A Doctor’s Opinion on Using Glycolic Acid Peels at Home – Pros and Cons

By | 27 November, 2016

A Doctor's Opinion on Using Glycolic Acid Peels at Home - Pros and Cons

Did you know that there are about 50 million Americans who suffer from acne? Consequently, there are approximately 16 million who are affected by rosacea. These alarming numbers are the reason why there are many treatments available to provide relief against various skin conditions. One of them is a glycolic acid treatment.

Apparently, everything else comes with a cost. If you want to save yourself a lot of money, you might want to consider doing your own glycolic acid peel at home. Before you buy the home chemical peel recommended by your friends, family or colleagues, here are the pros, cons and reminders on how to use glycolic acid peels at home safely:

1. First, Get to Know Glycolic Acid a Little Bit Better

sugar caneYou may have heard about glycolic acid when it comes to acne treatments and treatments for other skin conditions, but what exactly is it and what can it do for your skin?

Glycolic acid may sound complicated, but it is simply a type of fruit acid derived from sugar cane. It is also not as toxic as it sounds, because it is considered a natural product and falls under the same category with citric acid from citrus fruits.

Some of the common glycolic acid uses include:

  • As an exfoliant, which helps in facilitating growth of new skin.
  • As an anti-aging product to help reduce fine lines and wrinkles.
  • To address skin irritation.
  • For increasing collagen production and restructuring of the dermis.
  • “Burning” the damaged area underneath your skin to help reveal smoother skin.

With these benefits in mind, it is not surprising why glycolic acid has become a favorite and made into variants, including home peels. Still, there are precautions you need to remember, which you will find out in the succeeding sections.

2. Know the Difference: Professional Peels vs. Home Peels

You might be wondering about the differences between doing peels at home and letting a professional do them. The truth is, there is not much difference in terms of results. Believe it or not, the main difference lies on the concentration of glycolic acid.

In-office peels have a higher acid concentration since they are done in a controlled setting and by a medical professional. This could yield you better and faster results. On the other hand, at-home versions could also offer similar results, but the concentration is lower. In fact, experts recommend starting at lower concentrations to minimize any side effects and avoid possible skin complications in the future.

3. The Cost of Glycolic Acid – In and Out of Your Home

costsPerhaps one of the biggest benefits of using glycolic acid peel at home is the cost for the treatment.

In-office chemical peels are convenient, but often come with a price – and a hefty one at that. A single peeling session may range from $150 to $300, and you will need more than just one session. A full medium chemical peel costs $1,000 to $2,000, while a full deep chemical peel can go as much as $7,000.

Glycolic acid peels at home offers less than a thousand but with results similar to what you have in in-office treatments. Home chemical peels costs $15 to $100, depending on the brand, which could save you more compared to opting for lunch time peels.

Aside from the cost, read below to find out the other benefits of glycolic acid peels.

4. The Benefits of Getting Glycolic Acid Peels While in Your Pajamas

Some people will say and prefer in-office treatments since you are assured of getting positive results. At the same time, this procedure is performed by a professional, so you know that the person conducting peels knows what they are doing.

On the other hand, opting for peels at home have some advantages, too. This includes:

  • pajamasAvailability – The good thing about home peels is that they are readily available in beauty stores, drug stores, and even legitimate online stores.
  • Convenience – You can get peels anytime and anywhere, without worrying about scheduling an appointment.
  • Comfort – You can get peels while in your pajamas, and that is fine. The important thing is you follow the glycolic acid peel at home instructions to get the best results.
  • Effectiveness – The concentration may be lower, but at-home peels could also deliver results.
  • Ingredients – Since at-home peels are not performed by medical professionals, most manufacturers lower their concentration to make them safer for home application. To ensure your safety even further, ask for a recommendation from your doctor.
  • Time – There is no need to set an appointment and at the same time, you don’t have to drive all the way to the doctor’s clinic and wait for your turn for treatment.

In other words, glycolic acid peels at home are alternative treatments that are within your budget, yet they don’t compromise the quality and the effectiveness in addressing your various skin conditions.

5. Safety: The Biggest Concern in Using Chemical Peels at Home

Glycolic acids have the best intentions: to help you treat and get rid any skin conditions that could affect not just your appearance but also your overall self-esteem. Unfortunately, there is one big concern that makes people stop from trying at-home peels: safety.

Believe it or not, safety is the concern when it comes to any at-home treatments. Despite the use of milder chemicals, safety will always be a cause of concern due to lack of professional intervention. In fact, doing peels at home is a bit more risky and could cause unwanted side effects, which you will learn more about in the next section.

This is why it is important to follow instructions carefully and take note of the before and after care tips to minimize your risk. Patch test is also crucial, so make sure you won’t skip this step.

Read the next section to find out other concerns when doing glycolic acid peel at home.

6. The Not-So-Good Side: The Cons of Using Peels at Home

cold soresSafety is just one of the many concerns when using peels at home. Aside from this, here are other issues and concerns most people are wary of:

  • Pigment Changes – Even if it is an at-home peel, chemicals are still involved and could damage the melanocytes of your skin. This could lead to skin discoloration.
  • Infections – This happens if you have sensitive skin, cold sores, or any abrasions in your face and you still went for a peel. Your skin doesn’t heal properly, thus making you more susceptible to infection.
  • Scarring – This is more common on medium or deep peels, although at-home peels puts you at risk too. To prevent scarring, avoid scratching or peeling your skin, especially when flaking happens.
  • Complications – This could range from allergic reactions, burning sensation, skin irritation, and in severe cases, edema, erythema, and ocular problems.

The good news is you can avoid, or at least minimize these risks. Read the succeeding sections for tips and safety precautions you need to remember when doing peels at home.

7. Tips in Choosing the Best Glycolic Acid Peel at Home Products

You might be overwhelmed with the variety of choices for glycolic acid skin peel at home products you can find in the market. You might also be tempted to go for DIY chemical peels with the highest chemical concentration, thinking that it is the most effective one. After all, doctors use 40 to 50 percent glycolic acid when conducting glycolic acid peel in clinical settings.

Don’t get easily fooled by what you see. Here are tips in choosing glycolic acid products for home use:

  • your skinStart Low: Begin with a 20-percent glycolic acid solution with at least 2.8 to 3.0 pH level. This is the safest way to start your journey for peels at home, then gradually increase the concentration until you find what works for you.
  • Not Too Low Though: Stay away from products with a 10 percent or less concentration.
  • Read the Instructions: Go for products with full instructions, pH prep for your skin, can acid reducer, and a neutralizer to facilitate safe and gentle peeling.
  • Get a Tested Product: Choose a product that was formulated in FDA-registered laboratory. Your chosen glycolic acid peels at home must be certified or registered for 99 percent purity.
  • Check the Label: Glycolic percentages and pH levels must be listed in the label.
  • Become an Expert: Make it a habit to read glycolic acid peel at home reviews, articles and medical studies to find out how a particular products work and what to expect from them.

8. Before the Peel: Preparing Your Skin for Home Chemical Peel

Aside from the peel itself, how you prepped your skin could also dictate the success – or failure – of glycolic acid peel at home.

Below are prepping tips you need to remember before doing chemical peel at home:

  • One week before your scheduled peeling, discontinue the use of tretinoin and any other product that could potentially irritate your skin.
  • Make it a habit to test a small spot on your forearm before applying any solution to your face. This is to ensure that the peel will not cause any allergic reaction.
  • Use a gentle scrub 24 hours before using the peel.
  • Prepare your skin for peeling using pH prep solution.

9. During the Peel: Things to Remember When Doing Glycolic Acid Peels at Home

your chinNow that you prepped your skin, it is also important to take note of few precautions during the peel itself. Here are some tips and techniques you should remember during the peeling process:

  • Apply glycolic acids solution to less sensitive areas first such as your chin, forehead, and cheeks. This will be followed by your nose, neck, and lower eyelids.
  • Let the acid stay on your skin for one minute, for the first two to three treatments. Slowly increase the increments by two minutes while increasing the concentration until you are able to do this for five minutes.
  • Your skin will start to tingle, and that is normal. This will last for 30 seconds until slowly, you won’t be able to feel the tingling sensation. Just make sure this tingling sensation doesn’t feel painful or uncomfortable.
  • Watch your skin and not the clock. If you noticed that your skin is turning pink or you felt burning sensation, neutralize the acid using a cotton ball and a neutralizing solution.
  • When neutralizing the acid, always start with the most sensitive areas first.

10. After the Peel: What to Expect After the Treatment

Even if you do glycolic peels at home, this doesn’t mean you don’t need to follow after-care procedures. In fact, you have more reasons to employ after-care treatment to make sure you won’t compromise your skin.

Below are after-care tips you need to do to ensure proper healing and recovery:

  • Skin will be dry for a few days, so make sure to apply heavy moisturizer such as coconut oil to keep your skin hydrated.
  • Avoid exfoliation for at least one week since the top layer has been removed already.
  • Stay away from excessive heat and harsh conditions.
  • Make it a point to wear sunscreen every day. Your skin has higher sun sensitivity after the peel, so make sure you get enough protection.
  • Slight flaking may appear and that is normal. Just make sure you won’t pick it and keep slathering your face with moisturizer.

Take note of these tips and make sure you follow it by the letter to make home chemical peel works for you.

11. Let’s Go DIY: How to Make a Glycolic Acid Peel at Home

white cane sugarThere are glycolic acid solutions you can buy in the market that comes in variety of concentrations. The issue with this is that there is still increased risk of developing unwanted symptoms such as burning or irritation.

If you want to keep it natural, then there’s good news for you. You can make your own glycolic acid peel at home and all it takes are two simple ingredients.

Here’s how to do it:

  • Combine one-fourth cup of white cane sugar and juice from one lemon. Lemon contains citric acid, which is also effective in addressing various skin conditions.
  • Use water instead of lemon in case you have sensitive skin.
  • Mix the ingredients well until it forms a paste. Adjust the ingredients to achieve the desired consistency.
  • Apply and massage the mixture on your face in gentle, circular motion. Make sure to concentrate on your cheekbones and T-zone area.
  • Let the mixture stay on your skin for 10 minutes then rinse with lukewarm water.
  • Apply a moisturizer after to prevent drying of skin.

Do this every day until you are able to uncover a smoother, healthier, and fresher skin.

Let’s say you want to try glycolic acid solutions at home. How should you go about it? Read the next section to find out how.

12. Proper Techniques in Using Glycolic Acid Solution at Home

Thanks to glycolic acid peel at home reviews, you finally found the perfect and highly recommended solution for you. Still, this doesn’t mean you should dab the concentration on your face without ample preparation.

Cleanse your faceKeep in mind that the success of glycolic acid peels is also dependent on how you prepare your skin for it. To make sure you will get noticeable results, here’s what you should do:

  • Cleanse your face using a mild cleanser then pat it dry.
  • Use rubbing alcohol as a toner then allow it to air dry.
  • To avoid irritation and absorption of glycolic acid, apply Vaseline on your eyebrows, nostrils, and lip area.
  • Using a fan brush, apply a small amount of glycolic acid solution on your face. Start with your forehead then work your way down to your nose, cheeks, and chin. Make sure to do this in one minute.
  • Wash your face with water.
  • Pat it dry then apply moisturizer after. If you want added skin benefits, use Skinception Argan Oil.

13. What to Remember when It Comes to Frequency and Maintenance

Here’s the good news: you can already see the benefits of glycolic peel during your first treatment. In fact, you can start saying hello to a smoother and fresher complexion after a few days from your first treatment. If you want to maintain long-term effects, then you will need at four treatments before you can finally say goodbye to whatever skin condition you are experiencing.

The next question now is how often you do glycolic acid peeling at home.

Ideally, once every two to three weeks is recommended for the first three to four treatments. This is enough spacing to give your facial skin some time to rest and recover. Once you are seeing good results, usually after three to four peelings, you can have a maintenance treatment once every one or two months.

Constant peeling could lead to thinning and skin sensitivity, so make sure to pay attention to how your skin react every treatment.

14. Establishing the Connection Between a Glycolic Acid Peel and Rosacea

rosaceaAt this point, you know what glycolic acid peeling can do for your skin, whether at-office or in-house treatments. In case you are one of the 16 million rosacea sufferers, you might be wondering if this type of treatment is safe on your skin.

The truth is there is an ongoing debate on whether glycolic acid peels are helpful for rosacea patients. Some accounts say glycolic acid helps calm and clear their skin while there are others who complain further redness on their skin.

What’s the real score?

Theoretically, glycolic acid is anti-inflammatory, which means it helps manage any inflammation caused by rosacea. At the same time, it helps smooth and refine your skin texture and color. Still, this doesn’t mean that you are safe from using glycolic acid peels.

The issue with using glycolic acid is that there is no formula that is specifically formulated for rosacea patients. This explains why glycolic acid peeling varies from person to person. Unless there is glycolic acid peeling made especially for rosacea, it is best to stay away from this.

Don’t worry. If you want relief from rosacea symptoms, you can always go for Skinception Rosacea Relief Serum. This product is specially designed for rosacea patients, so you are sure that you are giving your skin the right treatment.

15. More Tips and Reminders Before Using Glycolic Acid Peels at Home

Now that you know what glycolic acid can do for your skin, how to choose the right products, techniques on proper usage, and even what to expect before, during, and after the treatment, there are still few more tips you need to remember to make sure you get the most out of glycolic acid peels.

Here are few more things you need to remember:

  • Know your skin type. Glycolic acid peels are effective, although this might not work well if you have sensitive skin.
  • Always remember that glycolic acid also comes with side effects, so pay attention to your skin’s reaction every peeling.
  • Start with lower concentration, preferably 20 percent glycolic acid concentration. Slowly move your way up until you find a concentration amount suitable for you.
  • Moisturize your skin at all times. Glycolic acid peels could lead to dryness; hence moisturizing your skin after peeling is a must.
  • Wear sunscreen at all times. Glycolic acid makes your skin extra sensitive to the sunlight, which means sun protection is a must.

The Bottom Line

Glycolic acid is among the best and most effective ways to treat various skin conditions such as acne. Before you do, make sure to remember these 15 tricks and tidbits about glycolic acid peel at home to minimize side effects and make the most out of this treatment.


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