A glycolic peel is a chemical type of facial skin treatment preformed in spas and doctor's offices. It involves the use of glycolic acid to peel off the top layer of skin, revealing younger looking, and smoother new skin below. 

What is Glycolic Acid?

According to Allergan, a manufacturer of many cosmetic products and procedures like Juvederm, glycolic acid is an alpha hydroxy acid used for exfoliating the skin (see Reference 1). It is derived from the sugarcane, plant but it can also be synthesized in a laboratory. Allergan says that because of the small molecular size of glycolic acid, it penetrates the top layer of human skin and dissolves it revealing new skin.


The purpose of glycolic peels is to enhance beauty by smoothing out the skin, evening skin tone, reducing acne scars and reducing appearance of wrinkles. Many people say that glycolic acid peels give their skin a special "glow". The American Society of Plastic Surgeons says that chemical peels such as glycolic peels can decrease the amount of bacteria present on the skin, which helps to prevent future acne breakouts (see Reference 2).


Glycolic acids are chemical peels, so they should not be done too frequently or else peeling and scarring of the skin can occur. How often you can have glycolic peels done depends on the strength of the glycolic peel that is used. For instance, there are some face wash products with very week glycolic acid amounts, which can be used daily. Glycolic peels done with strong acids may require 2 weeks of recovery time and at least a year before the next one is done (see Reference 2).


Derived from sugar cane






An AHA peel is one of the mildest of the chemical peels which makes it suitable for people who cannot wait for the recovery time necessary in stronger peels. Made from naturally occurring acids found in fruits and other foods, alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) peels  remove dead cells on the surface of the skin (thus smoothing and rejuvenating the skin).

How AHA Peels Work

AHA peels essentially work by exfoliating the skin. They loosen and remove the layer of dead cells (keratinocytes) on the skin’s surface (the stratum corneum), thus revealing the smoother, healthier-looking layer below. Regular treatments can help with fine lines, brown marks and dry spots (solar keratoses). They also can help minimize acne scarring--and even help with the treatment of acne by stripping away the plugs where acne bumps can form.AHA peels can be done not only on the face, but on the neck, chest, arms and hands. They’re often combined with microdermabrasion for even greater results.




All chemical peels work by burning off the topmost layer of skin cells. Over the next few days, the dead skin will flake off, revealing fresh and healthy skin underneath. This effect occurs naturally, every time we wash our faces the dead cells flake away, but we just do not notice it happening. All a chemical peel does is jumpstart the process.

What makes a Salicylic Peel Different?

Most chemical peels are mild in nature, and can even be used at home. Some people will experience inflammation or irritation of the skin afterwards, but it usually goes away within a day. With a salicylic peel, however, the concentration of the formula used is far less than other standard peels, usually between 20 and 30% percent. Its chemical makeup is similar to that of aspirin, and helps to reduce the effects of inflammation during use.

Salicylic peels are perfect for those who have excessively oily skin and suffer from acne outbreaks. Its nature also makes it fat soluble, and helps to bind it to dirt and other debris that can clog your pores, and as it burns through that first layer of skin, it also pulls all of those blockers out, leaving behind clear and open pores. The healthy new skin left behind after the old flakes away is more shiny and fresh because of its pore deep cleansing effect.



Jessners Peel is a superior treatment designed to remove superficial layers of skin. It’s one of the most effective light cosmetic peel available. A Jessner peel consists of a mild peeling agent that can be used to lighten areas of hyperpigmentation and to treat aged sundamged skin. Jessner peel is a blend of three different active ingredients (Salicylic acid , Lactic acid , Resorcinol ) that also have their own significance in the skin care arena. The special blend of light and strong peeling agents has made the peel produce results of relatively deeper nature more safely and effectively. 

The Jessner’s peel is excellent for all skin types. It smoothes and rejuvenates skin, producing beautiful results in treating mild to severe acne, discoloration, moderate wrinkling, and sun damage. Peeling the face, neck, hands, and upper chest is also quite effective.

The Jessner’s peel is very beneficial for patients with acne, oily, or thicker skin, because it tends to decrease oil production and open clogged sebaceous follicles. It also contributes to the healing process of acne.

The Jessner’s peel combines resorcinol, lactic acid, and salicylic acid to result in deeper penetration and greater exfoliation of the outer layers of skin cells. This deeper exfoliation produces noticeable flaking and exfoliation in the following three to four days after the peel, and within a week a smoother, healthier layer of skin will be revealed




The Trichloroacetic Acid (TCA) Peel, a medium peel, is one of the most popular and reliable treatments for skin imperfections. Trichloroacetic acid treatments can be used in varying concentrations from as low as 10% to as high as 50% -- The higher the concentration, the deeper the peel. When used in a controlled fashion, TCA peels produce improvement in collagen and elastin in the skin and reduction of fine wrinkling, acne scars, and dark spots. It will lighten or even diminish tattoos (depending on darkness and depth of tattoo). Tattoos progressively lighten with each treatment. Medium peels (25% TCA) produce a deeper penetration than light peels such as glycolic. The draw back is that a medium peel causes the skin to appear to have a severe sunburn for about one week. A person having a medium peel must keep the treated skin out of the sun and protected with antibacterial ointment for about one week. 25% TCA works best for most skin issues.