What Is a Glycolic Acid Peel?

Glycolic peels also known as chemical peels are quite the phenomenon and rightfully so. This is a game-changer for skin concerns. For those that haven’t caught on yet, you’re in luck. I have first-hand experience giving this a try, and I’m going to spill all the details on what a glycolic acid peel is and why it could benefit your skin. 

What is a Glycolic Acid Peel Made of? 

First things first, let’s talk about what a glycolic peel is. This is not your average face mask or even an exfoliating cream to put on before bed. There is a lot of strength in a glycolic peel. A peel is made up of acid that hasn’t been mixed or diluted to make a skin product. It’s the ultimate form of exfoliation, removing the top layer of dead skin to allow for your glow to shine through. 

I know it sounds scary. Why would anyone put acid on their face on purpose? However, you already do this in a lessened way with your normal skincare! When monitored by professionals, chemical peels are completely safe and can have loads of benefits. 


There are quite a few benefits from a chemical peel, so let’s talk about each of them a bit:

1. Glow

Like I mentioned, the biggest thing I noticed after my peel was the immediate glow. As someone whose skin always seems dull and less than vibrant, I had never experienced the “you’re glowing” moment. So it’s safe to say that it was a dramatic difference walking out of my appointment. My face felt dewy and had a brighter complexion that was worth the treatment alone. 

2. Wrinkles and Lines

Another thing that glycolic acid peels are known for is reducing wrinkles and fine lines. While I don’t have loads of fine lines and wrinkles quite yet, I did notice that my forehead felt tighter and my skin felt bouncy rather than weighed down. For those with more significant wrinkles and fine lines, you would benefit even more from a glycolic peel. It is recommended to those concerned about aging prematurely and has had loads of success. 

3. Acne

Acne was one of my biggest concerns going into my peel. As someone with oily skin, I am extremely acne prone for an adult. Breakouts are a normal occurrence, no matter how consistently I wash my face. However, my skin cleared up after my peel. It dried out my skin to allow for my acne to subside, without making my skin overly dry. Glycolic acid peels also remove any dead skin that could be clogging the pores which will, in turn, reduce acne. 

5. Hyperpigmentation

The biggest difference I noticed of all the benefits is the evenness of my skin tone and reduction of my hyperpigmentation. I have lots of darker spots on my face from picking at acne over the years, and this reduced them by at least 25%. Consistent peels will have even better results. 

After Care and Upkeep

What does post-peel look like? For the first peel, most professionals will start small when it comes to the intensity of the glycolic peel. Due to this, you likely won’t peel the first go around. You are going to be more dry than normal and should stay away from harsh skincare such as hydraulic acid or acne cream for one or two days to prevent irritation, as your skin will be more sensitive than normal. 

However, it is always recommended to do at least three peels to get the maximum results. These last two peels will grow in intensity and you are more likely to peel from it. Let your skin peel on its own. Do not pull the skin off! I know it’s tempting, but this can damage your skin and interfere with the exfoliation process

Keep moisturizer on hand throughout. My specialist recommended looking for a lighter moisturizer, so I could apply it throughout the day when I start feeling dry rather than solely in the morning and night. Stick to a gentle cleanser and moisturizer only for the first two days, then incorporate your other skincare products back in. 

So how often can I use a glycolic acid peel? What’s the wait time in between peel one, two, and three? There is a minimum wait time of at least two weeks. However, my esthetician recommended waiting 4 weeks to give my skin a bit more recovery time in between. This is great for those with more sensitive skin like mine. So take the leap and have a consultation with your esthetician to get yourself a glycolic acid peel and start reaping the benefits. 

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