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Data: Fair

Glycolic Acid

  • Products with the EWG VERIFIED mark have met use restrictions and warnings based on EWG review of company data.

IMAGE SOURCE: PubChem

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Other Concerns

Use restrictions (high) and Irritation (skin, eyes, or lungs) (high)

SYNONYMS

ACETIC ACID, HYDROXY, ACETIC ACID, HYDROXY-, GLYCOLIC ACID, GLYCOLIC ALPHA-HYDROXY ACID, GLYCOLLIC ACID, HYDROXY- ACETIC ACID, HYDROXYACETIC ACID, and HYDROXYETHANOIC ACID

Gylcolic acid is an alpha hydroxy acid; used in chemical peels and anti-aging skin products; can irritate skin.

Common concerns

See how this product scores for common concerns.

  • LOW
    Cancer
  • LOW
    Allergies & Immunotoxicity
  • LOW
    Developmental and Reingredientive Toxicity
  • HIGH
    Use Restrictions

Ingredient concerns

  • CONCERNS
  • DATA SOURCES

Products with this Ingredient

Expand content Collapse content
mask85 products
exfoliant/scrub77 products
serums & essences70 products
facial moisturizer/treatment67 products
facial cleanser63 products
toners/astringents60 products
moisturizer21 products
body wash/cleanser15 products
shampoo13 products
foot cleansing13 products
around-eye cream8 products
bar soap6 products
hair treatment/serum5 products
foot moisturizer5 products
daily use with SPF4 products
anti-aging4 products
after shave4 products
conditioner4 products
hair styling aide3 products
liquid hand soap3 products
body oil3 products
sunless tanning3 products
oil controller3 products
makeup remover3 products
body firming lotion2 products
setting powder/spray2 products
skin fading/lightener2 products
hand sanitizer2 products
damaged skin treatment1 products
foot odor control1 products
1 products
beard cleanser1 products
makeup primer1 products
recreational sunscreen1 products
nail treatment1 products
brow liner1 products
cuticle treatment1 products
hand cream1 products
detangler1 products
depilatory1 products
hair color and bleaching1 products
baby oil1 products
shaving cream (men's)1 products

Irritation (skin, eyes, or lungs)

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CONCERN REFERENCE
Classified as skin irritantOpen scientific literature

Use restrictions

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CONCERN REFERENCE
Violation of industry recommendations - Restricted in cosmetics; use, concentration, or manufacturing restrictions - Allowable pH limitsCosmetic Ingredient Review Assessments
Restricted in cosmetics (recommendations or requirements) - use, concentration, or manufacturing restrictions - Use is restricted in Canadian cosmeticsCanada - Prohibited and Restricted Cosmetics Ingredients
Determined safe for use in cosmetics, subject to concentration or use limitations - Safe for use in cosmetics with some qualificationsCosmetic Ingredient Review Assessments

Occupational hazards

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CONCERN REFERENCE
Single case study detailing occupational hazardsNational Library of Medicine HazMap

Data gaps

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CONCERN REFERENCE
Risk assessment method deficiencies and data gaps - Maximum reported "as used" concentration is basis of safety assessment by industry safety panel (Cosmetic Ingredient Review, CIR) - implicit safe concentration limit in productCosmetic Ingredient Review Assessments
3765 studies in PubMed science library may include information on the toxicity of this chemicalNLM PubMed

Cancer

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CONCERN REFERENCE
Not likely to be carcinogenic in humansOpen scientific literature

Ecotoxicology

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CONCERN REFERENCE
Not suspected to be an environmental toxinEnvironment Canada Domestic Substance List

Organ system toxicity (non-reproductive)

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CONCERN REFERENCE
Classified as not expected to be potentially toxic or harmfulEnvironment Canada Domestic Substance List
Classified as a low human health priorityEnvironment Canada Domestic Substance List

Persistence and bioaccumulation

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CONCERN REFERENCE
Not suspected to be persistentEnvironment Canada Domestic Substance List
Not suspected to be bioaccumulativeEnvironment Canada Domestic Substance List

Informational

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CONCERN REFERENCE
Industry or government recommendations for safe use: restrictions on concentration, impurities, product types, or manufacturing methods - Allowable pH limitsCosmetic Ingredient Review Assessments
  • Open scientific/peer reviewed literature
  • CIR (Cosmetic Ingredient Review). 2006. CIR Compendium, containing abstracts, discussions, and conclusions of CIR cosmetic ingredient safety assessments. Washington DC.
  • Health Canada. 2007. List of Prohibited and Restricted Cosmetic Ingredients. Canada's Cosmetic Ingredient Hotlist. March 2007.
  • NLM (National Library of Medicine). 2006. HazMap — Occupational Exposure to Hazardous Agents.
  • NLM (National Library of Medicine). 2012. PubMed online scientific bibliography data. http://www.pubmed.gov.
  • EC (Environment Canada). 2008. Domestic Substances List Categorization. Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA) Environmental Registry.

Understanding scores

Cosmetics and personal care products are not required to be tested for safety before being allowed on the market. The Skin Deep® scoring system was designed to help the public understand whether a product is safe to use or whether it contains ingredients of concern.

Every product and ingredient in Skin Deep gets a two-part score – one for hazard and one for data availability. The safest products score well by both measures, with a low hazard rating and a fair or better data availability rating.

HOW WE DETERMINE SCORES

Hazard score

The Skin Deep ingredient hazard score, from 1 to 10, reflects known and suspected hazards linked to the ingredients. The EWG VERIFIED™ mark means a product meets EWG’s strictest criteria for transparency and health.

Score legend

Data availability

The Skin Deep data availability rating reflects the number of scientific studies about the product or ingredient in the published scientific literature.

NONE LIMITED FAIR GOOD ROBUST
Low Availability
Moderate Availability
High Availability

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