Glycolic Acid Treatments (Peels)

Glycolic acid loosens the bonds between cells, allowing old, dead skin cells to float away-- to exfoliate. This revitalizes skin and stimulates the production of new, healthy skin and subcutaneous tissues. After exfoiliating dead skin, the use of sunblocks to protect skin from the suns damaging rays is needed even more since the natural barrier of dead skin cells has been thinned.

Glycolic Washes (peels): 

Several different strengths of glycolic acid can be applied to your face in an MD supervised program. We sell a 10% glycolic acid for home use. Care use of this product is required, since a 10% strength may cause scabbing if it is left on your face for more than a few minutes when your skin is not used to it. 30% and 50% are used in the office/shop for treatments. Many spas use lower strengths-- ask before you have procedures performed. For home use of glycolic products, please see the Instructions for Use of Facial Care Products for Men or Women

Call 763 494-9846 for questions or to schedule an office-strength glycolic treatment.

What Does Glycolic Acid Do?

Glycolic Acid comes in varying strengths. At lower strengths it is used as an exfoliant and at higher strengths it is used as a mild chemical peel. As an exfoliant it softens and loosens the dry, dead skin cells that form a barrier layer on the skin surface. This allows the skin to shed the dead cells. This process uncovers new skin cells to reveal a smoother, moister and fresher skin surface.

At the same time it peels off dead layers of skin, Glycolic Acid loosens the natural oils and dirt that build up in pores. This deep cleansing action minimizes the appearance of the pores and reduces the development of pimples or blackheads.

Glycolic Acid also stimulates circulation to the skin. By doing this the body's production of elastin and collagen is increased so that the skin is more supple.  The new living cells retain moisture better which reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.  By decreasing the barrier of dead skin cells, it becomes easier for topical medications to penetrate the skin surface, creating better therapeutic results.

What skin problems show significant improvement from a Glycolic Program?

Glycolic Acid as part of the treatment of many skin conditions including acne, precancerous lesions, keratoses, melasma, and/or other excessive pigmentation problems.

How many Glycolic Washes are needed?  

For optimal benefit, a series of 4 to 6 applications of Glycolic Acid are used. The appropriate strength is chosen depending on your skin condition. These treatments are performed at 7 to 10 day intervals. Periodic follow-up glycolic washes 3 to 5 times throughout the year are often used to maintain your skin's improved condition. If you are using the Glycolic Washes as a part of a therapeutic program, like treating acne, more frequent washes may be required. Unlike a TCA or phenol peel, a glycolic program is designed to produce changes in your skin slowly and safely.

How is a Glycolic Wash performed?

A glycolic wash is performed in the comfort of an office setting. After washing off makeup, Glycolic Acid in a concentration of 30% or higher is applied to your skin. You may experience a mild tingling or stinging sensation when the glycolic is applied. After a few minutes, the Glycolic Acid is neutralized with a gel that makes the acid inactive and it is then rinsed off thoroughly with water.

What can I expect during my first Glycolic Wash series?

After the your first glycolic wash your skin will appear smoother and will have better color. Your skin should appear healthier with general overall improvement in its condition. As you go through the series you may experience minimal sunburn-like redness, light flaking, or possibly even some crusting or scabbing.  At the end of the series your skin will be smoother and you will have more even skin tones. Fine lines are diminished and your complexion will have better color due to improved circulation. Your skin will look and be healthier.

What about my daily or evening make-up products?  

An oil-free foundation can be used with this program as well as blushes, powders, eye make-up, etc.  If you are confused, ask our skin care adviser for a recommendation. As your complexion gets healthier and more beautiful, you should need less makeup.

How do we determine whether a microdermabrasion is indicated rather than a glycolic wash? 

  1. A series of glycolic washes should be used if laser facial resurfacing is planned.

  2. Glycolic washes are better if any of the tissue to be treated is even minimally infected.

  3. Microdermabrasion is better for leveling small scars and evening out skin irregularities.

  4. Glycolic washes can get closer to the edge of the bottom eyelid--microdermabrasion can get into the crack between the nostril and the cheek better.

  5. Both decrease wrinkles--a consultation is best to evaluate which route to go -- or whether a combination series is indicated. i.e... Instead of a series of 4-6 glycolic washes or 4-6 microdermabrasions, sometimes a mixed series of 6 treatments will be recommended-- usually 4 microdermabrasions and 2 glycolics or 4 glycolics with 2 microdermabrasions .

  6. Both kinds of treatment can occasionally cause temporary scabbing. The incidence seems to be about equal.

  7. Both treatments should be used in conjunction with a good facial care plan that includes daily home glycolic acid treatments.