If you feel that your skin needs to be refreshed or you would like to reveal a more youthful appearance and smoother looking skin, you might benefit from a glycolic acid peel. This article will explain what a glycolic acid peel is, how it works, what it’s used for, and the benefits it offers.

What Is A Glycolic Acid Peel?

woman before and after using an skin peel

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A glycolic acid peel is a type of chemical peel. Chemical peels are applied to the skin, usually the face. They are allowed to dry for a very short time and then neutralized with a cleansing solution to stop the action of the acid. Some contain alpha hydroxy acids, some contain trichloroacetic acid and some contain phenol.

Glycolic acid is a form of alpha hydroxy acid comes from sugar cane. Since it has the smallest molecular structure of the alpha hydroxy acids, it can be absorbed more deeply into the skin. This makes it particularly effective at sloughing of dry skin, black heads and acne. It is also great for reducing the look of fine lines.

How Does A Glycolic Acid Peel Work?

Glycolic acid peels exfoliate the very top, dead layer of our skin to expose the newer skin beneath. This helps to make scars smoother, dark spots lighter and slough away dry, flaky skin. These peels clean the pores by removing old deposits of oil and blackheads with the top layer of skin.

Some of us have a misapprehension that glycolic acid peels leave us with red, raw skin for days afterward. However, glycolic acid peels have become much more gentle as the formulas advanced. Now, most skin types can benefit from a glycolic acid peel without taking days off of work because we could scare small children with our shiny red splotches.

What Is A Glycolic Acid Peel Used For?

Some of the best uses for a glycolic acid peel include:

  • Treating any uneven texture or color in your skin.
  • Reducing the appearance of acne scars by literally smoothing out the edges.
  • Reducing the appearance of dark spots on the skin by causing them to lighten and blend with the surrounding tone.
  • Eliminating freckles on our skin after several treatments.
  • Help to eliminate fine lines. As the old layer of skin is sloughed away, the new layers are stimulated beneath to produce fresh skin growth and collagen.
  • Reducing the appearance of deeper wrinkles in the same way that they reduce the appearance of fine lines and acne scars.

Benefits Of A Glycolic Acid Peel

The largest benefit of a glycolic acid peel is that after using the appropriate type of acid peel for one’s skin tone, users will have much younger looking skin with fewer wrinkles and more even skin tone.

Of course, a huge advantage that glycolic acid has over many other types of peels is that it can be safely applied at home. All for a fraction of what it costs to receive a professional peel. In fact, they are so mild that many have given glycolic acid the affectionate nickname, a “lunch time peel.”

Risks Of Using A Glycolic Acid Peel

Even though these peels are very mild, it’s important to pick the correct strength for the correct skin type. It’s very important to use a patch test before doing a full treatment. This is a professional strength treatment and can cause skin damage and scarring if used inappropriately.

Common risks include:

  • Allergic or sensitivity reactions. You need to make sure that the strength you have chosen won’t cause any allergic or sensitivity reactions. Some treatments sold online can come in concentrations as high as 70%.
  • Redness, stinging, and burning. Usually, treatments that are less than 30% concentration are used at home or spas. Treatments with higher concentration are applied at a dermatologist office for safety. The higher the concentration, the greater the risk of redness, stinging and burning following application.
  • Scars. Those who have dark skin or are prone to keloid scars are at a much greater risk of developing adverse reactions or scars. Also, there is a small risk of developing tiny white cysts or permanent redness.
  • There is a very rare risk of tissue injury or infection.

Summing Up

Dermatologists use the glycolic acid peel to make the skin appear firmer, reduce discoloration, fine lines, and even acne. The process works by exfoliating the very top, dead layer of the skin. This skin treatment does not usually cause side effects, but there are risks to consider. Consult with your dermatologist before trying this skin peel at home and always choose the best glycolic acid peel products for visible results.