Glycolic Acid Peels
If you’re looking for the smooth and younger skin underneath what you have now, you might want to consider a glycolic acid peel. The benefits are immense but it’s important to understand what they are, and what they can and can’t do for your skin.
What is a peel ?
A peel is a product that’s put on your face and, as the name implies, is peeled off. The most effective peels are those that are performed in the office of a dermatologist or cosmetic therapist.
A chemical peel uses some kind of chemical solution (there are a variety of peels you can get) to improve the skin. They smooth skin by removing the outer layers, which hold onto damage and are often rough and dry. Many people can benefit from a peel, but those with pimples or acne, uneven skin coloring and winkles are most likely to seek peels the most. These people will also derive the most benefit.
What is a glycolic acid peel ?
Glycolic acid peels are simply a chemical peel that features glycolic acid as the main component.
Glycolic acid is currently a popular treatment for winkles and acne. Part of the alpha hydroxyl family of natural ingredients, glycolic acid is derived from sugar cane and is a fruit acid. When applied to the skin, it helps to remove the “glue” that holds the older, rougher and dryer skin on the surface. When it removes that top layer of skin, the fresh, new layer is visible. It’s this layer that’s without damage and which looks fresher.
People who have glycolic acid peels are often amazed with the results – they look younger, with fewer fine lines and wrinkles and if they have acne, they often notice their skin is quite a bit less oily and is much clearer.
How does a glycolic acid peel work ?
A light layer of the peel is applied to your face and left for a period of time that will depend on the particular peel you are having, the reasons for having it and the person who is performing the peel.
The peel is removed and you are free to leave the office. With a light peel like a glycolic acid peel, there is no real recovery time and no pain relievers are necessary. If you do feel any discomfort during the procedure (which would likely only be slightly irritation to the skin) you might be given a Tylenol or Motrin.
There are few if any side effects to having a glycolic acid peel. Right after the procedure you might feel some burning, but it often goes away quickly. You might have some redness, but again, this usually goes away fairly quickly. If you have sensitive or very fair skin you are more likely to encounter these discomforts.
Glycolic acid can make your skin more sensitive to the sun, so you should wear a good sun block after having a glycolic acid peel.
Often one glycolic acid peel isn’t enough. You will usually be given a series of treatments over a prescribed period of time.
As far as chemical peels go, glycolic acid peels are among the mildest and most popular. That’s largely because glycolic acid is considered to be natural. It comes from sugar cane and belongs to a family of acids called alpha-hydroxy acids or fruit acids. Think of it this way: If the fruit acids formed a football team, glycolic acid would be their star quarterback. It is by far the most popular and well-known acid of the bunch.
During a glycolic acid peel, the solution is applied using a brush or sponge and left on the skin for a predetermined amount of time based on concentration. It penetrates the skin and breaks the bonds that hold each layer together. This process removes the dead skin cells from the top layer. The glycolic acid is then washed off with a neutralizer. Immediately after a treatment, the skin will look pink and may continue to mildly flake off.
Glycolic acid peels are mild when compared with some of their more hazardous counterparts, and as a result the outcome might not be as noticeable as you’d like. It’s typical that multiple peels will be necessary to achieve the desired result. The upside is that there are very few complications associated with glycolic acid peels.