Glycolic Acid


Introducing a New Chemical Peel

Your skin is remarkably durable. Part of this is by design. It stands up to the sun, resists dust and dirt, and protects you from all kinds of damage. It does this by working in layers. When the outer layer of the skin becomes damaged, the younger layer beneath replaces it. Unfortunately, this doesn’t happen everywhere at once—at least not naturally. It takes a special kind of procedure to coax your younger layer of skin out to enjoy the day show off how youthful it really can look. In most cases this is performed by a procedure called a chemical peel—the chemical of choice causes the skin to blister and peel, revealing the new layer of younger-looking skin beneath.

But there’s a specific kind of peel that has lately been taking the cosmetic surgery field by storm, increasing in both popularity and effectiveness. That peel is known as a glycolic acid peel. This procedure utilizes the acid it’s named after. Glycolic acid is a member of the alpha hydroxyl family of ingredients, and it works to clean and clear the skin, breaking down the bonds that hold the older, damaged layer of cells to your skin, allowing the younger layer out. This can help eliminate subtle lines and wrinkles, age spots, acne damage, and even help skin tone overall.

Am I a Good Candidate for Glycolic Acid Peels?

There are so many chemical and acid peel options out there that it can be hard to know what you’re a good fit for. It helps to know what problems you’re trying to solve and what results you’re trying to achieve. It also helps to know what other good candidates look like. Good candidates for glycolic acid peels generally have at least some of the following characteristics:

  • You have subtle lines and wrinkles you want to eliminate
  • You have skin discoloration that you want to even out
  • You have noticed age spots or sun spots you would like to eliminate
  • You want to eliminate slight freckles
  • You are not allergic to the alpha hydroxyl family of ingredients
  • You are generally healthy
  • You have realistic expectations about what this procedure can accomplish

How Does a Glycolic Acid Peel Work?

Most chemical peels work by breaking down the outer layer of skin and exposing the younger layer of skin beneath. Glycolic acid peels work in much the same way, breaking down the substances that hold your outer layer of skin to your younger layer. Because of its particular composition, it’s difficult to make a strong solution of glycolic acid. This makes glycolic acid peels particularly good at treating superficial options and lower complications significantly (as most complications from chemical peels come from exposure to solutions that are too strong).

Depending on how significant your treatment needs to be, the peel can be left on for a shorter or a longer time period of time. Once that time limit has been reached, the peel is removed and the patient is free to go home. There may be some sensation of irritation during the procedure or some slight discomfort, but neither of these are uncommon with facial peels. That said, your cosmetic surgeon will monitor your peel, just to make sure.

Recovery and Results

Glycolic acid peels are relatively gentle peels in the world of chemical peels, so in most cases there is no recovery time necessary and no need for pain medication. There may be some redness for several days after your procedure, so you may want to take care that way. You should also be sure to limit your exposure to sunlight in the days following your procedure, as your skin will be sensitive to UV rays. It will be much like having a sunburn (and when you have a sunburn, you want to stay out of the sun).

Results of glycolic acid peels are almost universally praised. Patients love the ability to enhance a wide area of skin in one non surgical procedure. Patients also tend to notice that their skin becomes more even and youthful looking overall. Age spots, subtle wrinkles, and subtle lines are all usually diminished after a glycolic acid peel. Of course, much will depend on the composition of your skin, so it’s a good idea to talk to your cosmetic surgeon about glycolic acid peel information before you begin the treatment. That said, this is one peel that’s popular for a reason!