There are many types of chemical peels and glycolic acid peel is one of the most popular because it is safe, effective and has minimal downtime. If you have never experienced a chemical peel procedure before, you might be wondering what is a chemical peel, or what is glycolic acid peel and what it involves so you would know what to expect when you have one done.
What Is A Chemical Peel?
As the name suggests, a chemical peel is a type of skin treatment using a chemical solution which has an exfoliant effect and causes the dead skin cells to be sloughed off. So the effect is equivalent to peeling off the surface layer of the skin.
A chemical peel yields immediate and visible results revealing a softer and smoother skin compared to before the peel. There are several types of chemical peels available depending on the ingredient(s) they contain. Some types of chemical peels can be purchased and used as at home. However, as a trained professional, I would advise people to seek professional help from a dermatologist or medical aesthetician regarding specific types of chemical peels before attempting any chemical peel procedures at home.
AHA – Glycolic Acid
Glycolic acid is a type of alpha-hydroxy acid, also referred to as fruit acids or AHA.
Alpha-hydroxy acid is one of ingredients commonly found in chemical peels. AHAs are naturally occurring carboxylic acids derived from fruit and milk sugars – they include glycolic acid (sugar cane), lactic acid (milk), citric acid (citrus fruit) and malic acid (apples) among others, used for treatment of skin conditions.
Benefits Of Alpha-hydroxy Acids
Studies have found that AHAs can have many good effects for skin treatment:
* promote softer, smoother skin
* fade wrinkles
* lighten age spots
* decrease blemishes
How Does Alpha-hydroxy Acid Work
AHAs act on the 2 uppermost layers of the skin known as the epidermis and dermis. When applied to the skin, AHAs stimulate the exfoliation of the outermost layer of the epidermal cells by loosening the bonds between these cells. This results in the sloughing off of dull, rough skin and promotes cell renewal.
Glycolic acid is the smallest of the alpha hydroxy acid molecules. Due to its smaller molecular size, it is able to penetrate into the skin better and hence more effective for skincare. In addition to chemical peels, there are also many glycolic acid skincare products which can be used at home as part of your daily skincare routine to enhance the benefits of a chemical peel.
Glycolic Acid Peel (GAP)
Glycolic Acid Peel is an effective treatment for all skin types, including rapid improvement and restores normal-looking skin. It is now widely used in a variety of strengths, ranging from 20% to 70%, depending on the skin condition being treated.
After a peel procedure, most people can continue day to day activities as there is zero downtime. Makeup can be applied a few hours after the procedure. When used with caution and according to the directions, Glycolic acid peels are generally safe.
Should You Have A Glycolic Acid Peel?
There are many reasons why beauticians and professional aestheticians recommend glycolic acid peel for common skin problems.
Glycolic acid peel is a safe, effective and economical procedure providing a therapeutic effect on different skin conditions. It can be used as an adjunctive therapy for acne, scarring, photo damage and hyper-pigmentation disorders.
People of any skin type and colour can undergo a glycolic acid peel. Compared to dermal fillers or face lifts, it is a non-surgical procedure for skin rejuvenation. Almost any area of the body can be treated using glycolic acid.
Nicknamed the lunchtime peel, it can be carried out as a quick lunchtime procedure which takes only about half an hour. It has immediate visible results and it is low cost.
Before undergoing a glycolic acid peel it is recommended that you have your medical history reviewed by a medical professional. You should not have a chemical peel if you:
- used Accutane (oral isotretinoin) within the past 6 months
- used Retin-A (topical tretinoin) within the past 7 days
- used any scrub or skin irritant within the last 24 hours
- have active herpes simplex (cold sores)
- have facial warts and / or fungal infections
- form keloid or hypertrophic scars easily
- have a history of sun allergies
- had prior bad reaction to a peel
- had recent radiation treatment for cancer
- had sunburn or significant sun exposure in the last 2 days
- had surgery or cryosurgery within the last month
- have any other chemical peel within the past 21 days
- have eczema or rosacea
- have any signs of broken skin
- shaved on the day of peel
- are pregnant
In subsequent posts, I will be discussing about pre-peel preparation, basic steps for doing a glycolic acid peel, post-peel care and essential follow-on home care products.
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If you have any comments or questions, or would like to share your own experience with glycolic acid peel, I would love to hear from you!