Sodium Glycolate



No known benefits

Sodium Glycolate at a glance

  • Buffering agent used in skin care
  • Helps to adjust and stabilize the pH of a skin care formula
  • Comprised of sodium and glycolate ions
  • Related to AHAs (alpha hydroxy acids), though it does not exfoliate

Sodium Glycolate description

Sodium glycolate is a buffering agent used in skin care to help balance and adjust pH levels. It’s a synthetically made salt comprised of both glycolate and sodium ions. The pH of skin care formulas is extremely important. Using alkaline or highly acidic products can disrupt skin’s naturally acidic pH, which on average is 4.7. In cosmetics, sodium glycolate is considered safe when used in amounts of 10% or less. Despite its relation to the alpha hydroxy acid glycolic acid, sodium glycolate is not considered an effective exfoliant due to being present in salt form.

Sodium Glycolate references

  • PubChem, Accessed September 2022, ePublication
  • International Journal of Toxicology, 2017, 14S-58S

Peer-reviewed, substantiated scientific research is used to assess ingredients in this dictionary. Regulations regarding constraints, permitted concentration levels and availability vary by country and region.

Ingredient ratings


Proven and supported by independent studies. Outstanding active ingredient for most skin types or concerns.


Necessary to improve a formula's texture, stability, or penetration.


Generally non-irritating but may have aesthetic, stability, or other issues that limit its usefulness.


There is a likelihood of irritation. Risk increases when combined with other problematic ingredients.


May cause irritation, inflammation, dryness, etc. May offer benefit in some capability but overall, proven to do more harm than good.


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Not rated