How Often Should I Use 20% Glycolic Acid Peel at Home DIY Style?

I am a 23 year old tanned Asian. I have a sun damaged skin and a couple of acne scars from pricking months before and i also have clogged pores that make my skin look like they have tiny bumps or feels like a sand paper texure. After doing research about chemical peels, i bought 20% Glycolic Acid Solution & 10% TCA peel at a local online store. Im Thinking of using the Glycolic Acid first to make my skin accustomed to the peel then move on to the TCA if i want to see a dramatic result.

Doctor Answers 3

How to do an at home style chemical peel

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There is an art to properly doing a chemical peel and many textbooks have been written about the subject! Doing a successful chemical peel also requires a fair amount of expertise. For example, peel depth is determined by several factors: the chemical chosen and its concentration; patient skin type and thickness; the body site to be peeled; skin preparation; application method; duration of skin contact with the acid; the season and climate. For all these reasons, I obviously do not recommend at-home chemical peels. To get the desired effect from a chemical peel I recommend you visit an experienced physician's office (not just a local spa) for your treatment.

South Burlington Dermatologic Surgeon
4.4 out of 5 stars 13 reviews

20% glycolic acid will not significantly benefit acne scars or photodamage

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Glycolic acid peels are a very superficial peel, and if used appropriately, only impact the top layer of the skin. Scarring, photodamage, and acne affect the skin at a deeper level, so it is unlikely that you will improve these conditions with a home glycolic acid peel. Prescription retinoids are a simple, relatively well-tolerated medication that can address photodamage, scarring, and acne. They are safe in tanned skin and in darker skin types. A board certified dermatologist can select an appropriate retinoid and tailor a topical regimen that will address your skin needs.

Ramona Behshad, MD
Saint Louis Dermatologic Surgeon

Home peels - how long to keep on the chemicals?

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Quite frankly, you should never use these at home. These are chemicals and should ONLY be used by trained professionals. I have many patients who did various home remedies, peels, and other things, and many of them have permanent scars and disfigurements. Even though online stores will sell just about anything to anyone, these are chemicals and misusing them (not prepping the skin, keeping it on too long, using too high of percentages, using these while using other creams or products that will interfere, not neutralizing properly afterwards, etc.) can cause you absolutely severe damage and perhaps a lifetime of issues. This is just a bad idea. See a trained professional if you want a peel like this - Asian skin is particularly prone to hypo and hyperpigmentation - BOTH of which these peels can cause if mishandled.

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.