Selecting the best chemical peel for your skin

The best chemical peel for your skin


What are glycolic acid peels?

Alpha hydroxy (AHA) peels have been around for quite a while now and are a very popular solution for acne, acne scars, hyper-pigmentation, sun damage and reducing the signs of aging.

Glycolic acid peels or fruit peels are the most commonly used of the AHAs as they are simple to use, fairly inexpensive and have little to no downtime.  Glycolic peels (and AHA peels in general) of 10% or less have been deemed by the FDA to be safe for use at home, whilst chemical peels using more than 10% AHAs should be applied by professionals.

Glycolic acid chemical peels that are safe for use at home are considered to be superficial or light peels, as they simply remove the top layer of dead skin cells, and leave your complexion looking healthier, cleaner and more refreshed.

The greater the percentage of glycolic acid, the deeper the exfoliation, and the effect of a glycolic acid peel not only depends on its percentage, but also the number of coats that are applied and how long you leave the chemical peel on your skin.

Glycolic acid peels are usually classified as superficial or medium chemical peels; deep peels tend to use other AHAs or chemicals, such as TCA (trichloracetic acid) or phenol.

This is why the FDA suggest that the application of chemical peels containing large percentages of glycolic acid or other AHAs, should only be applied by trained dermatologists. The incorrect use of chemical peels by untrained users can result in permanent scarring and deep skin burns.



DIY at home glycolic acid peels vs professional glycolic acid peels

If all you want is a very gentle exfoliation of your skin to freshen your complexion, then a mild facial scrub is most probably all you need and you can read my facial scrubs reviews here.

Sometimes however, a facial scrub or manual exfoliator just isn’t enough to brighten your skin and you need to turn to a chemical peel for further help – but which one is right for you? And should you use a DIY at home chemical peel or spend the extra money and have a chemical peel applied by a dermatologist?

The regular use of chemical peels can have an amazing effect on your skin, exfoliating dead cells and revealing the fresh, new skin underneath. The effect you are chasing however, is dependent on the type of chemical peel that is applied, its percentage and how long it is left on your skin.

DIY at home chemical peels: These are usually glycolic acid peels that have 10% or less glycolic acid so they are very mild, exfoliating just the top layer of your epidermis.

These are ideal for healing sun damaged skin and for evening out your skin tone and reducing hyper-pigmentation. They are also perfect for unblocking your pores, which are full of dead skin cells and other debris and so removing the cause of acne and acne scars.

Professional chemical peels: These can include glycolic acid or other AHAs, TCI, phenol  or retinol and tend to have more than 10% of the exfoliating chemical. Because of the chemicals in these peels and their high percentages, these are considered to be medium to deep peels and can actually remove deep wrinkles and severe hyper-pigmentation.

If you have dark skin or very sensitive, it is always best to talk to a dermatologist before you try a DIY at home chemical peel, because the results can be unpredictable sometimes.

Using a DIY at home glycolic acid peel

The Magic Pads - Glycolic Acid PadsIf you have decided to step up from using a facial scrub to using a glycolic acid peel,  then it is best to wear a sunscreen for a few weeks beforehand and to stay out of the sun both before and after your chemical peel.

FYI: glycolic acid products will make your skin more sensitive to the sun, so you need to wear a sunscreen.

Also, if you are using prescription skin products then it is best to talk to your doctor about whether or not you should stop taking them a week before and for a few weeks after your chemical peel.

Before you actually apply the chemical peel, it is always best to do a spot test behind your ear, just in case your skin is sensitive to the chemical peel. If all goes well after about 2 days, then simply follow the instructions provided with your chemical peel.

Remember to clean your skin beforehand with a toner, so that you remove any remnants of other skincare products on your skin, before you apply the glycolic acid peel. Also, avoid the delicate skin areas around your eyes. Soon you will have clear, radiant skin once again!

Costs of a DIY at home chemical peel vs a professional chemical peel

At home glycolic acid peels will cost you a lot less than professional chemical peels. Over the counter peels can cost as little as $15 to $20 and rarely go over $50. On the other hand, professional in-office chemical peels by a dermatologist can easily start at $100 and rapidly rise to a lot more than that.

Each of the two option – DIY at home or professional in-office glycolic acid peels have their advantages and disadvantages, just be happy with your decision and you can look forward to a beautiful, healthy complexion very soon.


To read my at home glycolic acid chemical peel reviews – click here.