Is a glycolic peel a milder type of peel?
Alpha hydroxy peels are the mildest type of peels because they penetrate the skin superficially causing the top layer of the skin to peel. Glycolic acid is the active ingredient found in a glycolic peel and is the most commonly used alpha hydroxy acid (AHA). Glycolic acid is derived from sugar cane and is typically used in concentrations of 20% to 70%. Other commonly used AHAs are lactic acid found in sour milk and tomato juice, and citric acid found in citrus fruit. Glycolic peels produce a mild improvement in wrinkles, skin texture, pigment discoloration, acne and dry patches. Usually the benefits of a glycolic peelwill last for several weeks, often requiring multiple treatments to achieve the desired result. A false sense of safety should be avoided with AHAs. Without neutralization, glycolic acid can penetrate deeply, and cause a deeper peel then desired, causing crusting and possibly scarring. The desired endpoint of a glycolic peel should be mild erythema and a light peeling of the top layer of skin.
-Dr. Jessica Kulak