Glycolic acid is an organic alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) found in many skin-care products. It can be synthetic or isolated from natural sources like pineapple, cantaloupe, sugarcane, sugar beets and unripe grapes.
Glycolic acid is used in a variety of ways, including as dyeing and tanning agent, a flavoring agent in foods and in various skin care products. It has an excellent capability to penetrate the skin and therefore is used most often in the cosmetic industry in chemical peels. Used this way, it was the ability to improve skin appearance and texture (reducing wrinkles and acne scarring, for example).