Are you considering getting a glycolic acid peel? There are many benefits such as skin moisturization and exfoliation to be gained from using alpha hydroxy acids such as a glycolic peel. These acids reduce the appearance of wrinkles and age spots and improve skin texture by removing dead skin cells and the top layers of skin. They can also be used to treat acne and acne scarring. Unfortunately, you can also have adverse reactions, even when done by a professional.
Many people prefer using an at home glycolic peel, rather than paying a professional for treatment. There are many great products on the market now that have a strong concentration of glycolic acid, which is considered a hazardous substance. One of the primary benefits from using chemical peels at home is that you can start with a lower strength and move up. Glycolic peels are labeled with what percentage of glycolic acid they contain. You can start with a concentration of 5% to 10% and move up from there. This way, your skin has time to get used to this strong acid, and you have time to monitor your skin for a bad reaction.
You do not have that luxury when using a professional for a peel. They typically use much stronger formulas than what is available on the home market, because clients expect strong noticeable results. These in office peels usually involve a few days of recovery because your face is left with a very sun burnt look and the skin will begin to peel off. Everyone’s skin is different, and we don’t all react to the same chemicals the same way. When you get a strong professional peel, there is no turning back. Some people have been left with black marks or streaks on their face that resemble burns, and sometimes to many layers of skin are removed and the skin heals with a rough scarred texture instead of healing smooth. This can also happen at home if you start out with too strong of a product.
Another benefit from using a glycolic facial peel at home is you can afford to do it more frequently. Instead of doing a strong expensive peel once a year, you can do a gentler home glycolic acid peel monthly. One of the causes of aging is that older skin doesn’t naturally exfoliate off and replace itself with new skin. Using a glycolic acid peel regularly helps this natural process. Home peels usually don’t result in the sunburned look and the skin flaking or peeling off isn’t usually that bad, so no time off from work is needed. Usually a weekend will do.
Most glycolic acid peels have the percentage of acid and the pH (a measure of how acidic) of the product listed on the label. A product with a lower pH is stronger than a product with a higher pH, even if the percentage of acid is the same. Most home glycolic peels have a pH between 1.7 and 3.5, and use extra caution on the lower range of that scale. It is definitely NOT RECOMMENDED that you start with a concentration of 35% at a pH of 1.9 on your face. That is way to strong, although you may work your way up to those levels if you have bad scarring or wrinkles. Start with a concentration of 10% to 20% first. 10% is often effectively used to treat acne. While products with a level of 70% are readily available, you can do serious, major damage to your skin. If you need something strong, it is best to consult a good professional, and even then, work your way up.
After your peel, you can use your usual moisturizer or aloe gel. Anti aging creams work really well after chemical peels because the skin is super exfoliated it absorbs better. Glycolic Acid and other AHA’s like Lactic acid cause your skin to become very sensitive to the sun and it will burn a lot easier. Using sunscreen is extremely important, especially when you’ve recently peeled. Because so much of skin aging is cause by the sun, it is critical to protect your skin from the UV, or else the purpose of the peel is lost.
You can get fantastic results by adding a home glycolic acid peel to your skin care regimen. Just remember to start with weaker products and work your way up, and use sunscreen after the peel.