Alpha Hydroxy Acid Peel Risks
Alpha hydroxy acids are a group of natural compounds derived from acids found in sugar cane and fruits. These acids are used in chemical peel facial treatments as a means to encourage the growth of new, more youthful-appearing skin. The peels work by causing a chemical burn that literally peels away the top layer of the skin (epidermis). Caution should be used when undergoing a chemical peel because there are risks associated with this treatment.
Benefits of alpha hydroxy peels
Glycolic acid (GA) is a common ingredient in chemical peels. This alpha hydroxy acid can effectively smooth fine lines and wrinkles, especially around the eyes, mouth and forehead. GA is also used to treat acne.The acid works by penetrating into the skin and gaining access to living cells.
Alpha hydroxy peels including glycolic acids are available over-the-counter in very low concentrations of 5 to 10 percent.
Salons may offer a medium strength peel with acid concentrations upwards of 30 percent.
With high acid concentrations (50 to 70 percent), the treatment must be performed under the supervision of a doctor, most likely a dermatologist.
Burning and redness
Depending on the concentration level of the chemical peel, there may be a sunburned look and feel to your skin upon completion of the treatment. The degree of burning and redness to the skin can range from mild to severe.
Swelling and blisters
There may be a swelling of the skin and blisters may appear following a medium to deep chemical peel. It can take a week or two for the swelling to subside and the blisters to peel off.
Surgical tape is sometimes placed on the treated skin to aid the healing process.
Changes in pigmentation
Changes in pigmentation, especially among people with darker complexions, are possible after a chemical peel. Skin may become either lighter or darker than its natural color.