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

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web This cream nourishes your skin using a mix of retinol, glycolic acid, and hydrating shea butter while giving long-lasting anti-aging benefits., 18 Apr. 2023 Megababe’s biodegradable wipes, infused with glycolic acid, botanical extracts, cucumber, and mint, are individually wrapped and effectively refresh the skin, while Kosas’ beloved natural deodorant works to combat body odor while soothing and brightening. Kiana Murden, Vogue, 31 May 2022 What skin type is best suited for glycolic acid? Roxanne Adamiyatt, Town & Country, 15 Apr. 2021 This sunscreen lotion contains SPF 30 to stop new dark spots from forming and a combination of glycolic acid, vitamin C, and retinol to treat any existing discoloration and brighten your complexion, Dr. Zeichner says. Neha Tandon, Women's Health, 20 Mar. 2023 There is data suggesting that chemical exfoliators like glycolic acid also help stimulate collagen production. Jasmine Washington, Seventeen, 17 Mar. 2023 This intensive serum harnesses the power of tranexamic acid, which is a great ingredient for inhibiting pigment, in tandem with glycolic acid to clear dull/dead skin cells. Sarah Han, Allure, 11 Oct. 2022 It's made with a high concentration of glycolic acid yet was least likely to sting skin in Lab testing. Catharine Malzahn, Good Housekeeping, 26 July 2022 It’s got a mega-dose of skin-smoothing glycolic acid, to the tune of 34 percent. Adam Hurly, Robb Report, 24 Feb. 2022 See More

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 27 May. 2023.

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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