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Is a Glycolic Peel Safe?

is-a-glycolic-peel-safe

Yes, glycolic peel treatments are generally safe. Undergoing glycolic peel procedures however make skin more sensitive especially to sun exposure, topical medications and the like[1].

Chemical Peel Basics

A glycolic peel is a type of chemical peel. Chemical peels are skin treatments wherein chemical solutions are applied to your face in order to treat various skin problems such as uneven skin tone, wrinkles, discolorations, signs of aging, enlarged pores and acne[2]. There are three basic types of chemical peels: light chemical peels, medium chemical peels and deep chemical peels.

Glycolic peels fall under the light chemical peel category, and are therefore considered the safest in terms of minimal side effects and very low likelihood of complications[3]. The benefits of light chemical peels are subtle, but are noticeable over repeated sessions. This is because only the epidermis or the outermost layer of the skin is peeled off. Other light chemical peel solutions are lactic acid, maleic acid and beta hydroxy acid[4].

Medium chemical peels remove the middle layer of the skin or the dermis, while deep chemical peels penetrate down to the lower dermal layer of the skin. Medium and deep chemical peels are recommended only for patients with more advanced signs of aging and sun damage[5].  Medium chemical peels will cause your skin to turn red or brown, and will peel off after a few days. Meanwhile, deep peels will cause your skin to bubble and form a crust. It is also a more painful procedure that requires the use of sedatives and local anesthesia prior to being treated[6].

The Glycolic Acid Peel

Glycolic acid peels are essentially sugar cane based. The peels that are used in doctors’ clinics have an acid concentration of fifty percent[7]. As mentioned earlier, although glycolic peels are generally considered the safest and have the least side effects and downtime, they will make your skin more sensitive to the sun and more prone to wounding. It is therefore highly recommended that you follow your doctor’s instructions strictly regarding the use of vitamin A or Retinoid based medicines prior to and after glycolic peel treatments[8].

 

 Resources

[1]Levine, MD, Norman. “Chemical Peels: Conditions They Treat, What to Expect.” WebMD – Better Information. Better Health. 3 Mar. 2010. Web. 20 July 2011. <http://www.webmd.com/healthy-beauty/guide/cosmetic-procedures-chemical-peel-treatments>.

[2]Levine, MD, Norman. “Chemical Peels: Conditions They Treat, What to Expect.” WebMD – Better Information. Better Health. 3 Mar. 2010. Web. 20 July 2011. <http://www.webmd.com/healthy-beauty/guide/cosmetic-procedures-chemical-peel-treatments>.

[3]“Chemical Peel.” The American Society of Plastic Surgeons. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 July 2011. <http://www.plasticsurgery.org/cosmetic-procedures/chemical-peel.html?sub=Here%27s%20how%20it%20works#content>.

[4] “Chemical Peel.” The American Society of Plastic Surgeons. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 July 2011. <http://www.plasticsurgery.org/cosmetic-procedures/chemical-peel.html?sub=Here%27s%20how%20it%20works#content>.

[5] “Chemical Peel.” The American Society of Plastic Surgeons. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 July 2011. <http://www.plasticsurgery.org/cosmetic-procedures/chemical-peel.html?sub=Here%27s%20how%20it%20works#content>.

[6] “Chemical Peel.” The American Society of Plastic Surgeons. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 July 2011. <http://www.plasticsurgery.org/cosmetic-procedures/chemical-peel.html?sub=Here%27s%20how%20it%20works#content>.

[7]Bernstein, Dr. Eric F. “Glycolic Acid Peels.” The Patient’s Guide: Chemical Peel. The Patient’s Guid. Web. 20 July 2011. <http://www.chemicalpeel.org/glycolicacid.aspx>.

[8] Bernstein, Dr. Eric F. “Glycolic Acid Peels.” The Patient’s Guide: Chemical Peel. The Patient’s Guid. Web. 20 July 2011. <http://www.chemicalpeel.org/glycolicacid.aspx>.

 

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