Due to its excellent capability to penetrate skin, glycolic acid finds applications in skin care products, most often as a chemical peel performed by a dermatologist in concentrations of 20 to 70% or at-home kits in lower concentrations between 10 and 20%. In addition to concentration, pH also plays a large part in determining the potency of glycolic acid in solution.
Physician-strength peels can have a pH as low as 0.6 (strong enough to completely keratolyze the epidermis), while acidities for home peels can be as high as 2.5.
Glycolic acid is used to improve the skin’s appearance and texture. It may reduce wrinkles, acne scarring, hyperpigmentation and improve many other skin conditions. Once applied, glycolic acid reacts with the upper layer of the epidermis, weakening the binding properties of the lipids that hold the dead skin cells together. This allows the stratum corneum to be exfoliated, exposing live skin cells. Highly purified grades of glycolic acid are commercially available for personal care applications.
Please note: Our Glycolic Peel is designed to be safe for home use. Unlike other sellers, our product is buffered. This means that the acidicity is reduced to a safe level in order to prevent undue inflammation. The purpose of chemical peels is to improve the complexion. Inflammation is bad for the complexion and so using an unbuffered peel solution is counter productive – the benefits of the peel are cancelled out by the negative effects of the skins inflammatory responses.
Exfoliates dead skin cells from the surface leaving the skin softer, smoother, and brighter.
Encourages skin cell turnover and boosts collagen production.
Can improve hyperpigmentation and reduce blemishes.
Can help reduce the depth of fine lines and wrinkles
Glycolic Acid and Acne
Despite claims from numerous online retailers, glycolic acid has little or no effect on acne. The underlying cause of acne is the build up of congestion in the follicles which provides the perfect medium for the proliferation of acne causing bacteria. Eventually the increase in bacteria triggers an inflammatory response by the skin and results in an isolated whitehead or full on break out. Glycolic acid and other alpha-hydroxy acids work on the surface of the skin and not in the follicles where the problem lies. The only truly effective chemical peel which can work on the surface and inside the follicles is salicylic acid. Salicylic acid’s effectiveness in improving acne prone skin is due to it’s ability to work within the pores dissolving and clearing the congestion in the pores. Glycolic acid can not do this and so will not improve acne.
Glycolic Acid Products
Glycolic Acid is used in a wide variety of skincare products including creams, toners, washes, and body lotions but most commonly in chemical peel solutions. There is clear merit in adding glycolic acid to leave on products such as creams, lotions, and toners as the acid will stay on the skin long enough to exfoliate it. But adding glycolic acid to a body or facial wash is rather pointless as these products are designed to be rinsed from the skin almost immediately after use and so no therapeutic benefits from the presence of glycolic is possible. When using leave on products containing glycolic or other alpha-hydroxy acids please ensure that the amount of glycolic acid does not exceed 4%.
What strength Glycolic Acid should I use?
10% to 20% – light peel providing mild exfoliation. Ideal for first timers
30% to 40% – medium peel providing deeper exfoliation. Recommended for those with experience of lighter peels
50% – strong peel producing significant exfoliation. Use with caution. Experienced users only. Recommended for use on the body rather than the complexion.
We strongly recommend that first time users choose the 10% or 20% strength. After experience of using the milder peels then, by all means, try the 30% and 40% strengths. We recommend you do not use 50% Glycolic Acid on the complexion unless you have used this strength on a previous occasion without any issues.
How to apply Glycolic Acid?
We send a comprehensive instruction booklet with every order. However for quick reference the procedure is as follows.
Ensure the skin is clean and dry.
Apply the solution to the skin by painting over the area with the brush (provided)
Do not apply the solution to the lips, eyelids, or nostrils (use vaseline as a barrier if available)
For the first application leave the peel on the skin for 1 or 2 minutes before applying the neutraliser gel.
Leave the neutraliser gel on the skin for 1 minute and then rinse the skin thoroughly with warm water and pat dry
For each subsequent application add 1 minute to the time the peel is on the skin up to a maximum of 7 minutes
What to expect:
Our peels have been adjusted to minimise stinging but some stinging, especially if you have sensitive skin, is to be expected.
In the hours after application your skin might redden. Don’t be concerned, it is quite normal and will soon subside.
Your skin may feel tighter afterwards. This is part of the exfoliating process and will disappear as the skin is shed.
Please note that how the skin reacts to the peel varies between individuals. Some may not experience stinging or reddening at all while others might experience pronounced stinging and reddening.
Do not apply the peel more than once per week – increasing the frequency will not improve the outcome. Do not exceed the recommended application times as indicated in the supplied instructions sheet.
Do not use any other exfoliating products or devices on the skin during the series of peels.
Using chemical peels makes the skin more vulnerable to the sun. Please make sure you use a sunscreen when out.
Use a good moisturiser daily.
Potential Side Effects
As long as you follow the supplied instructions carefully, conduct a patch test (see below), and, if using a peel for the first time, select one of the milder solutions (no higher than 30%) then there should be no issues. The only instances where we have been informed by customers about complications following application of the peel is when an inexperienced customer has used too strong a peel, has left the peel on the skin far beyond the recommended time, or they have used the peel more than once per week.
Glycolic Peels do not suit everybody. Please ensure you carry out a patch test 24 hours prior to use.Apply a little of the solution to an unobtrusive area of skin (just behind the ear is ideal). Wait 24 hours and if the skin is fine then apply the peel to the complexion. If the skin is significantly reddened or inflamed then contact us for advice.
Do not apply glycolic acid to broken or inflamed skin
Do not apply glycolic acid if you suffer from eczema, dermatitis, psoriasis, rosacea or other similar skin conditions.
Do not use a glycolic peel after completing a course of Roaccutane. Roaccutane temporarily affects the skins ability to heal itself and until the skins normal restore and repair functions have been completely restored using a glycolic peel will have a detrimental effect. Restoration might take anywhere from 2 months to 6 months. Please seek advice from your doctor or dermatologist
If you have any concerns about whether you should try this product please contact us first for advice.
What Will I Receive?
30ml Glycolic Peel (choice dependent)
50ml Neutralising gel in convenient dispenser