How do I do a Glycolic Peel at Home?

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  • Written By: Marjorie McAtee
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 30 August 2019
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A do it yourself (DIY) glycolic peel at home can offer the benefits of a chemical peel without costing the hundreds of dollars of a professional in-office peel. Glycolic acid chemical peel solutions for home use are generally much less concentrated than those used by professionals, so they can be safely administered in a home setting. Though it's usually safe to perform a glycolic peel at home, these peels almost always involve risks, and require precautions. Users are often advised to follow both general home peel guidelines and specific home peel kit instructions.

Professional dermatologists often use glycolic acid chemical peel solutions of up to 50% strength. Home chemical peel kits, however, generally contain solutions ranging from 10% to 30% strength. Most professionals agree that home peel users should start with the lowest strength available, increasing the strength as necessary until results appear.

Just because results don't appear after the initial peel doesn't mean that the solution isn't strong enough. Most glycolic acid peels don't produce results right away. Users may need up to eight peels to see the desired results. Using a stronger chemical peel solution in hopes of seeing results sooner can lead to injury, infection, and scarring.


Experts often suggest that home peel beginners choose a glycolic peel at home solution of 10% to 20% strength, with a pH level of 2.8 to 3.0. Users are generally advised to patch test the peel solution on a small, but inconspicuous, area to ensure that the glycolic acid won't irritate skin or cause injury. Home chemical peel kits, which contain specific instructions, acid neutralizers, and after-care ointments are considered safest for home users.

Users are generally advised to carefully read any instructions that come with a glycolic peel at home kit, and to follow them exactly. Users are also typically advised to follow a broad set of guidelines and precautions when administering a glycolic peel. Skin should normally be clean, dry, and free of oil or debris. Chemical peel solutions should usually be kept away from the eyes, nose, mouth, and mucous membranes. The chemical peeling solution is normally applied to less sensitive parts of the treatment area before it is applied to the more sensitive areas.

Chemical peeling solutions are usually left on the skin for one to five minutes. Most home glycolic peel kits require users to leave the solution on the skin for two to three minutes. Experts often suggest that the solution be neutralized and removed once the skin begins to take on a pink hue, whether or not the suggested time limit has elapsed.


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Post 4

I second what the article author said about glycolic peels taking some time to work. I didn't see results the first few times I used mine either. It took several uses to start seeing effects. But boy did it work after that! I'm sure that if I had switched to something sooner or used the peel more frequently, I would have experienced some serious irritation and pain.

So even though glycolic peels may not appear to be doing anything, believe me they are working. Just be patient and wait. Don't rush about it and you will see the results eventually.

Post 3

Bu aren't peels supposed to cause some irritation and redness? They remove the top layer of skin so that fresh new skin can form that is free of blemishes and wrinkles. So some redness is expected and even normal.

It's a good idea to do a glycolic peel during vacation because it's necessary to hide at home for a while as the skin heals.

Post 2

I bought a glycolic peel home kit once. I wanted to get rid of the acne blemishes on my face. I followed all of the directions but despite that, my skin became irritated. I woke up with red blotches on my face.

I took the kit back to the store and the store representative said that I've had a bad reaction to the peel, possibly allergic. They took it back and refunded my money.

The money doesn't matter but I definitely learned my lesson about home glycolic peels. If I ever choose to have it done (which I'm too scared to try at this point), I will have it done professionally.

Post 1

I agree with this article that anyone wanting to try these peels at home should read all directions carefully and follow them. My daughter tried an at-home glycolic peel, and it hurt her skin. It was red and irritated for days.

It turns out she didn't test a little part of her skin first to make sure that her skin wasn't too sensitive for the peel. If she would have, she would only had a small irritated area, instead of her entire face.

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