What are the side effects of glycolic acid peels? This is something you know well before you proceed to do your first peel. Glycolic acid side effects are in fact rather minimal. The only obvious side effect you’ll notice is a redness of the skin and prominent peeling. Certain spots on your face may turn brown for a few days and your skin may feel scaly or rough. This is normal and the brown spots are just dead skin waiting to drop off your face. They will go away as your skin peels naturally over the course of a few days to a week and new, pinkish skin will take their place.
Can someone be allergic to glycolic acid? And if so, how can you tell if you are allergic? Glycolic acid is not a very harsh chemical agent but in very rare cases, some people will not see good results with it. It is well documented that people with darker brown to black skin may suffer from hyper-pigmentation problems when using high concentrations of glycolic acid. This means that after the peel, they will notice a lighter skin tone or shade on certain areas of their skin but not the whole face. This may eventually go away over time although it may be an embarrassing problem.
If you don’t have dark skin, it is quite unlikely that you will see a negative side effect from glycolic acid, unless you are using a really strong glycolic peel (50% and above). You need to gradually get used to glycolic acid peels by starting with a low concentration and slowly working up. Dryness of skin may eventually result if you are doing glycolic peels too frequently, such as on a daily basis.
Glycolic peels at low concentrations can be done once a week and high concentration glycolic peels (50% and above) can be done once a fortnight for a series of 6 peels and then once a month for overall skin maintenance. DO NOT overdo glycolic acid peels. You need to let the skin rest as much as possible after a peel. Avoid putting any new makeup or facial products that you haven’t tried and tested before after a peel as this might aggravate your skin as well.
All in all, I highly recommend that you do a spot test on your neck or a side of your cheek before doing a full glycolic peel. This will easily help determine how the peels may work for you and avoid any unnecessary complications. When in doubt, visit a trained doctor and have him/her administer the peel for you. While glycolic acid peels side effects are nothing serious, its always better to be safe than sorry!