Glycolic Acid 101

First let me say that I'm not in the medical field.  So everything here is based on what I’ve read and what I’ve experienced. 

I've been reading a lot lately about chemical peels, and the one I’ve decided to start with is Glycolic Acid 35% Gel Peel, which is an alpha hydroxy acid (AHA).  These are also known as lunchtime peels by some because there’s LITTLE or NO DOWNTIME, if the percentage is low enough, e.g., below 30% some say.

Here’s what I’ve learned about Glycolic acid:

What is glycolic acid?  It’s an exfoliant (peeling agent) that’s made from sugar cane.  (I love sugar, so I’m sure I’ll like this.)

How is it good for my skin? It’s considered an antioxidant and mechanism for the creation of new collagen, which reduces the appearance of imperfections, such as fine wrinkles, hyperpigmentation, melasma, oily skin, acne, and scars.  With repeated use, six or more weekly applications, you can expect to see results.  It’s also good because this superficial peel won’t do anything except release the bond between dead skin cells; this means you won’t really have skin injuries, and you won’t really peel, as the name says.

Using glycolic acid, like retinol, helps repair the skin’s ability to retain moisture. Finally, glycolic acid is able to boost the effects of other actives, so your serums will work better if you use it regularly.

How is it bad for my skin? If you use it too often or leave it on for too long, it can irritate the skin, and because it reveals new skin, so you should wear sunscreen after use to protect the new skin because it will make your skin more sensitive to UV rays.  You could end up with more problems if you don't wear sunscreen.

How does glycolic acid work?  Glycolic acid has one of the smallest molecule sizes of any of the AHAs, so it’s able to penetrate the upper layer of skin.  Once it gets in there, it stimulates the building of collagen and dissolves the glue that holds dead skin cells together.  This exfoliation isn’t always visible.  You may feel it a day or two after application: feels a little rough, then after a shower and a soft cloth, the skin is very smooth.

How do I prepare my skin for it?  Don’t use any Retin-A or other similar products for 48 hours (I stopped mine for a month).  Don’t do any waxing or shaving the day before or after.  Don’t use it if you have any open sores or blemishes—it will sting like nothing you’ve ever experienced before.  Oh, and don’t forget to test it, preferably on a sensitive area, maybe under your chin, at least two days before.  Yes, some people do have allergic reactions.  One more thing: if you get fever blisters, this may cause an outbreak, so do what you need to do to prevent them.
How long should I leave it on?  Depends on the strength.  If it’s 35%, no longer than 10 minutes, but start with 1 minute and work your way up.  If it’s a 50% glycolic peel, leave it on no longer than 7 minutes, but start with 30 seconds, and work your way up.

How do I apply it?  When you're ready and after you've done a test, use a gentle cleanser to remove makeup, sunscreen, etc., then blot dry before applying.  Pore some of the peel into a small glass dish and use your fingers or cotton swabs to rub it on the desired areas, away from eyes and mouth.  Fingers waste less product (if my husband is reading this: wash your hands first).  If this is your first time, you may want to have a personal hand-held fan available (get ready for some stinging). Set your timer or make a mental note of the time (including seconds if this is your first time).

How do I remove it? Copious amounts of cool water.  You do NOT  need a neutralizer for this peel.

How do I care for my skin afterward?  Moisturize with a fragrance-free lotion, and use at least 30spf sunscreen daily.

How often can I use it?  Every week if you don't experience any problems.

No comments:

Post a Comment