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Glycolic/Lactic Acid Peels - how to do them

chemical peel aha alpha hydroxy acid red mark hyperpigmentation

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#1 tikvica

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Posted 20 June 2006 - 03:06 AM

INTRODUCTION:
(to make things a bit clearer)
Glycolic and lactic acids are both AHAs, i.e. Alpha Hydroxy Acids. Lactic acid is slightly milder, so it is recommended to people whose skin is more sensitive, to first time users, people constantly exposed to sun (although this does not mean you should not wear a sunscreen at all times), and people with darker skin tone.
AHA's are skin exfoliants, which work on the skin, unlike BHAs which work inside the pore. AHAs are beneficial for skin in many ways, among them: reducing light scars and red marks and signs of photoageing, and getting back that beautiful even skin color and natural glow.
SPF is a must everyday if you want to use the peel!
The procedure and risks are the same for both acids.

BEFORE DOING THE PEELS:
Make sure your skin is more or less clear - a bunch of inflamed pimples will probably only get worse, since your skin, together with them, will be overly irritated after the peel. A few pimples in not so serious condition is ok.
Do not use if you were on accutane in the last 6 months, or perscription topical retinoids in the last month. If you use non-prescription topical retinoids, i suggest you stop them one week before starting the peels, and wait one week after finishing the peels to start them again.
The reason for these precautions is that accutane and topical retinoids lead to thinning of the skin, thus to extreme skin sensitivity. not following the instruction above may lead to skin injuries and scars.

WHEN BUYING ACID:
i suggest 30% to start with. please do not try anything stronger at home, by yourself. some salons and derms go up to 50%, but after all they are proffessionals and know how to deal with it. 30% will bring you great results, especially b/c most of you have young and gentle skin that reacts much better and faster to lower percentages. high percentages of GA are usually meant for older/ageing skin.
Be sure to check the percentage, the PH (it has to be lower than 4 in order to be effective) and i suggest buying brand names or from reliable sellers.
Ph under 6.5 means that the substance is acidic, 6.5-7.5 being neutral, above 7.5 being alkaline. But, in order for the peel to be successful, ph above 4 won't do much, it will be a mild exfoliant. Most of the 30% ga peel are ph 2.2-2.8, which is probably what you should look for when buying an acid.

IMPORTANT:
I am not a doctor or a trained aesthetician. I am writing this with knowledge i have from my own experience with glycolic acid, with lots of instructions from my aesthetician and with what i read in various articles.

INSTRUCTIONS:

1.
whatever you do, please follow these steps. Glycolic acid is an ACID and if you're not careful, even low percentage can cause burns and/or hyperpigmentation and/or various other side effects
if used properly, GA can bring lots of benefits to your skin

2.
You will have much better results if you first prepare your skin with glycolic acid 5% (more sensitive skin) or 10% (not so sensitive skin) toner (alternatively lotions with same percentage). Apply the toner 2-3 times a day, start 7 days before the first peel. Use the lotion all the time, between and after the peels. apply generously. this is an important step, since lots of people, myself included, had much better results with involving a ga or la product into their daily regimen, prior to and during the peel.

3.
Your face should be completely clean and dry beofre the peel. it is best to wait at least 15min after washing your face, to make sure the skin is completely dry, since water can neutralize the acid.

4.
THE PEEL:
gently apply over your whole face, even the areas that are not affected by scars, leave it for up to 6 minutes (depending on the sensitivity of the skin). when you feel burning (unpleasant tingling) and notice redness, take it off. it is very important that you follow the process all the time in the mirror and have everything prepared for rinsing the acid, as a second longer can cause burns. i suggest that you do part by part of your face, in that way, you'll be more able to control what's going on. for example, first do the forehead, that after it reacts, remove and than do one cheek, then the other one, then nose and chin. apply extremely gently. no rubbing in.
from my experience there are times when it becomes unbearable after only 2-3 times, but there are times, when i almost don't feel a thing. it probably depends on various reasons and skin condition of that day
you can apply the acid with your fingers, or you can alternatively use a brush or a cotton swab.
FIRST TIME USERS: Please start with 2-3min time, then you can gradually increase by a minute.

5.
TAKING THE ACID OFF
it is very important to remove it AS SOON as your skin starts to get red and/or you experience unbearable tingling and/or the temperature of your skin raises.
you can either remove the acid with a neutralizer (sodium bicarbonate eg.) or you can just rinse it with lots of water. water has a much higher ph than a peel does, so it will neutralize it, no worries.i suggest taking it off with only lots of water (cold or lukewarm, never hot), but i suggest always having some baking soda on your side just in case, b/c with it you can react faster.

6.
IMPORTANT NOTICE
be careful not to let the acid into your eyes. it's acid. you must not put the acid on the eye area and be very careful not to touch any of that thin sensitive skin around the eyes with it.
if you're a first time user, do the peel every 7 days for the first series of peels, then gradually you can shorten the time between the peels, but never do them more often than every 4 days. you should do six peels in a series, make a break for at least one month and then continue the same.
it's best do the peels in the evening
never expose yourself to direct sunlight at least 1 hour after applying the toner (if you're using one), don't do the treatments in the summer, or if you know you'll travel somewhere where you'll be exposed to direct sunlight most of the time, always use SPF cream when you're going out and never use sunbeds or other artificial tanning stuff during and at least three weeks after the treatment.
also avoid other sensitive areas like the line under your lower lip and around the nose.

7.
after rinsing, tap dry, very gently and apply a moisturizer (if you're using moisturizers with active ingredients, like AHA eg. don't use that one after the peel, but find sth that is very neutral and nourishing - like jojoba oil, emu oil, aloe vera or panthenol, eg.)

8. COMMON SIDE EFFECTS:
excessive dryness
excessive oiliness
breakouts
increased skin sensitivity
flaking

9. DO NOT:
exfoliate your skin during the treatment, because glycolic acid is an exfoliator itself, and, due to increased skin sensitivity, you can cause dmage to the skin by excessive exfoliation.
Also, do not use products containing BP, SA, retinoids, or any other active ingredient 24hrs prior to the peel and 24hrs after the peel.

If your concern is mainly redmarks, i suggest you also try the following:
1. sleep - rest is important for the cells to function properly and cell healing comes in sleep.
2. eat healthy, drink lots of water and never forget your vitamin c - skin healing also comes from the inside
3. never use products on your face that can be drying, irritating or harsh in any other way to your skin - dry and/or orritated skin cannot heal itself as easily as healthy skin can. you can find a list of common skin irritants here: http://www.acne.org/...howtopic=102347
4. don't ever ever touch your face! touching a pimple irritates your skin even more and can result in even bigger and stronger redmarks
5. always wear a sunscreen. you can find a list of recommended sunscreens here:
http://www.acne.org/...howtopic=102347

some AHA products you might want to consider:
Paula's Choice 8% Alpha Hydroxy Acid Gel
Neutrogena Healthy Skin Face Lotion
anything from Alpha Hydrox
ProActiv Revitalizing Toner

some more information on chemical peels:
http://www.dermnetnz...ruit-acids.html
http://www.cosmetics.../art.asp?ID=155
http://skincarerx.org/AHA.html
http://puredeming.co...directions.html
http://www.plasticsu...hemicalPeel.cfm

There are also quite a few studies done on the effect of glycolic, lactic and salicylic acid peels on asian and black skin, for treating various skin conditions, from hyperpigmentation to melasma. if you are of color, i suggest reading those studies before doing the peel (there are quite a few of them, so i won't link them here, also since lots of them are in pdf. i suggest you google "acid peel asian" or "acid peel black")

#2 screw_acne

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Posted 16 July 2006 - 09:27 AM

although i dont do peels but this sounds very useful for peelers

#3 Sick2Death

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Posted 16 July 2006 - 09:58 AM

i will be doing my first peel at 30% on friday night. rather do it on a weekend just incase i break out, etc. i dont want to show up at work all week looking like a mess. anyway, do i use baking soda to wash off? also, how do i apply the acid? cotton swap?

#4 Sick2Death

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Posted 19 July 2006 - 05:01 PM

just did my first peel. i have a few questions now.

1. i left the peel on for 3 minutes (30%). the direction that came with it said to leave it on for 5, but it started to burn and itch, so i took it off.

2. how do you know you have it completely off. even now that it has been off for a few minutes i still feel itching and burning.

3. how often can i perform these peels? the direction says every 2 weeks. you say ever 4 days. what have people been doing and have gotten good results.

4. when apply, do you just put it on a cotton pad and apply to the whole face? or do you have to put it on a cotton pad more than once? i put it on the first time and felt it wasnt alot, so i dabbed in the cotton pad again and put on a 2nd coat persay.

thanks for the help.

one last thing.

it says not to use BP, right? anyway, should i wash my face before bed? my face was is C&C continous control, which had BP.

#5 SpaceD

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Posted 19 July 2006 - 10:45 PM

If anyone has ever done one for the back and shoulders, please share how it went. If I'm clear by the end of my fourth month of antibiotics I want to try doing some peels. I think that my back could take a 50%, but it's going to take a lot longer to apply it, so perhaps I should start with a lighter one? Has anyone found a successful technique for doing this? Thanks!

#6 tikvica

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Posted 20 July 2006 - 03:40 PM

QUOTE(Sick2Death @ Jul 20 2006, 01:01 AM) View Post

just did my first peel. i have a few questions now.

1. i left the peel on for 3 minutes (30%). the direction that came with it said to leave it on for 5, but it started to burn and itch, so i took it off.

2. how do you know you have it completely off. even now that it has been off for a few minutes i still feel itching and burning.

3. how often can i perform these peels? the direction says every 2 weeks. you say ever 4 days. what have people been doing and have gotten good results.

4. when apply, do you just put it on a cotton pad and apply to the whole face? or do you have to put it on a cotton pad more than once? i put it on the first time and felt it wasnt alot, so i dabbed in the cotton pad again and put on a 2nd coat persay.

thanks for the help.

one last thing.

it says not to use BP, right? anyway, should i wash my face before bed? my face was is C&C continous control, which had BP.


1. you did the right thing. especially if you're just starting, it is important not to leave it on for too long. you can wait untill it's very itchy and then take it off. the good sign is too look in the mirror and look at the changes that are happening and take it off when you notice redness on your skin

2. it doesn't matter if it's itching even after you take it off. that's mostly circulation in your skin. just be sure to wash it off with plenty of water. yes, i've laso read that people use baking soda for neutralizing, but i've never tried it. my facialist just washesh it off with plenty of water and puts some panthenol foam afterwards to calm the skin

3. where did you order your peels from? different br ands say differently, but i think it's safe to use them every 4 to 7 days, especially b/c it's 30%. i always leave 3 days in between (for example monday, then thursday). my facialst also says that it's not good to leave too much space between, because you trigger a process (as i've explained, with redness and flaking, then breakout, then clear skin) so if you make a big break, you're actually starting the procces from the beginning

4. you can apply it with a fan brush if you got one with your peels, but it's perfectly fine to apply it with your fingers, or have someone apply it for you while you're laying down (so to be sure nothing comes near your eye area)

5. it's best to do the peels in the evening, so you just wash it off with water and you can put panthenol or whatever suits your skin. next morning just wash it with your regular cleanser and apply moisturizer, and then, next evening, you can go on with usual regimen

QUOTE(SpaceD @ Jul 20 2006, 06:45 AM) View Post

If anyone has ever done one for the back and shoulders, please share how it went. If I'm clear by the end of my fourth month of antibiotics I want to try doing some peels. I think that my back could take a 50%, but it's going to take a lot longer to apply it, so perhaps I should start with a lighter one? Has anyone found a successful technique for doing this? Thanks!


i've never had it done on my back, but i know that the procedure is the same. i suggest you don't rush with 50% but start with 30% and then, when you're a bit more experienced user, and see how your skin reacts and you get your skin a bit used to peels you can gradually use stronger peels, but i suggest you increase the percentage by 5% for each session of peels.
the best way to do it is to ask somebody to help you as back area is not that reachable and you can not follow the process that closely

#7 Sick2Death

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Posted 20 July 2006 - 05:29 PM

Thank you for the reply. I think the peel went well. My skin looks good today; it is a tiny bit red, but thats not a big deal. I had one pimple going into the peel on my forehead, but it has gone down to basically nothing now. I will probably do peels every 5 days for the next 30 days then take a break. How long should the break be? Also, coming back from the break I plan to begin doing jenneser peels. Is that a good idea?

Thanks.

#8 tikvica

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Posted 21 July 2006 - 07:31 AM

what are jenneser peels?
make a break for at least a month between peels
where do you live?
it's not a good idea to do the peels in the summer, as glycolic peels are photosensitive, so you may get white marks on your face. if you still do, be sure to use a high spf all day

#9 Sick2Death

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Posted 21 July 2006 - 03:32 PM

i live in boston. i am hardly out in the sun/day light. i work a 12hr a day job, so i dont see much sun/daylight. on weekends i do lay out or anything of the sort. i have yet to put on a SPF, but i will start next week.

check out this site to see a jenneser peel.

www.theoriginalskinstore.com

#10 tikvica

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Posted 21 July 2006 - 03:57 PM

oh, found it
http://www.theraderm...cal_peels.php#5
it's actually a mixture of lactic acid, salicylic acid and rescorcinol
if salicylic acid hasn't helped you before, doubt it that this would
i personally think that all these peels (glycolic, lactic, jessner, whatever...) have more or less same purpose, one should just see which suits them and their skin best
so, if you want to try this, i suggest you wait for at least 2 months after glycolic
don't do jessner if you're allergic to aspirin

#11 Sick2Death

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Posted 21 July 2006 - 04:44 PM

yea, i wouldnt try this for at least a few months down the road. i just have mild scaring on my cheeks, nothing major. i am hoping the 6 glycolic acid peels help out the situation. alot of people say they cant notice the scars, but i can and hate it.

#12 tikvica

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Posted 21 July 2006 - 04:46 PM

i know
i also have some shallow scarring, and although i know it's not noticeable, i can see it
GA will help, but i cannot guarantee all your scars will disappear after first session of peels
it takes some time
new skin actually imitates the old skin, so it's also reproducing all imperfections of old skin. luckily for us, reproducing is not 100% correct, so there is a chance.

#13 Sick2Death

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Posted 22 July 2006 - 12:34 PM

last question.

when doing a series of peels, is it good to have micro done along with the peels? if not micro, is it ok if i use the olay mirodermabrasion/peel kit to exfoliate? i was using it 2-3 times a week more so as a facial, it makes my skin feel so soft and smooth.

#14 tikvica

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Posted 24 July 2006 - 07:35 AM

no, when doing the peels do not do enything else!
only standard routine of washing and moisturizing. if you're using any active ingredients in your everyday routine (like BP) do not apply it at least 12hrs before or after the peel, but it's perfect if you don't apply it 24 before or after. so, for example, day one, you do the standard routin in the morning and evening. day 2: morning: just wash and moisturize, no bp. evening: just the peel. day3: morning: just wash and moisturize and evening go back to your usual routine.
SO: no scrubs, no any other exfoliators, no masks, no nothing except soap, moisturizer and BP as suggested.
if you're not using BP or any other mild topical like the rest of the AHA and BHA family, but sth stronger, i suggest you check if you should use them at all while doing GA.
GA is an exfoliator itself and there's no need for additional exfoliation b/c you can only harm your skin by irritating it too much. even though your skin can get flaky during the process, don't do anything, everything will come to normal after your 6th peel.

#15 tikvica

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Posted 08 August 2006 - 04:15 AM

Always perform a patch test in an inconspicuous area and wait 24 hours to observe signs of irritation before using any product. Directions must be followed exactly. Do not use if you have undergone recent Chemotherapy treatment or Accutane Treatment. Wait 2 weeks after stopping Retin-A or Obaji peels to use any chemical peel. Always use a sunscreen of SPF 15 or greater when using a peeling product. Never use any Peel product around the eyes or on the lips. As always, use Reasonable judgment: if excessive irritation or stinging occurs with any product, rinse off immediately and discontinue use. Do not use the IG or any products with fragrance or exfoliation properties for 24 hours after any Peel product.
from puredeming.com

guys on accutane: you should wait for at least 6 months before GA

#16 Lebal

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Posted 08 August 2006 - 07:17 AM

I did a relative intense peel on glycolic once and it caused spots to bleed. The tissue protecting them evidently had burnt away. Not as dangerous or as bad as it sounds really.
So now when doing a peel, i have a cotton wool bud that i dip in the the bicarb neutralizer solution and then dab that onto the more recently active spots.
Red marks however are fine, and this is the main reason i use them. The marks, understanably, seem a lots redder after the peel. But this goes away.
It does to my complextion what sunbathing does without the tan, probably because of the healing process involved my skin seems fresher and has a smoother clarity.
I cannot quite believe i nearly paid someone 45£ a pop to do it for me. Its really very simple, not that risky, just have to make sure you respect what you are doing and wear sunscreen.

#17 koreankid

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Posted 08 August 2006 - 10:17 PM

My derm only told me to get them from him... not an esthetician. Is it still OK to go to an esthetician for Glycolic peels?

#18 tikvica

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Posted 09 August 2006 - 11:32 PM

QUOTE(koreankid @ Aug 9 2006, 05:17 AM) View Post

My derm only told me to get them from him... not an esthetician. Is it still OK to go to an esthetician for Glycolic peels?


i must say that i cannot answer your question, b/c there are good and bad aestheticians, as well as good and bad derms. where i live, derms do not perform glycolics, but they suggest good aestheticians that you can go to. my advice is to ask around, see if some of your friends have already done it, take advice from them, go to various astheticians and ask for details, not just the price, but much more important things: the strength of the peels, where they get them from, is it ure glycolic or there's sth else in it (there are some amazing mixtures of glycolic acid and some other stuff that enhance the result and also reduce the tightness and flaking, and these can be found only with proffesionals, i've never seen them sold online)
there are two reasons why your derm could have told you to do it only with him: either he does not believe in aestheticians, or he wants to make sure you spend your money with him. be sure not to get ripped off
these acids are not expensive (a small bottle of good acid will cost you up to 20 dollars online and it can last for a great number of peels). where i live 6 peels with my facialist cost me around 70 dollars total including a big bottle of GA toner. ok, this is extremely cheap (i do live in eastern europe smile.gif, but this is only to give you a clue about what it costs them to do it
in the end, the price is not that important if you're sure you found someone who is proffessional, with good material
good luck and let me know how it went

QUOTE(lebal @ Aug 8 2006, 02:17 PM) View Post

I did a relative intense peel on glycolic once and it caused spots to bleed. The tissue protecting them evidently had burnt away. Not as dangerous or as bad as it sounds really.
So now when doing a peel, i have a cotton wool bud that i dip in the the bicarb neutralizer solution and then dab that onto the more recently active spots.


spots bleeding is perfectly normail thing and there's no need to neutralize the acid on them. GA goes deep into your pores and cleans them from the inside, so your active spots will actually heal much faster if you just leave the GA on

#19 tikvica

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Posted 05 September 2006 - 10:46 PM

also, when you buy, make sure you're buying a good thing
there are acids out there that are 100% synthetic, and that is not a good thing to buy, so always do some research first
here's a hint: a good acid will never cost you 5 bucks per bottle

#20 Stephen*

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Posted 06 September 2006 - 12:48 AM

Hey Lebal. I did the patch test on my 30% GA Peel yesterday and i noticed a same reaction to you, no redness or nothing by one spot i did have fell off after 2 hours after the peel. like the bond the acne had with the skin just disintergrated.

and in response to jasmina original post, im 99% sure that you cannot use soap or a cleanser for taking off the peel, bicarb of soda is suitable for taking off the peel.