Benefits of Glycolic Peels

A chemical peel is performed at a dermatologist's or aesthetician's office.

Photo: Thinkstock/Comstock/Getty Images

Underneath your dead skin cells and pimples lies healthy, clear skin -- you just have to get to it. That's what chemical peels, such as a glycolic acid facial peel, aim to do. Glycolic acid peels are a form of alpha hydroxy acid. That means glycolic acid is derived from fruits -- in this case, sugar cane. While it may be weird to think sugar cane can help you get better skin, glycolic acid has some unique properties that help you get rid of dull, dry skin cells.

Clear Your Pimples

Think of pimples like a drain that's clogged. When oil fills your pores, a pimple forms -- and you can either wait for it to unclog or use something like a chemical peel to unclog it. Glycolic acid has tiny molecules, meaning it can dig down more deeply into your pores, breaking up oil and rooting out dead skin cells that can plug the pore as well. The same goes for blackheads and whiteheads, which can be pesky to remove on their own. Because a glycolic acid peel is considered a light- to medium-depth penetrating peel, it may be best used on mild acne. Severe acne may require a stronger peel.

Improve Texture

Your skin cells are constantly dying and regenerating. It's sad to say, but there are a couple of things that can slow this down. The first is aging -- your skin cells are produced less quickly as you get older. The second is sun exposure. Exposure to the sun can affect your skin's texture and slow new cell production. A glycolic acid peel is designed to stimulate skin cell production. The glycolic acid sinks into your pores and sets off a chain of chemical reactions that helps to build new cells and exfoliates dead skin cells from your face. This can make even sun-damaged skin improve in appearance, looking smoother.

Fine Wrinkles

You're looking the mirror one morning and there they are -- those first few wrinkles that appear. Maybe they are around your eyes, on your forehead or around your mouth. Either way they're there, but they don't have to be there to stay. That's where glycolic acid comes in. Glycolic acid can be used to smooth fine wrinkles. This is accomplished by stimulating growth of new skin cells and helping to remove dead skin cells. This is especially helpful if you have suffered from wrinkles as a result of sun damage, because removing damaged skin can help to reveal new, healthy skin.

Reducing Acne Scars

Those pesky acne scars -- they leave indentations in your skin and/or reddish-purple marks on the face. If you have some leftover memories from acne blemishes long past, a glycolic acid peel can help reduce their noticeability. Although it may take a few repeat trips to your dermatologist's office, a glycolic acid peel can help to reduce areas of hyperpigmentation and remove damaged skin.

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