004). The polyhydroxy acid gluconolactone protects against ultraviolet radiation in an in vitro model of cutaneous photoaging. Dermatologic surgery : official publication for American Society for Dermatologic Surgery [et al.], 30(2 Pt 1), 189–196.