Beta Hydroxy Acid (BHA)
The Glycolic Acid Peel is the most famous of the Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA) peels. Glycolic acid (Glytone™ or Micropeel™) is a water-soluble acid derived from sugar cane, and is used most frequently for light chemical peel treatments. With one of the smallest molecules, this acid penetrates the skin quickly and helps break up the intercellular cement that bonds skin cells together so that the dead and damaged skin can break free.
This method may produce a mild burning or tingling sensation. You can find glycolic acid in lower concentrations in a number of daily-use skin care products. Higher, more effective preparations are only available in medical offices. Glycolic acid peel treatments are appropriate for most individuals and skin conditions and are effective in rejuvenation and slowing the aging process.
Who should use Glycolic Acid – AHA treatments?
AHA – glycolic acid preparations are recommended for those whose skin is showing signs of aging. Fine lines, brown marks and dry spots (solar keratoses) can improve with regular applications or peels. Glycolic acid may also prove helpful for those prone to acne.
How do they work?
With time and sun exposure there is a gradual slow-down in the rate at which old cells leave the surface of the skin and are replaced by newer cells. This results in a surface layer of dead skin cells that are responsible for the appearance of aged skin.
Glycolic Acid – AHA ‘s loosen the glue-like substances that hold the surface skin cells to each other, therefore allowing the dead skin to peel off. The skin underneath has a fresher, healthier look with a more even color and texture.
With high concentration and long-term use, AHA ‘s may also affect the deeper layers of the skin. Collagen and elastic regenerate making fine lines less obvious.
What to Expect During Your Peel
During a light chemical peel treatment, the skin is first thoroughly cleansed and dried. Next, the AHA or BHA is applied to the face. The exfoliating agent is generally thin, almost water-like in its consistency, and is applied with a small brush, cotton pad or large cotton swab.
You will feel a warming sensation soon after the exfoliating agent is applied. Some people say they feel just a slight stinging; others describe it as more of a burning. The length of time the peeling agent is left on varies, but the average is about 10 minutes. Many clinicians use small, hand-held fans to gently cool the skin during the peel, which can keep you more comfortable during the treatment.
Next, the peel is removed with cool water and a neutralizing agent. The skin is dried and the peel is complete. If your peel is being incorporated into a full facial treatment, the clinician will follow with a soothing mask application, facial massage (optional), toning and light moisturization.
After your peel, your skin will look like it’s sunburned. This redness can fade in just a few hours time or last up to five days, depending on the strength of the peeling agent used and how long it was left on the skin. It’s OK to use makeup to conceal the redness.
Many dermatologists and some estheticians will ask you to use a special cleanser and/or moisturizer with sunscreen for two or so weeks before your peel. And depending on your skin’s needs, your doctor may also prescribe a retinoid, such as Retin A or Tri Luma cream, for use prior to treatment. These steps help to fully prepare your skin for a chemical peel. Ask our Registered Nurse and Skin Health Specialist what steps you should take before coming in for your treatment.
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