Glycolic Acid Peel Gone Wrong? My Face is Absolutely Horrible. Help? (Photo)

I had a 40% Glycolic Acid Peel done last night (2 days prior she did dermaplaning). The chemical peel was left on for 3-4 minutes and burned so bad. She did a neutralizer and then removed with cold water. My face looked bad right away. She sent me home with some Bactroban Cream 2%. Today I was horrified and went to get another opinion at a skin essentials place. The lady there wasn't sure what happened and gave me x2 samples of iS clinical pro-heal advance. I don't know what to do? It's awful!

Doctor Answers 5

Glycolic Acid

Dear patient, Please see a board certified Dermatologist right away. You have a superficial chemical burn that can leave blotchy discoloration if not treated correctly. I treat my patients with topical Silvadene ointment for a few days followed by a light steroid cream. Strict sun avoidance is a must. Please don't pick at the skin as it peels off. I don't believe that you will end up with permanent marks but darker skin such as yours can become hyper-pigmented. The skin will take 4-5 days to heal.


Los Angeles Dermatologist
4.7 out of 5 stars 49 reviews

Glycolic acid peel

I would recommend seeing your dermatologist for a treatment plan. In the mean time be very careful with any sun exposure, wear your hat and lots of sunscreen to prevent against unnecessary damage or discoloration. Use gentle emollient cleansers and post peel balm or silvadene until you are healed and then continue using hydrating moisturizers. Once your skin is fully healed I would recommend talking with our dermatologist or aesthetician about a hydroquinone cream which will help lighten discolored areas and even out your skin tone.

-Best wishes

Pablo Prichard, MD
Phoenix Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 42 reviews

Peel Gone Wrong

I recommend you go see a board-certified dermatologist who can help you with your healing. This is what happens when you choose to have treatments (which have known risks of permanent damage when done incorrectly) with non-physicians. In the meantime, I would use bland emolliation and gentle cleansing. Continue with the Bactroban three times a day in the areas that are open or crusted. Be very careful with  the sun.

Problems with a glycolic acid peel

A glycolic acid peel is an epidermal peel and should not cause any damage. It is possible that your epidemis was exfoliated due to the dermaplaning and that the peel went a bit deep in some areas.  At this point you should carefully wash your face with a non-detergent based soap and apply a petroleum based ointment two to three times a day, use a product like Aquaphor.  If you have residual redness after you heal over the next few days you may need to be treated with a topical steroid.  In this case you will need to be seen by a dermatologist or plastic surgeon.  

Jeffrey Zwiren, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 16 reviews

First, please see a dermatologist for immediate help.

You have had a service that really excessed the tissue treatment depth legally permitted in most states for Estheticians.  I would recommend staying away from further services with this person.  Provided you don't hyperpigment, you should heal OK with the guidance of an actual dermatologist.  Please consider updating your post and let us know how things turned out.

Kenneth D. Steinsapir, MD
Los Angeles Oculoplastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 23 reviews

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.