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windysmile

Help! Attempted to "Burn Off" Pimples with Glycolic Acid Peel!

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Okay...maybe this wasn't such a hot idea.

I am 27, had pretty bad acne in my teens, but continue to use Retin-A, as my dermatologist recommends it. As a result, I've been lucky to have really nice skin for about eight years. I thought I didn't really need the Retin-A, and at times I have taken breaks without problems.

Well, I happen to be going through a particularly stressful time and basically stopped washing my face regularly and using Retin-A for about a month. I noticed a few spots but didn't think much of it. I also started using natural progesterone cream for estrogen dominance about 6 months ago. I pretty much stopped using that regularly when the stress mounted - big mistake! I'm pretty sure it is the reason I'm having these issues now.

So I basically had a lot of pustules (not large ones) and decided I would use 30% glycolic acid to just burn them off rather than pop them. Yes, it burned off most of them, but it also seems to have inflamed the acne. It looks way worse, and new pustules seem to want to form. Actually, new pustules (very tiny ones) popped up AFTER the peel, which makes me think I just invited new pimples to surface sooner. Right now I am just slathered in Neosporin (the regular kind - not the cream. Don't want to leave my house like this to go get the cream right now).

My skin hurts, is majorly inflamed, and is incredibly sensitive. Has anyone else irritated their skin like this? Any suggestions on how to reduce inflammation quickly? I've been eating poorly, but made a point to eat well today. My skin is in pain! I'm hoping the inflammation of the acne will go down with the inflammation of my skin generally. I have fish oil, zinc, plenty of water, advil. Any suggestions on how to calm my skin and what I should expect would be appreciated. I am also on my period of course! I just have not broken out in so long, I just wasn't thinking and didn't realize I would be aggravating the situation further. It really wasn't so awful before I did this last night.

Should I abstain from Retin-A while I have this problem? Should I even try washing my face or would it be best to leave it alone right now? I tried tea tree oil and since my face was freshly "peeled," it only seemed to make the pimples larger and more red. Ugh! Any advice would be greatly appreciated! Thank you!

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Well, I've done peels before but not at 30%. I have incredibly sensitive skin and I remember when I got the peels done at my derm's office, it started at about 5% and went higher after each treatment. I believe your new acne was formed as a reaction to that VERY irritating peel. My suggestion to you is to put moisturizer on your skin. Put a small amount first and if it's okay put a reasonable amount on it. Be sure to stay away from the sun. Drink lots of water. And perhaps ice your face time to time to soothe the irritation (15 minutes at a time from the time the ice is in a towel/bag... maybe twice a day?).

That means lay off the Retin-A until your skin fully heals. Maybe in 1 1/2 to two weeks. I can't say anything about the neosporin because I've never used it for acne (it makes my skin break out in rash).

I would also suggest to not move your face much. Why? Because in case it starts to "scab" a little, you don't want to break it.

Wash your face with a gentle soap or cleanser (Cetaphil or maybe Ivory). Go basic.

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Thanks for your reply, Emerald.

I really do think different skin conditions must react differently to different strengths of glycolic acid. Maybe for acne 30% is just way too harsh. I already had the peel, and would use it maybe once every couple of months just to refresh my complexion. I wouldn't say it is "safe" to do at home, but if you follow the directions properly, you can get the same results for a fraction of the price. Since I've had good results without acne, I figured this same strength would be fine.

Warning to everyone out there - don't do this unless you want to make acne way worse, look like a lobster, and experience considerable pain. I'm sure everyone is smart enough not to do what I did though!

I have no acne on my forehead (just the hormonal chin / cheeks kind) and my forehead skin looks completely normal and doesn't hurt at all. The skin where my acne is looks very raw and red. So I must have just aggravated the acne with too high of a concentration.

I think I will try icing when I feel like touching my face again. I think I've done enough to it already. :wall: Thanks for the tips.

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^ i second that. keep in mind that all aloe vera gels are not equal. i like aloe life skin gel or buying a real plant. i wouldnt use any thing else for a while except for a gentle cleanser.

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I really suggest backing off of any acids, prescriptions, retinols, etc, until your skin heals up. Try getting an organic or all natural cleanser and heavy duty moisturizer, simply because a lot of products on the market are very irritating with the amount of additives they contain.

Try a natural or non-irritating moisture mask a few times a week, and apply aloe vera. (either from the plant or one from a health food store that doesn't contain many additives.) I really hate to keep on preaching the organic/ all-natural, because I do use products that aren't like acids and such, but I just found that when my skin was very raw and irritated, nothing helped more than cutting out my harsh cleanser and moisturizer.

I know from experience that Eminence makes great masks, and Suki's Facial Moisture Serum is really moisturizing and gentle.

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^ i second that. keep in mind that all aloe vera gels are not equal. i like aloe life skin gel or buying a real plant. i wouldnt use any thing else for a while except for a gentle cleanser.
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I just did a 30% peel last week. It does "inflame" your current acne pretty badly and could aggravate the skin to the point that new acne comes up. It does, despite the appearance, help your current acne. It will look more inflamed because the skin over it is very irritated. I suggest drinking tons of water and putting 100% aloe vera all over your face morning and night. Also, don't wash your face with normal soap...unless you want to purchase an all natural cleanser with no soap I wouldn't wash your face at all, just splash it with cool water a few times during the day.

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I just did a 30% peel last week. It does "inflame" your current acne pretty badly and could aggravate the skin to the point that new acne comes up. It does, despite the appearance, help your current acne. It will look more inflamed because the skin over it is very irritated. I suggest drinking tons of water and putting 100% aloe vera all over your face morning and night. Also, don't wash your face with normal soap...unless you want to purchase an all natural cleanser with no soap I wouldn't wash your face at all, just splash it with cool water a few times during the day.
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I just did a 30% peel last week. It does "inflame" your current acne pretty badly and could aggravate the skin to the point that new acne comes up. It does, despite the appearance, help your current acne. It will look more inflamed because the skin over it is very irritated. I suggest drinking tons of water and putting 100% aloe vera all over your face morning and night. Also, don't wash your face with normal soap...unless you want to purchase an all natural cleanser with no soap I wouldn't wash your face at all, just splash it with cool water a few times during the day.

thanks valo...can i ask how long it took for the inflamed acne to calm down after using the aloe vera? how long did you wait before washing your face again? i can already see dramatic improvement on the acne on my chin - it is just the acne on the sides of my face now. But it does seem to be improving slowly. I'm drinking water with emergin-c and taking zinc and fish oil.

Will Aloe actually do anything to "help" acne, or just to heal the skin and work on decreasing inflammation? I know neosporin can clog some people's pores, but others say it helps. It seems to sort of be helping mine rather than hurting it. One whitehead seems to be coming to the surface quickly and the rest of my acne has either improved or has not spread. It has zinc in it and is anti-bacterial; why would you recommend aloe over neosporin?

Some of you may think I am crazy, but since I never get acne, I have the most gentle cleanser in the world - DHC Deep Cleansing Oil. It's the only cleanser I've ever used consistently - removes all oil and makeup and does not leave your skin with a film. It doesn't contain detergents. It also seems to have helped remove the pustules last night. Should I leave the pustles alone and just not touch considering my skin's sensiiviy, or should I get rid of them? I am inclined to leave them alone.

If someone could explain if aloe has any benefits for acne I don't know of, I'd appreciate it. I know a good deal about general skincare, but not acne.

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I get a 30% salicylic acid peel every month, and i've found that a really good option is Aquaphor. Just smear it all over your face at night, and in the morning, your skin will be soft, smooth, and MUCH less red. I have some whiteheads, papules, and blackheads, and this doesn't clog your pores as longs as you only use it for the period in which your skin is actually damaged. don't use it as a regular moisturizer, because it will make you break out.

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