Chemical peels are a type of cosmetic treatment used to exfoliate skin. Professionally done chemical peels come in three strengths: mild, medium, and deep.
Glycolic acid is an alpha-hydroxy acid, derived from sugar cane, sugar beets, and other substances. It’s used as a medium-strength chemical peel. Glycolic acid has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
Glycolic acid peels are effective for treating several skin conditions. This treatment is done professionally by doctors and licensed cosmetologists or aestheticians.
Mild glycolic peel versions can also be purchased for use at home.
How It Works
Glycolic acid peels slough off the surface and middle layers of skin, removing dead skin cells and debris.
Since glycolic acid is made up of small molecules, it readily penetrates skin, removing the lipids that hold dead skin cells together. The percentage of glycolic acid contained in the peel determines how deeply it can penetrate the skin’s layers.
Glycolic acid also loosens and lifts excess oil from hair follicle roots, which is why it’s often used to treat acne.
It’s also thought to suppress the production of melanin, which may be why it’s beneficial for reducing dark spots.