You’d really like to start doing your own glycolic acid chemical peels, but you are a little bit nervous about the process right? Should you start off with 20%, 30% or higher concentration? How often should you repeat the process? What should you do before and after the peel? Should you purchase a peeling solution or make or own? These are just some of the questions that you may be asking yourself right now.
Glycolic peels can be used by both men and women. It is also safe for use by individuals with sensitive skin. With its mild effect, it is recommended as a great starter peel. If you feel like you are not yet ready for deep chemical peeling but want to achieve a beautiful change anyway, you can start with this solution. This article is going to guide you through the process and also give you a couple of homemade recipes if you decide to go that route.
Fast facts about glycolic acid skin peels
Glycolic chemical acid peels also known as an AHA peel falls under the alpha hydroxy acid group. AHAs are natural-occurring acids found in fruits and vegetables. There are also the mildest of all chemical peels and are considered superficial peels because they do not penetrate deeply into your skin and are therefore relatively safe to use. Used over a period of time, these peels can bring light back to your complexion.
Usually, this type of chemical peel is suggested for people who have fine lines, dry patches of skin, mild cases of acne, or uneven skin tone from sun exposure. As it is fairly mild, AHA is often incorporated in creams and lotions as daily maintenance to keep the skin look younger and healthier.
Glycolic acid can be found in many common fruits and vegetables, but most notable of them is sugar cane juice. Other fruits and vegetables that contain glycolic acid are tomatoes, pineapples, sour milk, and papaya.
Getting started with your glycolic acid peels at home
One of the biggest benefits of doing your own glycolic peels is the potential savings you can realize. Since this peel solution is considered relatively safe, there shouldn’t be any problems with you performing your own application provided that you do it as recommended.
If you intend to purchase your glycolic peel solution (as opposed to making it yourself), you can do so from any number of online retailers like Amazon and Natural Skin Shop or see my recommendation at the end of this article. Just be sure you are buying from a reputable merchant who stands behind their products.
The next decision to make is whether to buy a peel kit or a standalone solution. For the kits (which includes pre and after care products), prices usually start at around $52 for the lower strength peels. If you are a peel virgin, I highly recommend investing in a kit as it would have everything you need for a successful peel.
The next step is to decide on the peel strength or concentration and while it is tempting to want to start off with a higher strength right off the bat, you should exercise caution and start slowly with a lower concentration and then work your way up from there. For your first peel a 20% to 30% strength is a good starting point. You should also base your choice according to your skin type as well.
For best results do..
- learn how to properly use your peel by by reading and following the included product instructions very carefully
- only use quality peels from reputable sources
- do a patch test prior to the full facial peel
- avoid the eye and mouth area
- avoid the sun as much as possible after your peel and wear sunscreen
What to expect after your treatment
You should also take note that AHA or glycolic acid peels will cause dryness and a slight irritation to the skin, such as a stinging sensation, redness, and the like. This means that if you’re going to do your own glycolic acid peel, you should only do so once or twice a week at the most.
How often should you use glycolic acid chemical peels?
Four to six peels using glycolic acid solution may be enough for you to achieve the results you desire. But this should still be based on the type of skin problem you are facing, your skin type and how your skin responds to the treatment. You should at least allow a week for your skin to completely recover before your next treatment application. For maintenance however, application should be performed at intervals of two to three months.
The Peeling Process
Now, to get a better understanding of the process you will do at home, you have to understand how it’s done in spas and clinics. An AHA or glycolic acid peel normally contains 3 steps, which are the priming, peeling, and the moisturizing processes.
Priming is the step where you strip your skin clear of all dirt and grease to make the glycolic acid solution better penetrate the skin. You should wash your face with a mild soap or facial wash and warm water, followed by a mild astringent. After washing your face, pat it dry with a towel.
After the face is primed, you can apply the peeling solution to the face, carefully avoiding the sensitive eye and mouth areas. After the solution is applied, you should typically leave it on your face for 10-15 minutes to let it do its work. The glycolic acid is a powerful exfoliant, and it will gently lift the outer layers of the skin to reveal the younger-looking skin underneath.
After the peeling process, you can wash it off with warm water and mild soap. You will see the results immediately, and you can feel a noticeable improvement in your skin’s texture. The last step is the moisturizing process, wherein you can use any moisturizer of your choice to combat the dryness that is a natural result of the glycolic acid peel.
How to Make Homemade Glycolic Acid Peel
Now that you’ve understood the considerations and the process involved, you’re now ready to make your own glycolic acid peel! There will be two recipes. One is fruit-based and the other is sugar cane based. Here’s what you’ll need for the fruit-based glycolic acid peel:
Fruit-based Homemade Glycolic Acid Peel Recipe
• Measuring cups and spoons
• A blender
• Small bowl
• Plain, unflavored gelatin
• Honey (optional)
Step 1: This type of glycolic acid peel is like making a smoothie. Use the sharp knife to peel the pineapple and the papaya and cut out chunks of both fruits to fill 1 cup. Put these into a blender and pulse or puree until smooth or until the mixture achieves a creamy consistency.
Step 2: Put the blended fruit puree into a small bowl then stir in 2 tbsp. of unflavored gelatin to the mixture. The gelatin serves two purposes. One, it will hold the mixture together to form a mask-like mixture, as opposed to having the puree slip and slide all over, thus making a mess; and two, it will provide collagen to the skin, which improves elasticity, helping wrinkles and large pores disappear.
Step 3: You can also opt to add 1 tsp. of honey to the mixture. The honey will soothe the skin and will replenish the moisture lost during the peeling process.
Step 4: Heat the mixture on low for a minute or less, or until the gelatin dissolves. Afterwards you will have to refrigerate the mixture until the gelatin becomes slightly firm.
Step 5: When the mixture has set, you can take it out of the refrigerator and apply it onto your face. Use your fingers, but make sure they’re clean! Remember to avoid the eye and mouth areas.
Step 6: Let it settle on your skin for 10-15 minutes, as you can feel the tightening and rejuvenating effect.
Step 7: After 15 minutes, you can gently peel off the mask from your face. Check your face in the mirror—you can already see the results!
Step 8: You could top it all off with some moisturizer to keep the skin hydrated, but remember to put only a thin layer, because you wouldn’t want your pores clogged.
Sugar Cane-based Homemade Glycolic Face Peel Recipe
• Sugar cane granules or juice
• Lemon juice
• Brown sugar
Sugar cane contains glycolic acid, so using the granules or the juice will do. If you’re using the granules, remember to use only the fine ones, as larger granules will scratch the skin. You can skip adding the brown sugar if you’re using the granules, but consider adding 1-2 tbsp. of brown sugar if you’ll be using sugar cane juice.
Adding 1-2 tbsp. of lemon juice in the mix will make the peel more effective, as the skin will better absorb it with the acid mixed in. What’s more, lemon juice is rich in vitamin C which helps whiten and detoxify the skin.
You can also apply a thin layer of moisturizer afterwards to keep the skin supple and smooth. Congratulations! You’ve just successfully done your own glycolic acid chemical peel!
Your next step
Since glycolic acid is a superficial peel, don’t expect miracles. It will leave your face softer and more even-toned but don’t expect dramatic results in treating moderate to severe acne scarring, deep lines and wrinkles age spots, photo-aging or sun damage. Also, consider the ongoing cost of the peels since you’ll need to do several treatments in order to see any significant results.