Can Glycolic Acid Peels Treat Acne Scars?

by Gio
glycolic acid peels treat acne scars

Can glycolic acid treat acne scars?

That’s what my dear reader Roxann asked me a few days ago. I have to admit, this question took me a bit aback. I’m a big fan of glycolic acid (it’s the best exfoliant ever!), but I had never thought about it as a treatment for acne scarring.

That’s because, unlike Roxann, I never had to deal with acne. Every now and then, a zit pops its ugly head on my chin, but acne has, so far, passed me by. So, even though I use glycolic acid a lot, I have no first hand experience about how well it works to treat acne scars.

So, I did some research. I scoured scientific journals for studies on glycolic acid and its effects on acne scars. Here’s what I found out:

What Are Acne Scars?

Before we talk about treating acne scars, let’s make sure that’s what you have. It’s not always easy to tell. Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation is often mistaken for acne scarring.

What’s post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation? That red, pink, or brown discoloration that appears after a blemish has healed. These spots are not scars, and, thank goodness, they fade on their own (although, they take their sweet time to do so).

Scars, instead, occur when the skin is damaged. In the case of acne cysts, pores get clogged up with bacteria, excess oil, and dead skin cells. When all this gunk accumulates too much, it’s unable to pass through the skin’s surface. Inevitably, it expands until the pore breaks, releasing matter that causes inflammation and scars.

Who is more likely to get acne scars? Some people have inherited a predisposition to them, but the severity of your acne matters too. The worse it is, the more likely you’ll develop acne scars. And, as you age, they only become more noticeable (one of the side effects of the natural depletion of collagen).

Related: The Complete Guide To Acne Scars: The Best Treatments For Each Type

What Is Glycolic Acid?

Ok, so you’re sure yours are scars, not post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. Why should glycolic acid be able to help? A member of the alpha hydroxy acid (AHAs) family, glycolic acid is a colorless, odorless and water-soluble substance derived from sugar cane.

Glycolic acid has exfoliating properties. It is able to loosen the “glue” that holds skin cells together, allowing them to peel off and reveal the brighter, even-toned, skin underneath. It also boosts collagen production.

This double action reduces the appearance of wrinkles, fine lines, and even hyperpigmentation. So, it makes sense it’d help treat acne scars too.

But glycolic acid isn’t without side effects. When you use too much of it, or apply it too often, it can cause redness and irritation, especially if your skin is sensitive. That’s why OTC treatments only contain small concentrations (up to 15%).

Higher concentrations work faster, but they need to be prescribed by a dermatologist, or you risk removing too many layers of skin. That’s not gonna look pretty, and it’ll hurt like hell!

Glycolic Acid can cause skin to become more sensitive to the sun as well. To prevent that, simply use it together with sunscreen (sunscreen is something you should never skip anyway!). Or, if you prefer, use it at night. Whatever works best for you.

Related: The Complete Guide To Glycolic Acid: What It Is, What It Does & How To Use It

Can Glycolic Acid Peels Treat Acne Scars?

If you have post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, glycolic acid will help. As mentioned above, these spots fade on their own. But if you can’t wait to get rid of them, glycolic acid will hasten the process.

If you have slight to moderate acne, things are a bit more complicated. Glycolic acid, especially when used with vitamins C and A (both of which can stimulate collagen production), can make scars less noticeable overtime. The bad news is that OTC concentrations usually aren’t powerful enough on their own to solve the problem.

So, what concentrations do you need? According to a 2000 study, about 70%! How did the scientists arrive at this conclusion? They tried several concentrations on three groups of women.

“Glycolic acid peels with 20%, 35%, 50%, and 70% concentrations,” the study reads, “were applied serially at 2-week intervals to 23 patients in Group A. Twenty patients in Group B used a 15% glycolic acid cream once or twice daily for a period of 24 weeks. The remaining 15 patients in Group C applied a placebo cream twice daily during the same period.”

The results? Low concentrations of glycolic acid were better tolerated, but “repeated short-contact 70% glycolic acid peels provided superior results” and “are necessary to obtain evident improvement.”

But low concentrations aren’t completely useless. The same study claims that “long-term daily use of low-strength products may also have some useful effects on scars and may be recommended for patients who cannot tolerate the peeling procedure.”

Related: How To Take Care Of Your Skin After A Chemical Peel

How To Use Glycolic Acid Peels To Treat Acne Scars

Glycolic acid peels can treat acne scars, but how should you use them? Here are a few tips to help you:

1.Start small

Although higher concentrations work best, glycolic acid is pretty powerful and should be used with care. That’s why I believe it best to start with concentrations of 20%. After a couple of weeks, switch to a 30% concentration. Do a couple more treatments, and increase to 50%. Only if this is not powerful enough for you, use the strongest amount, 70%.

2. Don’t do it alone!

Don’t go buy a glycolic acid peel treatment on Amazon just yet! These concentrations are way too strong to be used without proper medical supervsion. Go to a doctor, and let her prescribe you the right dose and frequency.

Glycolic acid peels remove an entire layer of skin, and that doesn’t come without side effects! You’ll surely experience some peeling and redness. A little is normal, but, if you take matters into your own hands rather than trusting a professional, the side effects will be quite severe, and as bad to deal with as your scars. Don’t risk it!

3. Be patient

Glycolic acid peels work, but not overnight. Depending on how pitted (depressed) your scars are, it may take several weeks, if not months, for them to disappear.

If your scars are very severe, glycolic acid peels may not even be enough on their own to solve the problem (although, you’ll certainly see an improvement). In that case, consult your doctor for an alternative treatment.

4. Don’t forget sunscreen

Always, always, always, apply sunscreen after a glycolic acid peel. Glycolic acid, as we already know, makes skin more prone to sun damage. After a peel, your skin is very delicate and needs all the protection you can give it.

The Bottom Line

Glycolic acid peels can help treat slight to moderate acne scars. But they need to be administered by a professional, or you risk doing more harm than good!

Have you ever used Glycolic Acid peels to treat acne scars? Share your experience in the comments below!



Jamilla Camel June 21, 2011 - 1:15 pm

Great post. Also works on hyperpigmentation, too.

beautifulwithbrains June 21, 2011 - 4:36 pm

Jamilla, thanks. And you’re right, it works well on hyperpigmentation too, thanks for sharing. πŸ™‚

Eli June 21, 2011 - 1:43 pm

I recently tried Avon Anew Glycolic Acid Treatment, and to tell you the truth, I was fascinated as it made my skin look better in only three-four weeks. The difference was that the texture was smoother, and there were less pimples appearing on my right cheek, where I have them most often. I decided to stop using it because I don’t feel like using such a product for a long time, and I can say now that the results are visible in the long term too – my skin remains smoother and clearer πŸ™‚ I’m happy I didn’t quit it after 3 days as I had decided, because there were no visible signs of improvement – the concentration perhaps was too low, so it needed a longer period to take effect.

beautifulwithbrains June 21, 2011 - 4:39 pm

Eli, Glycolic Acid is a very beneficial ingredients and its exfoliating properties unclog pores thus causing less pimples and leave skin smoother. πŸ™‚ Concentrations in OTC products are small so that’s why it takes a period to work, you’re right but the results are great. I’m glad to hear it improved your skin.

Trisha June 21, 2011 - 7:11 pm

I’m really surprised this would work on acne scars. I wasn’t expecting that result, to be honest.

beautifulwithbrains June 21, 2011 - 8:13 pm

Trisha, it works surprising well, doesn’t it? But of course it has to be administered by a dermatologists as the concentrations to treat acne scars are high. πŸ™‚

Makeup Morsels June 22, 2011 - 3:17 am

Awesome, informative post πŸ™‚ I didn’t know glycolic peels could be used to fade acne scars, although I do like to use them to brighten up my complexion. Didn’t know the concentrations went that high for acne treatment though. And you’re so luck to have escaped having acne!

beautifulwithbrains June 22, 2011 - 10:14 am

Makeup Morsels, thanks. And I feel very lucky indeed not to have had acne! Glycolic Acid Peels work for acne but the concentrations are very high indeed. They have to be administered by a physician or they may cause severe problems for the skin. And I like to use Glycolic Acid to brighten up skin too, it’s a great exfoliant. πŸ™‚

glamsquad June 22, 2011 - 5:13 am

I suffered from cystic acne throughout all my teenage year and finally at the age of 17, went for my first Glycolic peel. I had a series which really did help clear up an amazing portion of my scarring, but I found even better results with the Fraxel laser.

Those two therapies helped reduce my scars and pores so significantly that now, post acne and post peeling at the age of 23, my skin is nearly perfect. I only have a few, barely noticeable pitted scars remaining (along with a few fine lines left over from my tanning bed addiction) and I continue to use OTC glycolic products every day. Not for a minute do I regret my decision to get proffesional help, because had I not, I would probably still look pockmarked. (oh and for anyone that’s wondering, I’ve also had microdermabrasion done, but I found the results of that temporary and superficial).

beautifulwithbrains June 22, 2011 - 3:41 pm

Glamsquad, I’m sorry to hear you suffered from cystic acne but glad that Glycolic Peels and Fraxel laser helped you clear up your skin. Sometimes, a combination of treatments works best to solve the problem. Thank you for sharing your experience.

Marina May 11, 2014 - 1:52 pm

I also used Fraxel laser last year and now I have been using Glicolic peel for 2 months and I have to say that for me peel works so much better, my scars reduced in 2 month in the same amount as they did after 5 months when I used Fraxel. And also I have to say that I did not notice any side effects caused by this peel while after the laser my skin was extra sensitive to the sun, eventhough I used 50spf protection.
I recomend Glycolic peel to everyone with this problem.

Gio May 11, 2014 - 7:43 pm

Marina, thank you for sharing your experience with us. I’m glad Glycolic Peels are working so well for you.

Jennifer October 18, 2013 - 8:31 am

I wasn’t happy with microdermabrasion either. It’s good that you had these things available to yo so young. It makes recovering and elimination of scars so much easier. I’ll have to check into the laser I think I’ve reduced my scarring enough that I use laser as an option now.

beautifulwithbrains October 18, 2013 - 6:22 pm

Jennifer, I’m sorry microdermabrasion didn’t work well for you. I hope you’ll be able to use laser now, and with much better results!

Roxann June 22, 2011 - 6:24 am

Thank You so much for the post!
Im so grateful that there are people like you out there that actually respond to their readers…and so promptly!
Reading this, i have deduced that i actually have post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.
I am using a natures essence anti marks kit which has a glycolic face scrub. It is very mild and is taking forever to clear up the marks but it does work over a long period of time.
Can you suggest any other brands that might do the job?
Thanks again!

Ana June 22, 2011 - 9:11 am

She is wonderful with the responses – I love the way it makes me feel, when I come here I have a sense of community πŸ™‚ .

beautifulwithbrains June 22, 2011 - 4:18 pm

Ana, awww how sweet, thanks! I’m so glad to hear that. And thank you and everyone else for visiting, commenting and supporting the blog. Thanks to you, BWB has grown into a wonderful community. Thanks so much! πŸ™‚

beautifulwithbrains June 22, 2011 - 4:02 pm

Roxann, you’re welcome. I’m always glad to help and thank you for visiting and supporting my blog. πŸ™‚

I’m glad that you only have post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation as that’s easier to deal with and will eventually fade. OTC Glycolic Acid products will accelerate the process but because of their relatively small concentrations, it will take time. Mmm, Paula’s Choice Resist line contains effective concentrations of this ingredient and may help. Another good product is Alpha Hydrox Souffle. M.D. Forte also has a good Glycolic Acid line but their products are expensive and contain concentrations that are quite high (higher than those of most Glycolic Acid products on the market) so they could, in the long run, cause problems. They will probably work faster, but should be used very carefully. Hope this helps.

Ana June 22, 2011 - 9:13 am

Great article, Gio!
It sparked my interest in AHAs… I always thought BHAs are the better way to go for us with breakouts. I’ll look into our cosmeticians and how they work with AHAs.

beautifulwithbrains June 22, 2011 - 4:23 pm

Ana, thanks. BHAs are a great option for those with breakouts as they exfoliate both inside the pores and the surface of the skin. AHAs are also good at exfoliating and evening out the skintone. In the end, it’s all about using what works best for you. πŸ™‚

Annabella Freeman June 22, 2011 - 12:50 pm

I’ve just bought some Alpha-H Liquid Gold cuz everyone is raving about it. I’m going to do the smart thing though and take before and after pictures so I’ll know if it makes a difference.

This post is really helpful, especially the information about sun sensitivity and using it too much!

A x

beautifulwithbrains June 22, 2011 - 4:55 pm

Annabella, I’m glad you found this article informative. And I can’t wait to see how the Alpha-H Liquid Gold works for you.

Anna December 10, 2011 - 5:20 am


I have had extreme acne ever since I was 17 years old. Prior to that I had extremely clear skin and did not require any make-up. My acne has been cystic and painful. It has left very deep pitted scars on my cheeks. Recently I have been getting very dark blue, flat spots on my skin that look like a blood bubble underneath. They last for months and then leave horrible disfiguring scars. I have tried antibiotics, Proactive, Retin-a, Differin, goat milk soap, African soap, Vichy products, almost every OTC product and NOTHING has worked. I also have very dry and sensitive skin. Can you please recommend what I can do? Thank you.

beautifulwithbrains December 11, 2011 - 8:52 pm

Anna hi,

I’m sorry to hear this, it is awful! You seem to have tried everything already but without much luck so the only advice I can give you is to consult a dermatologist. He/she will be able to prescribe the best treatment for your condition.

Zarah February 13, 2012 - 10:17 am

Hi, that was a good post. I have just started using dermaglow depigmenting night cream for my scars…and it’s been a few days only, but my scars look more red..they are not dented, more like PIH. Is the redness due to applying great amounts of it on my acne marks or is it just healing or what? I’m very impatient and I fear that I might stop using it(it’s a glycolic acid product). Also, I have had two microdermabrasions done.. .will get couple of more done.

beautifulwithbrains February 13, 2012 - 8:07 pm

Zarah, it is possible that the acne scars were more sensitive to the peeling and exfoliation and thus became more red. I’d keep using the product for a few days and see if things improve. But whatever you use, it will take time to see some results. Hope this helps.

Zarah February 17, 2012 - 10:16 pm

Thanks for your early response.=) i’ve been using the product after discontinuing for a day to ease off the redness of my PIH spots. I had a really good, flawless skin just a year ago. It depresses a lot to see these PIH spots on my skin after I suffered from some acne and still do actually. I’m 22, and went to a dermatologist recently. She prescribed me isotretinoin 20 mg twice a day for about 2 weeks. I took it for two weeks and had two microdermabrasions during that period. I googled and found out that microdermabrasion shouldn’t be done whilst on isotretinoin or till months after completing the course. I dont know now whether I should proceed with my intended microdermabrasions as planned in the coming weeks or not. My face isnt as oily as it used to be prior to taking iso, but it’s not completely dry either. I stopped taking the drug as I got too scared by the widespread side effects it can have and I have mild acne. I was more concerned with the scars or PIH, whatever they are.
So should I get my microdermabrasions done or not as I took isotretinoin 20 days ago for about 2 weeks. I’m really confused and how long do depigmenting creams take to start fading PIH? Thank you,

beautifulwithbrains February 18, 2012 - 9:10 am

Zarah, personally I would wait a few weeks before proceeding with microdermabrasions, just to be on the safe side. I would also go back to the dermatologist to let he/she know that the problem isn’t fully resolved yet and that you’d like to try a milder treatment than isotretinoid. Also, if you have PIH, you want the acne to be completely under control before you start treating it. That’s because PIH is the skin’s natural response to inflammation (in this case caused by acne), so if you don’t cure the acne first, each new pimple may cause more PIH and thus make depigmenting creams fight a losing battle. If it is scars you have, then other treatments instead than creams may be more suitable, so I suggest you consult your dermatologist for a proper diagnosis.

As for depigmenting creams, that depends on what ingredients these products contain and their concentrations. With a well-formulated product, you should see some improvement, although minimal, pretty soon. Hope this helps.

Zarah February 21, 2012 - 3:52 pm

Hey, I did what u said, resumed back to my glycolic acid-containing depigmenting cream for scars. I started after the marks normalized, and kept using it at night. It was ok but until a day ago, I did an awfully stupid thing of applying another cream that my doc had given of tyrosinase composition. I don’t what happened but I applied it on my scars when the glycolic acid cream hadn’t completely gone off from my skin whilst I put the other onto my acne marks. They seem awful now, giving a round brownish or just more pimented marks and are noticeable even from far away. They weren’t like that before and now they’re very visible. I’m so depressed. I’ve been putting vaseline on the those large, red-brown spots since yesterday morning. Could u please tell me what to do now? I’m freaking out! I put vaseline because they could have burnt to look like these, but what if they have pigmented more as a reaction to the two creams and will this be permanent?:-(:-(

beautifulwithbrains February 21, 2012 - 7:01 pm

Zarah, oh no! I’m so sorry to hear that. I guess the tyrosinase cream had some ingredients that reacted badly when it came into contact with glycolic acid and irritated skin even more. I doubt it will be permanent but at this point you should consult a dermatologist asap.

Zarah March 5, 2012 - 7:21 pm


I find your responses very helpful and comforting. You were right, they weren’t permanent. It’s so frustrating to be dealing with this kind of stuff and seeking treatment for it at the same time. My acne marks turn redder when i apply these creams my doctor has prescribed me…but then i discontinue them for a few days to ease the redness as they traumatize me even more when i look at them in the mirror. I have started using sodermix, it’s ingredients are natural. It contains superoxide dismutase and has anti-inflammatory and anti-pruritic properties. I have three slightly pitted acne marks on my left cheek. These are the ones i’ve been trying to get rid of apart from the many other acne marks i have. I have been having my microdermabrasion sessions too, and i just started using sodermix. My doctor said that sodermix will fill in the pits. I wanted to ask you that the pits have become smaller..does this mean it’s working? i mean do they get smaller or what? i have no clue regarding this

beautifulwithbrains March 5, 2012 - 9:04 pm

Zarah, I’m glad I can help and I’m sorry you have to deal with this. It is very frustrating indeed. Sounds like your skin is quite sensitive and that’s why the products your doctor suggested inflame your skin. Have you tried to ask him/her to change treatment and try something less harsh?

As far as I know superoxide dismutase is an antioxidant that can reduce inflammation but I have never heard that it can treat scars and acne marks as well. Your doctor says it will fill them in so it is possible that your pits look smaller because of that. In this case though the results are temporary and once the effect of the cream is over, the pits should be as obvious as they were before. If they are really smaller though it may mean that the microdermabrasion sessions are working. The pits are supposed to get smaller as they heal. Hope this helps.

jyoti April 7, 2012 - 6:37 am

i was having ma skin all clear..but there were only few brown spot near ma eye…..i consult ma doc for them and he gave me hydroquonine and treteonine having cream and to apply on ma whole skin become clear but meanwhile i had stress…..and that time i started having red and big acne……i dont know those were due to that cream and stress……but those lest black marks on ma face nad those sun spots also came back…….then i visited another doctor and he gave me 4% hydroquonine having cream but i used that hardly 20 days……..and from november in 2011 till now i am not using anything except amway cleanser and face mask…….by the way ma scars have become light but not gone all….ma skin look a bit flakky……since august 2011,i dint exfloit ma skin at all by any scrud… a want suggestion,after hydroquonine can i use nature essence glycolic peel to get rid off from those scars……and those are surface black scars.hardly 2 will be a bit pitted scars…now i am not having acne problem but ma skin looks like scars having…..and i hate the doctor who gave me so harsh chemical for few scars,not that dint go permanent even.

beautifulwithbrains April 8, 2012 - 12:44 pm

Jyoti, you can use Glycolic Acid to treat scars, but its concentrations in off-the-counter products is small so it may not solve the problem completely and it will take quite a while to see an improvement. My suggestion would be to go back to your doctor. I know you don’t like using harsh chemicals, but sadly those are the ones that work. The important thing is to take them under medical prescription and follow the doctor’s instructions diligently or they may do more harm them good.

jyoti April 9, 2012 - 8:45 am

thanx mam………but as i told you..i am not having such a major problem…..but ya black scars……………even they will fad with time……i only want ask you can i use glycolic peel,,,even i have used hydroquonine and tretenoin cream….and would exflotation will work to get rid from those marks with time..?

beautifulwithbrains April 9, 2012 - 1:28 pm

Jyoti, exfoliation will definitely help so you can use the glycolic acid peels, but it will take a while to see an improvement. Give it a go and if it doesn’t help, consult a dermatologist. Hope this helps.

jyoti April 9, 2012 - 2:22 pm

mam………..will hydroquonine effect will go with time…… skin just look like thin and these marks….so will hydroquonine effect and its toxics will flush out from skin with time?

beautifulwithbrains April 9, 2012 - 7:46 pm

Jyoti, hydroquinone is not toxic. It can cause a negative reaction in some people, especially when used with other skin-lightening agents, which may be what you are experiencing. Your skin will get better overtime, and this process will speed up if you take proper care of your skin with a good moisturizer and sunscreen.

jyoti April 10, 2012 - 11:31 am

i am not using any moisturizer,nor sunscreen because i rarely go out…….as ma skin is tooooooooo much oily…………i only wash ma face 2 3 times in a day with 2% having salicylic acid….and at night cleanse with artistry cleanser and attitude face mask…thats all i do…… marks are getting light with having redish colour..i must be due to amway products…earlier also when i used to use amway product skin used to be red but as well as glowing even.this time nothing like this happening………..and as still i m having a few acne and reddish,sensetive skin so right now i am not going for nature essence glycolic peel but as soon as skin will be acne free i will start using that facial kit so ma skin will get nourish even and mild glycolic acid will help to remove marks………….plz suggest m i doing right or not?

beautifulwithbrains April 10, 2012 - 8:08 pm

Jyoti, washing your face twice a day (once in the morning and once in the evening) is enough. If you wash it too much, you will strip off too much natural oil and this will confuse your skin that, thinking it isn’t moisturized enough, will produce even more oil! Also, wear a sunscreen formulated for oily skin daily. The sun rays cause a lot of damage to the skin and may make your condition worse and slow down the healing process.

jyoti April 11, 2012 - 5:33 am

thanks a lot mam……………………yes now i m going to wash ma face only twice and as a moisturiser i will use milk cream of home………can you suggest me any natural remedy to cure hydroquonine effect on skin and again make skin lookin healthy and fresh……as now ma face colour look dark and spoty……any home made face pack to get rid from this problem?

beautifulwithbrains April 11, 2012 - 6:58 pm

You’re welcome. You can skip the moisturizer if you want, it’s the sunscreen that you need to use daily to avoid your skin getting darker and more damaged.

I’m not really sure what you mean about the hydroquinone effect. It might have given you a negative reaction, but that should heal in time. Did you use hydroquinone together with benzyl peroxide? Cos that would stain the skin, but it should go back to normal on its own. I really think you should see a dermatologist as he/she will be able to correctly diagnose your condition and prescribe you the best treatment for it.

jyoti April 12, 2012 - 4:55 pm

on your 11th april reply,i m not able to fing reply option so i m doin here. Thaks a lot mam for ur suggestion but as i have told you that i am not having worse situation and honesly now i am never ever going to visit any doctor and nor going to use any cosmetics which has harsh and chemical ingrdients.And by hydroquonine effect ma mean is that i am having dark skin with few acne marks and there is not glow on skin and skin look like a bit older…not as youth skin look but whwn i see after washing the face skin look good except those few acne marks.I m sorry that i m denying and not going to follow your advice but really i want ma skin to be good naturally on its own way…i want if you can suggest me some natural remedies to fasten the process of rejunevate the skin and get new skin as well as which can finish and decrease the effcet of hydroquonine on skin and with time skin get heal in its own natural way… i m having much oily skin….i m hoping great suggestions from you.

beautifulwithbrains April 12, 2012 - 8:07 pm

Jyoti, I understand that your bad experience with your doctor has put you off from ever visiting one again, but I’m only a blogger who knows a thing or two about skincare, not a doctor. I don’t have the medical knowledge to prescribe you appropriate treatment, so I can only give you friendly advice, which is not a replacement for advice by a doctor.

Also, all cosmetic ingredients are chemicals because everything is a chemical, including water. Plants are made of chemicals too. Some are harsher than others so you just have to choose gentle ingredients, but there is no such thing as chemical-free cosmetics.

What do you mean by acne marks? Do you mean scars or are you still having acne as well? I can’t recommend something unless I have more details.

As for your dark skin, I’m not sure if it is caused by hydroquinone or if the sun is simply darkening your skin. In the first case, your skin will get back to normal in time but exfoliation (either with a product containing glycolic acid or salicylic acid) will speed up the process. And remember to wear a sunscreen formulated for oily skin daily. Hope this helps.

jyoti April 13, 2012 - 5:11 am

yes mam,i was not having at all need of hydroquonine and for which marks he gave me are also not gone permanently.i m having only acne scars,not acne…..and what you mean by in first case and in that case skin will be back to normal colour(are you talking about hydroquonine effect or sun,in which skin will back to normal)?
will you believe ma face colour look maore dark than ma hand colur.and one more thing i want say you,did you listen about amway products,they are enough gentle and when i used its cleanser and face mask every day,my skin colour look better but as 2 days before i visited a homeopethis doctor for ma digestion problem,he told me that i have used too much chemical so now i should do as less as possible use of cosmetics now so now i am not usin amway products .i only wash my face with salicylic acid face wash and simply apply a cream when at home…..i am really very tensed,do i have to live with this destroyed and dark skin tone.I don’t mean that i am hating black colour but every skin colour has its own shine and a colour but ma skin look like worse..and now i have started taking enough good intake for skin as well as proper veg but if it is damaged due to hydroquonine what intake can do…..please suggest me now what i should do?

roxann April 8, 2012 - 3:41 pm

Jyoti, the natures essence is very mild. It wil be safe to use 1-2 times a week n don’t forget your suncreen!

jyoti April 9, 2012 - 8:48 am

thanks roxann…….yes it is enough mild, i have used it earlier even but can i use when once i have used hydroquonine and made ma skin bad…he never told me about these chemicals..and i was not having this kind of any problem earlier so i never came to know even…?

martha April 12, 2012 - 4:48 pm

I used glycolic acid 20% on my face,neck,and knees for 3 minutes yesterday and the day before.My skin looks and feels brand new,so smooth,I love it.I had some hyperpigmentation on my cheeks,acne on my chin,cheeks and forehead,a few wrinkles around my eyes and forehead,blackheads on my nose.My skin already looks 10 years younger and i only used it twice for 3 minutes each time.I bought my glycolic peel treatment kit over the internet from IQ:NATURAL.The kit comes with a cleaner,toner,moisturizer, a brush to put the peel on,and the 20% glycolic acid peel.I bought this peel kit 5 months ago and was scared to use it.I watched 15 youtubes of people using it and I gave it a try.I am so glad I finally used it,great results,I am going to use it every 5-7 days now.Maybe my acne will be a thing of the past.

beautifulwithbrains April 12, 2012 - 7:34 pm

Martha, thanks for your comment. I’m glad that Glycolic Acid works so well for you. I can see why you were scared to use it as that’s a really powerful concentration. Just be careful not to use it too often or you may expose raw skin and do more harm than good. πŸ™‚

martha April 15, 2012 - 4:05 pm

Update on my Glycolic Acid Peel,on the 3rd day I started to peel lightly.Today is day 5,still lightly peeling,looks good,can feel a few acne bumps on my forehead and chin,pores on my nose still look smaller.Over all I’m still very happy with my results.
I plan to do another 3 minute peel on Wed. or Thur.

beautifulwithbrains April 15, 2012 - 7:08 pm

Martha, thanks for the update. I’m glad it is still works well for you and you’re happy with the results. πŸ™‚

beautifulwithbrains April 15, 2012 - 8:23 pm

Jyoti, I think I have understood you better now. Your dark skin should go back to normal on its own, but that can actually take a long time. To speed up the process you should use an exfoliant with either glycolic acid or salicylic acid and use sunscreen daily. Also, remember that salicylic acid isn’t very effective when used in a face wash because you’re rinsing it off. To improve its efficacy, be sure to massage it on your skin for about 5 minutes before you rinse it off. Or better yet, use a leave-in product that contains it.

I’m afraid I am not familiar with amway products. I’m glad they worked well for you but what your skin needs now is a well-formulated exfoliant and sunscreen. If you use those, your skin will soon go back to normal.

Also, your homeopethis doctor is wrong. As I explained before, everything is a chemical, including water. All ingredients, whether natural or synthetic, are chemicals. Plants are made of chemicals and so are human beings. Simply put, all substances are chemicals. Some are good, some are bad. If you use the ones that irritate your skin, then you’ll damage it. But if you choose products with ingredients that work well for you, then your skin will benefit for it. You may use only a face wash and a cream if you like, but if your cream doesn’t contain the ingredients that work to target your concerns, then it’s not gonna do much for your skin. So, stop worrying about chemicals and choose products formulated for your skin type and concerns.

jyoti April 16, 2012 - 11:16 am

Thanks a lot mam,yes now i am also thinking to exfloit ma skin with nature essence glycolic kit…..and as i have told you that i am having 2 a bit big pitted marks and a few small so does with glycolic exfloitation these will vanish with time and more application of it………can you suggest me i should go with nature essence glycolic kit or not?……..i have used it ealier even and it is very mild so it will make ma skin all clear after more and enough application and ma skin will not be too sensetive… what u suggest me mam?

jyoti April 16, 2012 - 12:26 pm

one more thing………i am having homeopethic medicine from wednesday and on sunday i had two acne,just they were about to take place but dint take properly and left with marks…actually doctor gave me some pills medicine to finish the effect of medicines which ma earlier doctor have given me….should i stop these homeo medicine or what?……now i am so worried to eat and use anything new.

beautifulwithbrains April 16, 2012 - 6:57 pm

Jyoti, if you have post-acne skin discolorations then you can use the nature essence kit and, in time, your skin will get back to normal. But it won’t make pitted scars go away, I’m afraid. You will still see some improvement, but to completely get rid of them you need to either try microdermabrasion or laser treatments. But these treatments should be performed by a doctor, so you will have to visit one to solve the problem once and for all. Unfortunately no skincare product or natural remedy can get rid of pitted scars.

As for your homeo medicine, I have no idea what it is or what it contains so I’m afraid I can’t tell you whether you should continue using it or not. What I’d do is try it for a few more days and see how it works for you. If it gives you any problem, stop using it.

jyoti April 17, 2012 - 5:52 am

ok mam…….as such pitted scars are not too much and they are not so much noticeable and main cause is post acne discoloration and for them i will go with few home remedies like tomato.lemon,milk,almond……these also should solve the way these will take time but main problem of discoloration should be solve…… my skin has become very sensative for any further harsh chemical…i don’t want visit to doctor…….thanks a lot for your all suggestions..and as i read on net pinneapple also work better to exfloit skin….and i read on net that if pitted scars are not so deep they will be fad with the time………i cant be sure but i will see what these remedies should work with me.

beautifulwithbrains April 17, 2012 - 2:32 pm

Jyoti, do not put lemon on your face! It is true that it can help fade discoloration, but its acidic component can irritate skin and make your condition worse. Also, almond has moisturizing properties, but I’ve never heard that it can help with acne, scars or hyperpigmentation.

I understand that you prefer to use natural remedies but they are not necessarily gentler and safer! There are natural ingredients that are good for you and others that are bad for you, just like there are some synthetic ingredients (often called erroneously chemicals) that are good for you and other that are bad. Chemical doesn’t equal harsh and natural doesn’t equal gentle. What your skin needs is a well-formulated sunscreen and an exfoliant with either glycolic acid or salicylic acid. Experimenting with natural remedies, especially if you found them on random websites instead than recommended by doctors or other experts, can be dangerous and do more harm than good.

And I also understand that you don’t want to see a doctor, but just because you had a bad experience, it doesn’t mean that all doctors are bad. Doctors are professionals who have studied hard to exercise their profession and their advice and prescriptions are thus more reliable than many advice you can find on the internet. You can avoid going to one for now, but if your scars don’t fade with the natural remedies you want to try (and I doubt that’ll happen), I’m afraid you won’t have a choice.

jyoti April 18, 2012 - 10:06 am

yes mam i consider your point.As in november month i tried Gram flour with lemon it irritated my skin because that time my skin was very sensetive but now i have done to times but it dint. By the way if you are saying i will not try home remedies and will visit a very reputated doctor who is very famous skin specialist in our city.But if he will recommend me any peel and any harsh chemical having cream then i would not like to go for that.But my marks has fad enough than they were in october month of last year……Tell me one thing if i go only for exfloitation with any salicylic or glycolic acid having product and with sunscreen.these will be enough to fad marks with time because in last 6 months my marks has fad enough but still they are……..But now as you are saying once i would like to visit that doctor………what he suggest and tell me.

beautifulwithbrains April 18, 2012 - 2:54 pm

Jyoti, I’m glad the lemon didn’t irritate your skin the last two times you used it, but still that’s something to use very carefully on the face because it can cause irritations.

I understand that you don’t want to use harsh treatments so for now, I’d just use a sunscreen and an exfoliant with either salicylic acid or glycolic acid. Doctors tend to prescribe treatments with high concentrations of glycolic acid because they are more effective but these can be irritating. But if you buy a product that’s sold in stores without a prescription, then the concentration of glycolic acid is much smaller and shouldn’t irritate your skin. But of course it will take longer to work. But I think a good exfoliant and sunscreen will make your skin go back to its normal color in a few months. I’m not sure if that will be enough for your pitted scars, so if those haven’t disappeared when your skin has gone back to normal, then I think you should visit a reputable doctor.

jyoti April 18, 2012 - 6:31 pm

i am happy to tell you that since last 3 days i am following a regime of almond paste gring with milk in morning ang gram flour mixed with lemon and tomamto and i colour and skin texture is more bright and smooth than before and i use toner and moisturiser at night.
Acoording to your suggestin i will soon purchase an salicylic acid exfloitation product.
Thanks for your all suggestion.

beautifulwithbrains April 18, 2012 - 8:57 pm

Jyoti, I’m glad your homemade remedies are working well for you and do let me know how it goes with the salicylic acid exfoliator. πŸ™‚

jyoti April 20, 2012 - 5:19 am

Yes mam….my colour is getting bright with those home remedies and i hope marks will also fade with lemon and tomato…..and please suggest me which product i should use and with how much % of salicylic acid……….should i use scrub or mask and else?

beautifulwithbrains April 20, 2012 - 6:39 pm

Jyoti, I’m glad that’s working well for you. A leave-on product would actually work better, but you can a mask or scrub too if you prefer. Mm.. Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Stress Control 3-In-1 Hydrating Acne Treatment is a good product with SA.

T May 12, 2012 - 4:31 am

If i wanted to use a product with glycolic acid to help with the PIH and slight acne scars I am experiencing what would be better? Should I try a face wash or a cream? and would it be ok to start with 5% if I have never had a chemical peel or anything else done before?

beautifulwithbrains May 13, 2012 - 7:42 pm

T, definitely a cream. Glycolic Acid doesn’t do much in rinse-off products as they stay on the skin for such a short time before ending up down the drain. And I think that concentration would be ok.

Juliw June 20, 2012 - 12:05 pm

I just recently did a Glycolic Acid Chem Peel 40%, its been around 5 days since i did it and its now just starting to peel, Im a little worried that it will leave me with more scarring, but i guess we will just have to see.

beautifulwithbrains June 20, 2012 - 3:13 pm

Juliw, that’s a very strong concentration. Did you have it done by a dermatologist? I don’t think it will cause scarring, but it may irritate your skin if not done by a professional.

Efren Carrillo Mejia June 21, 2012 - 6:06 am

WOw!!! I like the way you present you research! Clear and solve a lot of questions i had. Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge with us

beautifulwithbrains June 21, 2012 - 8:45 pm

Efren, you’re welcome. I’m glad you found it helpful.

Julie June 21, 2012 - 9:31 pm

no i didnt have it done by a dermatologist, but its been about 5 days and now its starting to peel! the skin underneath feels a bit raw. im not sure if ill do it again by myself, just so i dont do any damage.

beautifulwithbrains June 22, 2012 - 9:40 am

Julie, I’m not surprised skin feels a bit raw considering the strong strength of the peel. But it should go back to normal soon. πŸ™‚

sean July 28, 2012 - 9:20 am

Hi I’m sean, I’m 19 and all through high school a had light or no acne at all with smooth skin..then senior year my acne got really bad and I went to a dermatologist and got proscribed accutane. After 6 months my acne is completely gone but I’m left with scars some pretty deep and I’m trying to decide what I should try first to help even my skin so it’ll be smooth like it used to be. What’s your suggestion?

beautifulwithbrains July 29, 2012 - 9:35 pm

Sean, I’m sorry to hear that. If your scars are raised, try retinoids. If they aren’t raised, exfoliating skin with chemical peels or microdermabrasion may help. Hope this helps.

rae August 8, 2012 - 8:30 pm


I recently started using the Natures Essence glycolic kit. Anyone here used it and can give me feedback? How much of the AHA serum do you use per application? And howlong till you see results?

beautifulwithbrains August 9, 2012 - 6:07 am

Hi Rae,

I haven’t used this product, but in general the higher the amount of Glycolic in the product is, the sooner you’ll see some result. And I wouldn’t use too much for each application as you risk overexfoliating which is never good for skin. I hope someone else who’s used the product will be able to tell you more.

sarah November 12, 2012 - 3:22 am

Thank you for this informative article. I am dealing with mild/moderate acne and to be honest I hate the acne scares more than the acne itself. So I have bought 35% concentrated glycolic peel I just need some advice on how to use it.
Should I cleanse my face with a face wash , use a toner or exfoliate as well before I use the peel?
And how many times a month would you recommend me to use the 35% glycolic peel

Thanks again

beautifulwithbrains November 12, 2012 - 7:08 am

Sarah, I’m sorry to hear about your acne and scars. Aren’t there any instructions on the peel? Usually, it’s always best to follow those.

In any case, it’s always best to cleanse skin before using any other products, peels included. Just use a very gentle cleanser though. Also, I wouldn’t use the peel more than once a week or even a fortnight depending on how often your skin can take it. Such high concentrations can do more harm than good when used too often. Hope this helps.

sidra December 19, 2012 - 12:31 pm

hi…..i hv studied about glycolic acid….i sound pretty gud..can i use this without doctor advise…because i have severe achne problem nd scar as well….can u gve me some advise nd i also want your email adress…..

beautifulwithbrains December 19, 2012 - 10:14 pm

Sidra, yes, you can. Over-the-counter products contain small concentrations of Glycolic Acid that are safe to use even without a doctor’s recommendation. Although if you have severe acne, you may want to consult one.

mel March 23, 2013 - 6:43 pm

Hey, I’ve enjoyed reading everybodies questions and your responses to them, truely does feel like a little community we all can relate to πŸ™‚ I had terrible breakout about a year ago(out of the blue), I’ve neva had an acne problem before, my derm recomended I use ginette 35 and lumixyl. After finishing the lumixyl I didn’t bother using it again as I didn’t see any results(not to mention how pricey it is) the pills have cleared my acne up fabulously tho, but I also went for 4 sessions of microderm so that probably also helped. I am currently using retina a(for 3 months). Sadly I have PIH tho left behind due to the acne and want your advice on what would be the best and most effective treatment to completely remove it. I do not have any acne scaring. (I’m also brown skinned- read. We more sensitive to peels and pigmentation). Do I go for a 20% glycolic acid peel?(Which I’ll have done by my derm) or do I continue using the retin a(have seen results but it works rather slow) or microderm(which has less side effects than the peel). I’m confused please help.

beautifulwithbrains March 23, 2013 - 10:21 pm

Mel, thank you. I’m sorry to hear about your problem. All the options you listed are effective at treating PIH, but they all take time to work. Retina a may be the slowest way to remove it, but also the most gentle. If you don’t mind the wait, you can stick to that, otherwise you can give the peel a go. You could also talk about your dermatologist about using a combination of GA peels, tretinoin and hydroquinone, which has been found to work well for dark-skinned people. All these ingredients are quite strong though, so it’s best to consult a doctor to see if it’s something that could work well for you and have him/her prescribe the appropriate doses, or you risk doing more harm than good. Hope this helps.

mel March 23, 2013 - 10:33 pm

Hi, thank you for replying so promptly. I do agree the retina a is the most gentle but as you said is the slowest in terms of getting results faster (and I’m looking to get results quicky as its my sisters wedding soon) but dnt want something that’s going to make it worse(had read some stories of peels gone wrong, that scares me). I’ll be meeting with my derm next month so I will discuss the options you’ve mentioned with him. My PIH isn’t really that bad tho, just a little patch on my cheek and 2 blemishes on the other. I’m also worried about the “downtime” associated with the peel, if done correctly by my derm and in a low concerntration, how long do you think the downtime would be? (I’m a fulltime student and also work in the evening) don’t want to look as if I’ve been beaten up post the peel.

beautifulwithbrains March 23, 2013 - 11:51 pm

Mel, you’re welcome. The peel will give result sooner than the other two methods and, since you said your PIH isn’t that bad, you will probably have a mild one done, so downtime shouldn’t be more than a week. You will have to apply a lotion and sunscreen during that time to help skin recover. It’s true that some peels can go horribly wrong, but that usually happens when they’re done at home with a DIY kit. If done by a professional dermatologist who knows what he/she’s doing, everything should go well.

And congratulations to your sister!

beverly April 2, 2013 - 7:55 pm

good day-I must say this is the best and most informative website i have gotten so far concerning beauty-the only problem i found it too late-On Sunday out of much need to see i have an even skin tone on my face i went ahead and ordered a 70% GA to my face for about 5 minutes-i know this is crazy-i got burnt with swollen eyes which is already getting better-i am afraid though that i get scared with those burns-my questions are:-
1) am i suppose to see actual peeling of the skin or does it take place invisibly
2) can i dilute the solution and if yes-how can i do so
3) At what point should i start seeing changes in the skin tone
thank you so much

beautifulwithbrains April 2, 2013 - 10:07 pm

Beverly, sorry for not replying sooner. I’ve seen all your comments just now. I’m afraid it takes me some time to moderate them. And thank you for your kind words. I’m glad you enjoy my website.

I’m sorry to hear about your problem. To start with, I’d suggest you stop using the GA peel immediately. High concentrations like that should be administered only by a skilled dermatologist or you risk doing more harm than good to your skin. If you want to use glycolic acid, choose a much smaller dose (10% or smaller). It’ll take longer to work but at least it doesn’t have serious side effects.

Usually you can see the flaking and peeling. But side effects can differ from person to person.

I don’t really think diluting skincare products is a good idea. You just risk compromising their efficacy. Just switch to a lower concentration of glycolic acid.

A small improvement should be seen pretty soon, a couple of days, even less. But since you got burned, your skin will have to heal before you can see an improvement and unfortunately that can take quite some time.

beverly April 3, 2013 - 8:52 pm

thank you so much-i am so depressed right now-the burn formed a scab which came off today-i have this big burn mark on my face that i have to be wearing sunglasses everytime i step out-thank God i am on leave from work-i am so afraid that it leaves a terrible scar that i am so depressed to the point i dont feel like doing anything-can you help me out in products i can treat it with to prevent the scarring.

beautifulwithbrains April 3, 2013 - 9:49 pm

Beverley, I’m so so sorry to hear that. At this point, the best thing you can do is to consult a doctor straight away for a proper diagnosis and treatment.

angie April 26, 2013 - 1:27 am

Hi,I am jusing gycolic acid 40% for a while now and my skin is improve have acne scars and brown spots , hope it will improve more with time…. And yes this is the more informative site …..thanks for being there….

beautifulwithbrains April 26, 2013 - 8:13 pm

Angie, you’re welcome and I’m glad that glycolic acid is working well for you.

Meenakshi May 3, 2013 - 7:58 am


I have some scarring around my neck(bust and chest area) and bad acne on back(few are cystic).I suffer from polycystic ovaries and acne will never leave me. Last 6-7yrs I have been struggling with Bacne and from last 2-3years, I can see acne on my chest too. Iwent to this doctor who suggested glycolic peel or yellow peel for neck and back. I still have some rough acne like thing on my back and I apply Benzeyol Perioxide 5% in the moring and Nexret gel(0.04% tretinoin) in the evening. Should I go for glycolic peel for my Chesst to begin with? My face is normal, some pores, I apply Sandalwood paste every day which is natural.

beautifulwithbrains May 5, 2013 - 3:44 pm

Meenakshi, I’m sorry to hear about your problems. I think glycolic acid peels could help, but I would recommend you see a doctor so he/she can prescribe the right dose and frequency. DIY glycolic acid peels can do more harm than good. Hope this helps.

Meenakshi May 6, 2013 - 10:17 am

Hi, Thanks for your reply. I am not aware about DIY glycolic acid peels. I checked with my dermatologist and he said I can get it done. But I am little scared to go for it. What if my skin peels but leaves scars? And I have been applying Nexret gel from last 2months but no change in scars.. I cant wear anything except close neck tshirts.

beautifulwithbrains May 6, 2013 - 6:54 pm

Meenaskshi, if it is done properly by a professional, there may be some downtime, but you shouldn’t experience any side effects nor scarring. If your dermatologist says you can have it done, then share your concerns with him/her and I’m sure he/she’ll be able to reassure you or recommend you something that may work better for you.

Elena May 9, 2013 - 2:16 am

Hi, so I have suffered from mild acne for years but for the past few months it has gotten much worse! I have been going to the dermatologist for years and they are constantly upping my topical cream to something stronger, but nothing seems to do the job. I have been researching these glycolic acid peels for some time now and finally purchased a kit! I was just wondering..would it be okay if I just put the peel on my T zone because those are the only areas where I ever break out and have scarring? Or will that create an uneven skin tone?

beautifulwithbrains May 10, 2013 - 7:19 am

Elena, you know I had never really thought of that. I suppose you could use different concentrations on different areas of the face (such as the kit you purchased on your t-zone and a milder OTC product on the rest of the face). Keep in mind though, that this is just my personal opinion. I’ve been researching skincare for years, but I’m not a doctor.

Also, if you want to have glycolic acid peels done, I’d advise you to talk to your dermatologist about it. These peels can help treat several skin conditions, but they can have serious side effects when done at home by yourself rather than when administered by an expert who knows what he/she’s doing. Hope this helps.

Hopeful July 11, 2013 - 3:11 am


Thank you for such an informative site πŸ™‚ Unfortunately for me I am in the process of trying to remove some mild atrophic scarring left from acne. I’ve done ALOT of research over these last couple of years and found the use of a dermaroller (.05 mm) which is quite small, copper peptides used nightly, and a mild aha peel gives pretty decent results over a period of time. This helps with both raised and pitted scars that are not too deep but as I mentioned can take several months of consistent use to get good results. The dermaroller used once a week and weekly aha peel (low strengths glycolic 30 percent) are used to break up and dissolve the scar tissue and the use of the copper peptides helps to build up collagen to grow healthy skin. Also, be sure to eat well, take supplements, drink plenty of water, and get plenty of sleep for optimal results.

Hope this helps someone and BeautifulwithBrains please share your thoughts on this method.

Thank you!

beautifulwithbrains July 13, 2013 - 6:07 pm

Hopeful, I’m glad that you find my little blog useful, thank you.

I think that’s a good skincare regimen for your problem. The treatment will work slowly, but you should definitely see an improvement. Thanks a lot for sharing it with us.

Martha July 13, 2013 - 7:21 pm

How are you doing now,update please,I hope you cleared up for the wedding.

Jennifer October 6, 2013 - 8:41 am

I just wanted to add that I have what I consider to be fairly bad scarring. I have been using glycolic 70 % for about a year now probably about 4 or 5 times. 70%.
I use it in combination with enzyme because the acid penetrates very deep and removes the skin but over the years I have all these bumps around the scaring that never goes away. The enzyme takes that out. If I push on my skin it literally has taken away ALL of the bumps a little at a time. If I even want to get a dermabrasion the doctor would want that cleared up or it would pointless. This is the only thing I have have ever found that really works to clear those trapped pores.
I am in my mid 40’s now and I have to say that the scarring is going away. It has been somewhat miraculous. To the point that I want to do it all the time. Obviously my face can’t handle that, and I can’t go into public. It is seriously painful if I do the enzyme too much, but the whole point is to literally remove the scarred tissue. Basically creating a new imprint for skin. It really works. I have a few places that I would like to take care of with surgery but I can’t afford it now. I can really attest to that yes it does work.
Use good creams and gentle glycolic and enzyme products in the interim and you will see miraculous results over a period of time.
One more thing. The dermatologist told me in a consultation once that when they do a dermabrasion they are basically grinding off the part of the scar that creates a sort of lip. This is why it is so noticeable. If you keep that in mind when using these products and apply it with a swab and sort of rub that skin off literally it acts in the same manner as grinding your skin off would. The important part of it looking better and not worse (because I have done this as well ) is not to peel of the scabbing of those layers to soon, it will only make it worse. not better. let it heal completely and peel on its own. Perhaps using an enzyme facial cleanser like alba or something. I wanted to share this and reiterate that is is the combination of the 2 when used together has produced such amazing results.
Good luck

beautifulwithbrains October 6, 2013 - 9:25 pm

Jennifer, I’m sorry to hear about your problem, but glad that you’ve found a combination that works well for you. Thank you so much for sharing your experience with us. I’m sure it will help a lot of people in the same situation.

vincent October 15, 2013 - 5:01 pm

Hi, I have been using glycolic acid 10 % for the past 3 days each night . Now my face turned red. I wanted to know, how long I need to continue glycolic acid cream ? And how long does face stay red ?
Thank you.

beautifulwithbrains October 15, 2013 - 6:19 pm

Vincent, hi. If your face has turned red, it means you have exfoliated too much. Stop using glycolic acid until your face goes back to normal and then apply it less often, like every other day.

priyanka January 18, 2014 - 1:04 pm

i have pitted scars due to acne.. they r some 8years old scars .. can i use glycolic acid for these scars ?

Gio January 19, 2014 - 10:01 pm

Priyanka, I’m sorry to hear about your problem. Glycolic Acid peels may help, but I doubt they will solve the problem on their own as the scars are so old. I think you should visit a dermatologist to see what can be done about them.

Vincent February 9, 2014 - 8:27 pm

Hi, I have been using Reviva lab Glycolic acid 10% cream for the past one month. I use once in a week as my skin turns red next day after using the cream and will stay for 3 days. I would like to know if I could do something to avoid skin redness and how often should I use this cream?. I haven’t seen better result since I have been using once in a week. I would also like to know how much should I apply on my face. Thank you.

Gio February 9, 2014 - 8:53 pm

Vincent, 10% is quite a strong concentration, which is why it is causing redness and irritation. I would suggest you switch to something that contains a lower dose. That way, it will be less irritating and so you’ll be able to use it daily. Hope this helps.

suni March 15, 2014 - 2:50 pm

Firstly, good job with the website, I love it.

Secondly, I had a few questions about my skin.I have had a pretty good skin all through my teens, but it broke out two years before and hasnt been normal ever since. I have been getting fractional laser done which has really helped, but now i stopped since there is a lot of downtime involved. right now i have three big scars on my cheeks and 4-5 smaller ones and some hyper-pigmentation. My dermatologist recommended the glycolic acid cream 12%, and I have been using it for the past three days. just wanted an idea as to how long it might take for it to show some improvement? and secondly, if there is anything else i could use which would compliment the cream to speed up the process.

thank you. πŸ™‚

suni March 15, 2014 - 2:53 pm

Also, any idea if this cream would help with the cystic acne?

Gio March 15, 2014 - 9:38 pm

Suni, hi and thank you for your kind words. They mean a lot.

I’m sorry to hear about your problem. It’s hard to say exactly how long it would take to treat your scars. You should start seeing some tiny improvement within a couple of weeks, maybe less, but for some significant reduction, you’ll probably have to wait a few months. Glycolic Acid works, but slowly.

I would also recommend you to wear sunscreen daily, if you don’t already, because using 12% glycolic acid every day will make your skin very sensitive to the sun. Also, you may try a serum or moisturizer with Vitamin C, but make sure it comes in an airtight and opaque tube (no jars!) because, when exposed to light and air, it loses its efficacy. Vitamin A may be helpful too, although that can be irritating for some people, so if you’d like to try it, discuss it with your doctor first.

Can you tell me the name of the product? I need to check out the ingredient list to know if it can help with cystic acne. πŸ™‚

suni March 16, 2014 - 2:09 pm

its called Bioone glycolic acid cream. And yes I have been using Neutrogena’s sensitive skin sunscreen, with SPF 60+. I hope its good enough. Also, if I take in vitamin C/A tablets instead, would that achieve the same results or not?

Gio March 16, 2014 - 8:09 pm

Suni, unfortunately, I couldn’t find the ingredient list anywhere. Would you much mind to tell me what else it contains? And yes, Neutrogena sunscreens are pretty good.

There’s a bit of controversy about whether oral supplements are effective. If you would like to try them, I recommend you consult your doctor so that you get the right dose. You already get these vitamins through diet, so if you take supplements too you have to make sure you don’t surpass their recommended daily intake. Vitamins are good, but even too much of a good thing can be bad for you.

suni March 17, 2014 - 1:00 am

unfortunately I discarded the box it came in, and there are no details on the tube itself.:(

on the brighter side(dont know if i am imagining this :P)one of my cystic pimple has actually reduced after only four days of application :O.

will be sure to upload a review after using it for a few weeks.

thank youu sooo muchh!!!!!

Gio March 17, 2014 - 9:09 pm

Suni, Glycolic Acid is an exfoliant, so by removing the dirt and oils on the skin, it may help keep the pores clean. But I’m not sure if the cream also contains something else that can benefit acne too. It’s a shame that some brands don’t make ingredient lists easily available online. I’m glad the cream is working well for you, and I’d love to read your review in a few weeks.

You’re welcome!

Muskan April 26, 2014 - 7:01 am

I visited a dermatologist she diagnosed my face with melasma aroun chin area . She prescribed me TCA peel but I m afraid of getting my face worse, can I use reviva 5 or 10 % on my own , will it be safe

Gio April 26, 2014 - 7:52 am

Muskan, personally, I think it’s always best to follow your dermatologist’s instructions. A dermatologist knows what works best to treat a condition, and it’s very unlikely he/she will recommend something that will cause problems for your skin.

cassidy June 20, 2014 - 4:35 pm

WOW! I just found your site. Its so informative and helpful! I’m 22 and for pretty much my whole life I have had almost perfect skin. I would get the occasional pimple but that’s it. I barely even washed my face. Then, once I started actually taking care of my skin (cleansing twice daily, toner, serum, moisturizer, sunscreen, ect) is when my skin started breaking out! Which makes no sense to me. I would probably consider it mild but it seems very bad to me since I wasn’t used to it. I had tried everything to get it under control. It has improved since, but i still get a lot of large pimples. Recently, I have started using retinol at night, and 10% glycolic acid in the AM with sunscreen. My forehead has been looking much better, marks are fading, but I still do have a lot of tiny bumps, that arnt whiteheads or blackheads. They are not red bumps.What are these and how can I get rid of them?
My cheeks though, however, are bad. It seems since I started using the glycolic acid, it has made it worse. Maybe I’m using it too much? I have a ton of red/purple marks, which I think are just post inflammatory hyper pigmentation, but they are taking forever to go away! And I still so get pimples and cystic acne on my cheeks. I was thinking of going to a spa and getting glycolic acid peels. Is this something you recommend? I am honestly probably making it sound worse then it is, so keep that in mind. But it makes me very self conscious, and I cant go out of the house without covering everything up! which I hate! Help!!
I’m sorry this is so long!

Gio June 20, 2014 - 5:38 pm

Cassidy, thank you for your kind words, and I’m sorry to hear about your problem. It must be very frustrating for you. You said that the problems started when you began using skincare products? Could it be that you’re using some that have high concentrations of comedogenic ingredients? You can find a list of them here: Also, if you’re using products, such as toners, with a high amount of Alcohol Denat, stop. That’s very drying. And when your skin is dry, it produces even more oil, which aggravates acne.

It’s difficult to tell what those tiny bumps are without seeing them in person. Could they be milia? I wrote a post about them, which you can check out here:

Yes, post inflammatory hyper pigmentation is not serious and disappears on its own but, unfortunately, it takes forever to do that. I think glycolic acid peels may help, but I’d recommend you have them done by a dermatologist rather than an aesthetician at a spa. These are pretty harsh and, if not done by someone who knows what’s they’re doing (and while some aestheticians are really good, there are others who aren’t as skilled and reliable), it would be make things a lot worse.

Heather February 25, 2015 - 1:25 am

Glycolic Acid Peels are the best! I have been using a Pumpkin Enzyme Glycolic Masque once a week mixed with a Brightening Serum every day for the past 2 months. The pigmentation and scarring on my face has dramatically reduced. I have also noticed a fading of capillaries around my cheeks. My face feels smooth and looks evenly toned. I can practically get away without wearing make up these days πŸ™‚

Gio February 28, 2015 - 2:30 pm

Heather, that’s so great! I’m glad they are working so well for you. πŸ™‚

Meredith April 27, 2015 - 10:25 pm

Hi – I was quite shocked when I read that high percentage glycolic acid can only be prescribed. I bought 60% glycolic acid on the internet, to try and get rid of acne scars. My skin was pretty good until I had kids then it all went wrong. I developed cystic acne on one cheek, and although it doesn’t break out as bad as it used to, I’ve been left with some deep pits and ice pick scars. I decided to tackle the problem whilst stuck in hospital with pneumonia, after looking in the mirror and feeling that I looked horrendous (not surprising, given the circumstances!) so I ordered a bottle of glycolic acid 60%. I used it only for a minute the first time, and have gradually built up over a few weeks, rinsing my skin with bi-carb after each treatment. I’m going through a horrid stage at the moment where my skin looks worse. I don’t get a huge amount of reddening, and it’s not terribly sore after treatment, but I’ve had a break out of spots, ironically, not where I would normally get them, so I now look worse than ever. However, in the areas where I don’t have spots, my skin does look improved. How many treatments (I treat every 1-2 weeks) will I need before the scarring improves? I don’t need perfect skin, but I just want to be able to apply make-up without it clogging in the pits of my skin, because that looks terrible! I’ve had four treatments so far.

Gio April 28, 2015 - 1:22 pm

Meredith, high concentrations of glycolic acid can be pretty dangerous, which is why I believe it is irresponsible to sell them without prescription. I heard some horror stories when people used such high concentrations without medical supervision, and I’m glad you’re not having to deal with that. I guess part of it is because you started by applying it only for a few minutes and increased time gradually. But, by now, you should have already started seeing an improvement. If not, then maybe glycolic acid peels are not the right treatment for you. I’d recommend you consult a dermatologist to figure out the best strategy to deal with these scars.

sana June 7, 2015 - 7:42 pm

I have pitted and depressed scars on my face…will glycolic acid peeling work for me.i am so worried about it.

Gio June 8, 2015 - 1:18 pm

Sana, I’m sorry to hear about your problem. It depends on how pitted the scars are. If they are severe, glycolic acid peels may not make them disappear completely, but will help somewhat. I recommend you consult a dermatologist for proper treatment. Doing glycolic acid peels at home can be risky.

sana June 8, 2015 - 6:39 pm

They are not that much severe acne dermatologist told me that glycolic peeling will work for me.but I am doubtful as I read that glycolic peeling is not that much good for acne scars. .

Gio June 9, 2015 - 4:11 pm

Sana, if your dermatologist says they will work for you, I would trust him/her. But don’t expect miracles. It doesn’t work overnight. It takes time for scars to disappear.

sana June 10, 2015 - 11:31 am

Thank you for your reply

Gio June 10, 2015 - 3:12 pm

Sana, you’re welcome.

Divya December 11, 2015 - 9:43 am

I have purchased nature essence glycolic peel kit but have not used yet, is it ok to use on sun damaged skin, please suggest me

Gio December 12, 2015 - 7:42 am

Divya, yes, it is ok. Glycolic acid is a great treatment for sun damaged skin. Just don’t overdo it. Glycolic acid is best used sparingly at first.

Divya December 14, 2015 - 10:46 am

Thank you so much for your reply, kindly suggest me best glycolic acid brand to use at home, which is mild concentrated. Thank you

Gio December 14, 2015 - 11:36 am

My pleasure. I swear by Paula’s Choice products. Her AHA exfoliants are the best. Hope this helps.

stuart March 9, 2016 - 2:43 pm

Im just asking what maybe the best affordable or at home treatments for some small raised scars and some uneven skin texture?as id love to at least try to regain smoother better looking skin again.I would really appreciate any tips,thanks.

Gio March 15, 2016 - 6:57 pm

Stuart, have you tried Paula’s Choice Resist Weekly resurfacing Treatment with 10% AHA? That’s a good starting point.

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