glycolic acid


gly·​col·​ic acid (ˌ)glī-ˈkä-lik- How to pronounce glycolic acid (audio)
variants or glycollic 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 The spot treatment uses a blend of glycolic acid, retinol, kojic acid, and vitamin C to diminish the appearance of dark spots from acne or sun damage. Kiana Murden, Vogue, 8 July 2024 But knowing your mandelic acid from your glycolic acid or when to use an exfoliating tool can be overwhelming. Kari Molvar, Vogue, 1 July 2024 And there was education that needed to be done: Some of the brand’s products contain ingredients like retinol, a form of vitamin A that can smooth fine lines, and glycolic acid, which helps resurface skin. Dianna Mazzone Singh, Allure, 20 June 2024 Five percent glycolic acid, licorice root extract, and silk proteins team up to provide exfoliation and even out skin tone, all while protecting the skin’s hydration levels. Kiana Murden, Vogue, 17 June 2024 See all Example Sentences for glycolic acid 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'glycolic acid.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


International Scientific Vocabulary glycol + -ic entry 1

First Known Use

1852, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of glycolic acid was in 1852

Dictionary Entries Near glycolic acid

Cite this Entry

“Glycolic acid.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Jul. 2024.

Medical Definition

glycolic acid

variants also glycollic 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

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