What is Glycolic Acid
Glycolic acid is part of the alpha hydroxy group of acids (AHA), derived from fruits and other foods (others in alpha hydroxic acid group are citric acid, malic acid, tartaric acid and lactic acid). Most glycolic acid comes from sugar cane. Of all the AHAs, glycolic acid has the smallest molecules, and therefore penetrates skin the most easily.
Glycolic acid peel works by loosening the glue-like substance that binds skin cells together, allowing the outer layers of skin to slough off. Following a glycolic peel treatment, skin may initially appear red and burned, but once the peeling process is complete, the patient’s face looks smoother, fresher, and more even in tone. Glycolic acid peel is used to reveal a more youthful complexion.
Glycolic peel treatments from a dermatologist usually begin at 20% and work up gradually to a concentration as high as 70%.
My Experience with Glycolic Peel
Just two months before marriage, I had a severe bout of acne which left scars due to the sunscreen I was using and I had no option, but to visit a dermatologist. The dermatologist I went to was a consulting physician at Apollo, Hyderabad, and he gave me two options, the first one was a long-drawn one and he said the scar healing process would be gradual and would take at least three months time to disappear. He gave me a second option of undergoing a glycolic peel if I want a quick-fix scar treatment since I was to be married soon. Since, I did not have much time left on hand, I chose to go for glycolic chemical peel. He told me I would have to take only a few sittings, maybe only two because my case was not that severe.
Anyways, I went ahead with the treatment and went to the doctor’s clinic for a glycolic peel. The first thing he did to my face was cleaning it with SPIRIT(ethyl alcohol). That’s when the fear struck me and I wondered whether he was doing some kind of an operation on my face. After that, he explained to me the procedure saying that he would first use a higher concentration of glycolic acid and in the second or third sitting would lower the concentration. He took the glycolic acid on a cotton and applied it all over the face. Within a minute, I felt as if my face was on fire, there was severe burning sensation, and I wanted to kick myself for going in for the treatment. The doctor then waited for 15 minutes and observed my face for any overt reactions. Then, he sent me home with a high SPF sunscreen and do’s and don’ts of taking care of chemically peeled skin. He told me I could venture outside after 1 or 2 days with of course the sunscreen on (vicious circle!!!!).
The next morning, I noticed that my facial skin had started peeling from here and there and believe me it was really scary. The peeling continued for another two to three days and after the third day, what I saw was absolutely clear and flawless skin and I stayed indoors and maintained the texture and quality of the new skin. I was careful about using a mild face wash and a higher SPF sunscreen and re-applied every 3 to 4 hours for continued protection.
Needless to say, I did not return for a second sitting, mainly because I had clear skin from the first sitting itself and secondly, because I couldn’t see my face peeling like that.
In my opinion, glycolic peels should only be tried in severe acne or hyperpigmentation cases and you should be in such a position that you would be able to take care of the new and sensitive skin. If you have to spend a considerable time outdoors immediately after the peel, glycolic peel should be best avoided.
Price: I had paid Rs. 850 for one-time sitting of chemical peeling around 4 years ago, don’t know the current price.
Benefits of a Glycolic Peel
• Significantly reduces hyperpigmentation.
• Significantly reduces acne scars.
• Significantly reduces superficial premature wrinkles.
• Stimulates collagen and elastin.
• Normal activities can resume after treatment.
We shall have a look at some homemade skin peel recipes in my next article.
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