Alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA) peels are gentle in-office peels that are usually recommended for oily and dry skin for treating fine lines, acne scars, and smoothing out roughness. Glycolic acid and lactic acid peels are two kinds of AHA peels that have similar effects.
Derived from sugarcane, glycolic acid peels are the most widely used AHA peel and can improve the appearance of acne scars, hyperpigmentation, and overall skin texture. Available in a variety of different strengths, glycolic acid exfoliates just the surface of the skin, serving as a catalyst for new collagen and reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
Because glycolic acid peels are relatively light, a series may be recommended in weekly intervals. After treatment, you can expect your skin to be pink and shiny for a few days, with some possible peeling.
Lactic acid peels have similar effects to glycolic peels, but lactic acid is generally milder. Derived from sour milk, they offer a subtle lightening effect. If your skin is sensitive or if you have rosacea, talk to your dermatologist or aesthetician about lactic acid peels.
It’s also worth noting that AHA peels like glycolic and lactic can be used to prep skin for more intense peels.
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