Toggle navigation
Toggle search

Glycolic acid (On the skin)

Glycolic Acid (glye-KOL-ik AS-id)

Used as a cleanser for your skin or scalp.

Brand Name(s):

Aqua Glycolic Hand & Body

There may be other brand names for this medicine.

When This Medicine Should Not Be Used:

You should not use this medicine if you have had an allergic reaction to glycolic acid or alpha hydroxy acid.

How to Use This Medicine:

Lotion, Shampoo

  • Your doctor will tell you how much medicine to use. Do not use more than directed.
  • Follow the instructions on the medicine label if you are using this medicine without a prescription.
  • Use this medicine only on your skin. Rinse it off right away if it gets on a cut or scrape. Do not get the medicine in your eyes, nose, or mouth.
  • Apply a thin layer of the medicine to the affected area. Rub it in gently.
  • Use the lotion form of this medicine one time per day. If it does not irritate your skin, you may use it two times daily. Do not use the lotion more than two times in 24 hours.
  • Use the shampoo form of this medicine one time per day. Wet your hair and massage the shampoo into your scalp. Leave this lather on for 2 or 3 minutes and then rinse it out completely. Do not apply the shampoo a second time. You may also use the shampoo as a body wash. Be sure to rinse it off completely.

How to Store and Dispose of This Medicine:

  • Store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light.
  • Ask your pharmacist, doctor, or health caregiver about the best way to dispose of any outdated medicine or medicine no longer needed.
  • Keep all medicine out of the reach of children. Never share your medicine with anyone.

Drugs and Foods to Avoid:

Ask your doctor or pharmacist before using any other medicine, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.

Warnings While Using This Medicine:

  • If this medicine irritates your skin or scalp, stop using it and call your doctor.

Possible Side Effects While Using This Medicine:

Call your doctor right away if you notice any of these side effects:

  • Allergic reaction: Itching or hives, swelling in your face or hands, swelling or tingling in your mouth or throat, chest tightness, trouble breathing
  • Burning, stinging, itching, or redness of your skin where the medicine is applied.

If you notice other side effects that you think are caused by this medicine, tell your doctor

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088

Last Updated: 5/1/2020

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites.

All rights reserved

A.D.A.M. content is best viewed in IE9 or above, Firefox and chrome browser.

We are physicians, hospitals and communities working together to help you live better.