Glycolic Peel

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Glycolic acid based chemical peels gently exfoliate the skin to improve the appearance of dull, dry, and uneven complexions. Glycolic peels are simple, inexpensive, and are typically accompanied by little no recovery time.

Glycolic Peel Overview - 1049


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The Skinny

Average Recovery

0 days








$200 - $600

The Specifics

What is a glycolic peel?

Glycolic acid is an ingredient utilized in both superficial chemical peels and medium depth chemical peels (the penetration of the chemical solution is dependent on the concentration used), however, glycolic acid is most commonly used in superficial peels.

Glycolic acid (GA) is a type of alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA), like lactic acid, that can be found in numerous over-the-counter skincare products and at-home DIY exfoliating solutions, in addition to in-office procedures. In contrast, salicylic acid is a beta-hydroxy acid. Glycolic acid gently exfoliates skin cells to reveal smoother, firmer, and brighter skin. Glycolic acid peels are especially effective for evening skin tone and texture.

What cosmetic concerns does a glycolic peel treat?

A glycolic peel uses glycolic acid for gentle exfoliation of dead or damaged skin cells.

  1. Acne: Glycolic acid cleanses the top skin layers killing acne causing bacteria and unclogging pores.
  2. Acne Scars & Scars: Glycolic acid peels can progressively debride scar tissue and encourage healthy cell growth.
  3. Rosacea: Glycolic acid cleanses and exfoliates to reduce common symptoms of rosacea.
  4. Uneven Skin Tone: Glycolic acid exfoliates damaged skin cells to lessen uneven pigmentation.
  5. Melasma: Exfoliation of skin layers lessens melasma symptoms.
  6. Uneven Skin Texture: Glycolic acid removes built up oil and dead/damaged skin cells.
  7. Fine Lines & Wrinkles: Refreshing the complexion with glycolic acid can reduce early signs of aging.

Who is the ideal candidate for a glycolic peel?

The ideal candidate for a glycolic peel is looking to improve the appearance of minor to mild fine lines/wrinkles, skin tone or texture, or other blemishes. Glycolic peel are safe in dark skin tones, but should be utilized cautiously due to the higher risk of hypopigmentation. Glycolic acid peels are not recommended for those with active skin infections, acute sun damage, open lesions, or more severe skin concerns.

What is the average recovery associated with a glycolic peel?

There is minimal downtime following a glycolic peel. Minimal skin redness with flaking and dryness resolves within a few days. Most individuals resume normal activities immediately following the chemical peel. Individuals should take care to limit sun exposure, use sunscreen, and practice regular skin care for the first few days after treatment.

What are the potential side effects of a glycolic peel?

Possible side effects following a glycolic peel are few, but may include skin irritation, dryness/flaking, development of discoloration (hyperpigmentation or hypopigmentation), and prolonged redness.

What can someone expect from the results of a glycolic peel?

The results of a glycolic acid peel will develop over 14 days as skin heals. Treatments every one to two weeks for four months are used to achieve the desired aesthetic. Maintenance can then be performed every six months. Results are temporary and will be subject to natural aging and photo-damage.

What is the average cost of a glycolic peel?

Glycolic peels cost anywhere from $200 to $600. The actual cost of a glycolic acid peel is dependent upon location, provider, and length and involvement of the cosmetic procedure. Learn more in our complete guide to the cost of chemical peels.


  • Minimal Recovery Time
  • Improves Skin Dryness
  • Improves Acne
  • Smooths Rough Skin
  • Improves Skin Texture
  • Brightens Skin


  • Temporary
  • Multiple Treatments
  • Minimal Improvement

Invasiveness Score


Invasiveness is graded based on factors such as anesthesia practices, incisions, and recovery notes common to this procedure.

What to Expect

Glycolic acid based chemical peels gently exfoliate the skin to improve the appearance of dull, dry, and uneven complexions. Here is a quick guide for what to expect before, during, and after a glycolic peel.

The Takeaway

A glycolic peel is a minimally invasive chemical peel skin resurfacing. Glycolic acid penetrates upper skin layers to correct minor to mild skin concerns with minimal downtime and risk side effects.
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Source List


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  1. American Academy of Dermatology Association Chemical Peels: Overview


‘Try on’ aesthetic procedures and instantly visualize possible results with AEDIT and our patented 3D aesthetic simulator.

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