Glycolic Acid Peels for Acne
An estimated 17 million Americans suffer from acne, according to KidsHealth.org. Acne can be troublesome both physically and emotionally, as the blemishes can be painful and difficult to treat. If over-the-counter treatments are not proving completely successful, supplementing these treatments with a glycolic acid facial peel may help you achieve a better complexion.
Acne is the result of excess production of skin oil, buildup of bacteria in the skin's pores and/or excess dead skin cells that clog the pores and irritate the skin, according to MayoClinic.com. You can use glycolic acid, which is derived from sugar cane, to address these problems. Because of its smaller molecular size, glycolic acid can deeply penetrate the pores.
When applied to the face, glycolic acid works to loosen the chemical bonds that bind dead skin cells to healthy, living skin. When the bonds are loosened, the dead skin cells fall away, and smoother skin is revealed. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons notes that a glycolic acid peel is much lighter than its chemical peel counterparts, such as a trichloracetic acid peel.
In addition to reducing the dead skin cells and improving the skin's appearance, glycolic acid reduces the amount of oil in the pores. This in turn reduces the incidence of blackheads and acne. By penetrating the dermis, glycolic acid also can stimulate collagen production, which can reduce the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines.
Before applying glycolic acid, wash your skin to eliminate excess oils. Over-the-counter glycolic acid peels typically aren't as strong as those applied in dermatology offices, which can reach strengths of up to 50 percent. Whether at home or in a doctor's office, the product is applied to the face or any other areas where acne has developed. Leave the peel on for five to 10 minutes, then gently wipe it away. Use a moisturizer afterward to prevent dryness or redness.
While glycolic acid peels are considered mild, they still can be accompanied by side effects. These include skin flaking or scaling, redness, irritation, increased sensitivity to the sun and dryness. These adverse symptoms should subside in a few days. If they do not, seek medical attention to determine whether an allergic reaction has occurred.
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