Glycolic Acid: Five Top Questions

Glycolic Acid is an amazing anti-aging tool. Used in a peel it  gives the skin a fresh rosy glow tht lasts for hours.  In a moisturizer,  glycolic acid increases cell renewal,  stimulates collagen and reduces wrinkles– sort of  a baby steps  Retin A. The trick is getting  maximum  benefits.

1.  What’s the difference between a glycolic peel at home and an office based peel?

The glycolic peel you can buy in stores contains 10-12% glycolic acid.  It will give your skin a little extra boost and a bit of a glow.  Cost:  $2/treatment.  THe office based peel uses 30-70% glycolic acid.  It can  leave your skin pretty red, and by the next day, somewhat flaky.  Everything calms down within 48 hours leaving your skin especially smooth and fresh.  Cost:  Range form $100-150 per session.  Home peels can be used several times a week, while office based peels are used no more than once a month.

2. Can I use glycolic acid on my neck and chest? 

Yes and yes.  Use the home peel on your neck and you will see pinker, fresher skin.  On the chest you will not see as much difference, especially if the area looks as if  has a a year round tan– but its safe to use.

3. Can I combine glycolic  acid and Retin A?

The short answer is sometimes.  If you are just starting to use Retin A or  have moved up to a stronger concentration, then its best to avoid glycolic acid.  However if you have been using Retin A for at least six months,  adding glycolic peels or moisturizer will give your skin a lovely boost.

4. Can I combine IPL and glycolic acid?

No, you need to stop using glycolic acid two days before and at least three days after IPL procedure– and this hold true for laser treatments for freckles and hair removal.

5. Should I use glycolic acid in the morning or at night?

Most derms recommend  using glycolic acid at bedtime.  All alpha hydroxy acids( like glycolic acid)  can increase sensitivity to UV rays and you want all the benefits  of glycolic acid without additional problems.

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