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Acne Scars & AHA Glycolic Acid

Acne Scars & AHA Glycolic Acid Acne Scars & AHA Glycolic Acid Acne Scars & AHA Glycolic Acid


Acne scarring can leave you with an unpleasant reminder of past skin problems. Alpha hydroxy acids such as glycolic acid exfoliate the skin to remove upper layers and reveal fresher skin underneath. Although mild concentrations will not significantly alleviate the scarring, more concentrated glycolic-acid peels can leave your skin smooth and even.

Types of Scars

There are several types of acne scars, ranging from mild discoloration to depressions in the skin. Treatment depends on the type and severity of the scarring. Home products, including those with glycolic acid, may improve very mild scarring, but are not adequate for severe scarring, reports AcneNet, an American Academy of Dermatology website.


Products containing glycolic acid exfoliate the skin to reveal new, healthier skin. Mild concentrations of glycolic acid are present in moisturizers and home-peel treatments. Your dermatologist can use a much higher concentration, typically a 40 percent to 70 percent solution, according to the John Hopkins Cosmetic Center.

Time Frame

If you and your dermatologist agree that glycolic acid is the right choice for your scarring, plan on a series of four to six chemical peels, spaced two to four weeks apart. These peels take only a short visit to the doctor's office. Once you've completed the initial series of alpha hydroxy peels, regular maintenance is required. Most people opt for approximately two peels per year after this initial treatment phase, according to the John Hopkins Cosmetic Center.


You will experience a tolerable stinging sensation during the peel. The stinging subsides when the neutralizing solution is applied. Redness is typical after a glycolic-acid peel but typically subsides in a few hours. A steroid cream may be used to treat redness, crusting or irritation if they occur after the peel, according to the John Hopkins Cosmetic Center. Sun sensitivity will increase, so an SPF 30 sunblock is essential. Peels are not appropriate for pregnant and breastfeeding women and may not be a good choice for those with darker complexions.


Glycolic-acid peels are used to treat fine lines and wrinkles, in addition to acne scarring, according to Dr. Dee Anna Glaser, professor of dermatology at the Saint Louis University School of Medicine. Glycolic-acid peels will help to even the texture and tone of your skin, lessening acne scarring and facial irregularities. You will also find that the peels leave you looking younger and more refreshed.

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