Skin Test Before Glycolic Peel?

I am 66, female, trying to improve facial fine lines around mouth, some sagging, general dullness, and slight redness on cheeks. As an African-American with medium brown complexion, I am terrified of possible hyperpigmentation or hypopigmentation if I have the initial glycolic chemical peel recommended by the R.N. health provider of cosmetic services. Should I insist on having a pre-test before having a glycolic chemical peel? Am I at high risk for pigment changes (5 monthly treatments being recommended)?

Doctor Answers 3

Start with a glycolic 30% peel.

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Thank you for your question.

To specifically answer the question about trying a glycolic peel prior to officially doing one, I would say that it would not be harmful to try a full face 30% glycolic peel, These peels are very mild and really only remove the very top sublayers of the top layer of skin. Why you may get some crusting and peeling, generally these are extremely mild and I have not noted any persistent hyperpigmentation or scarring resulting from this peel. If you want to be even more cautious, you can ask for a 4% hydroquinone cream that you can start twice a day 1 week prior to your peel.

Hope this helps!

Beverly Hills Dermatologist

Skin test before glycolic acid peel

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In the hands of a practitioner experienced in doing chemical peels on African American skin your risk is low with a glycolic peel. There is no need for a skin test. Be aware, however, what a glycolic acid peel will and won't do. It will help with the dullness and perhaps the fine lines but will do nothing for sagging. If you have facial redness be examined by a board-certified dermatologist for a possible medical condition such as seborrheic dermatitis before you get a peel. If you have redness a peel may make the problem worse.

Dina D. Strachan, MD
New York Dermatologist

No need for a pre-test prior to glycolic acid peels

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However, make sure that your provider is well versed in treating skin of color and that they are well educated and skilled in performing chemical peels.

A well-qualified provider should be able to decide easily what would be the best peeling agent and regimen for you. If you are seeking to treat hyperpigmentation such as melasma on your face, you should be on a bleaching cream with hydroquinone two to four weeks prior to starting your chemical peel series. I hope that helps.
Good luck!
Dr. R

Steven E. Rasmussen, MD, FAAD
Austin Dermatologist

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.