glycolic acid

gly·​col·​ic acid | \ (ˌ)glī-ˈkä-lik- How to pronounce glycolic acid (audio) \
variants: or glycollic acid

Definition of glycolic acid

: an alpha hydroxy acid C2H4O3 found especially in unripe grapes and sugar beets and used especially in textile and leather processing and in skin-care treatments especially as an exfoliant

Examples of glycolic acid in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

When choosing yours, there are a few key ingredients to look for: Salicylic or glycolic acid: These ingredients help exfoliate the skin. Jenn Sinrich, SELF, "5 Signs You're Dealing with Hormonal Acne—and How to Treat It," 2 July 2019 The tan eraser spray contains a dose of glycolic acid to dissolve the tanning pigments, along with moisturizing coconut and avocado oils to counteract any irritation. Chloe Metzger, Marie Claire, "This Woman's Self-Tanner Fail Left Her Foot Orange," 17 Oct. 2018 The alcohol-free toning solution contains glycolic acid and aloe vera to exfoliate and soothe the skin simultaneously, in addition to other complexion-loving agents, and has been lauded as one of the best brightening products in the game. Kaleigh Fasanella, Allure, "Pixi by Petra’s Glow Tonic Available in Limited-Edition Size Today Only," 21 Mar. 2019 Over-the-counter topical products that contain azelaic acid, salicylic acid, glycolic acid, or sulfur are generally milder, yet effective, options. Nikhita Mahtani, SELF, "How to Safely Treat Your Postpartum Acne," 24 Apr. 2019 The cleanser, which counts sulfur, salicylic acid, and glycolic acid as key ingredients, has a creamy consistency that lathers into a soft foam to offer a thorough cleanse. Karina Hoshikawa, Allure, "Exclusive: M-61 Is Launching a Cleanser and Moisturizer for Adult Acne," 11 Mar. 2019 Her pick: glycolic acid, which is the hero ingredient in both of her new products. Sophie Wirt, Allure, "Exclusive: Dr. Pimple Popper Launches SLMD Skincare Body Smoothing System for Keratosis Pilaris," 22 Aug. 2018 The glycolic acid in them gently exfoliates and helps turn over skin cells on your bum. Carolyn Twersky, Seventeen, "Say "See Ya Bye" to Body Acne with These Helpful Tips," 21 Mar. 2017 Use a product that contains a mix of alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) like lactic and glycolic acid, like ProX by Olay Nightly Purifying Micro-Peel ($29.54, to gently remove the top layer of your skin, which will even out discolorations. Melissa Matthews, Woman's Day, "The Foolproof Anti-Aging Skin Routine," 24 Aug. 2015

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'glycolic acid.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of glycolic acid

1852, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for glycolic acid

International Scientific Vocabulary glycol + -ic entry 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about glycolic acid

Statistics for glycolic acid

Last Updated

15 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for glycolic acid

The first known use of glycolic acid was in 1852

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for glycolic acid

glycolic acid

variants: also glycollic acid

Medical Definition of glycolic acid

: an alpha hydroxy acid C2H4O3 that is oxidized to glyoxylic acid in photosynthesis, is used as an agent to produce chemical peels in cutaneous rejuvenation treatments, and is the major toxic metabolite in ethylene glycol poisoning

called also hydroxyacetic acid

More from Merriam-Webster on glycolic acid Encyclopedia article about glycolic acid

Comments on glycolic acid

What made you want to look up glycolic acid? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


characterized by aphorism

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Farm Idioms Quiz

  • cow coming home
  • What does 'poke' refer to in the expression 'pig in a poke'?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Dictionary Devil

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!