What should I expect after a glycolic acid peel?

Arthur W. Perry, MD
Plastic Surgery
After a glycolic acid peel, the face is slightly red for several hours, after which makeup can be applied. The skin occasionally blisters, although a skilled physician gradually increases the strength or duration of the peel to avoid this result. I've had a few patients who developed allergic reactions to the moisturizer used after the peel. Since the upper layers of epidermis have been removed, any chemical can better penetrate the skin: substances that were well tolerated with an intact skin can now cause allergies. My worst complication was in a woman who scratched her forehead after the peel had healed, causing a staphylococcus infection and scarring.
Straight Talk about Cosmetic Surgery (Yale University Press Health & Wellness)

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Straight Talk about Cosmetic Surgery (Yale University Press Health & Wellness)

The public’s recent exuberance toward cosmetic surgery has spurred an unprecedented demand for appearance-changing procedures. But how can an average consumer discern the hype from solid truth? ...
Neal B. Schultz, MD
Results from in-office peels are generally faster, but with at-home peels, excellent results can be achieved over a period of several weeks to a month or two. The first and most important effects are an improvement in the texture of your skin making it smoother, which causes it to be brighter and more lustrous as a result of removal of excess surface dead cells. Removing those same dead cells in the lining of the pores helps to reduce acne breakouts and helps make breakouts heal faster. This process also helps reduce unwanted browns by removing extra layers of dead cells which contain too much brown pigment. To be sure, this is a process of evolution, not revolution and some patience is required. As note, you should never experience actual skin peeling, burning, redness or prolonged irritation with any glycolic treatments.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.