What is Glycolic Acid?
Glycolic acid belongs to the Alpha-Hydroxy Acid group (AHA) and you may have noticed that many OTC skin care products contain this ingredient. It is a naturally occurring substance that is found in sugarcane and some types of fruits, particularly grapes and pineapple. At strengths between 6-10% it is fairly safe to use, however, it is also quite ineffective.
Professional strengths range from 20-70%, depending on skin type and the condition being treated. Lower concentrations affect only the surface; whereas, higher intensities will penetrate more layers of the skin. Glycolic acid works by breaking down the substances that hold together the cells on the outer layer of your skin. When these bonds are weakened, the old, dead cells can be easily peeled away revealing the smoother, healthier skin underneath.
This exfoliation also unclogs pores and encourages the production of new cells so the firmness and texture of your skin will also be improved.
Since glycolic acid peels are so light, they are often considered to be superficial peels. Basically, they work mostly on the epidermis or the very top layer of the dermis, and really do not penetrate deep enough to deal with major skin problems. However, unlike stronger acid peels, these peels can be repeated quite regularly for peeling skin on face, and significant results have been seen with repeated applications.
Even though it is a mild facial treatment, any acid can be dangerous and damaging if not used correctly.
Since glycolic peels are most effective at higher concentrations, it is recommended that you have the treatment done by a professional who is familiar with the proper procedure for applying facial peels.