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Post in Beauty Advisors

What I learned from attempting a facial peel today

So I was going to get a glycolic acid peel today using a deal I got online to use at an accredited skincare-provider. Anyhow, I am thankful that I decided to try a peel with an aesthetician rather than trying it DIY and seeing how it worked out. So apparently using retinoids within a 1-2 week period before getting a glycolic peel is a big don't-do-it! since the retinoids weaken the skin barrier and I guess thus makes the skin a lot more sensitive/prone to harm from a glycolic acid peel.

Anyhow, I'm a long-time acne-sufferer who has used a whole variety of things, and I was wondering about a couple of things because of this experience:

1. Are there other things/treatments together that one should be sure to avoid when getting a facial or peel?

2. Is it ok to use cleansers/spot treatments that have glycolic acid if using retinoids?

3. Are there certain ingredients/concentrations of ingredients I should be sure to avoid when using retinoids?

4. Also was told that salicylic acid and some other acne treatments (but not sulfur) get absorbed into the body/bloodstream more so than others and stay around for a bit, so I was wondering about the details of what was meant by this and if it's a good/bad thing in terms of acne treatment and potential residual effects upon the skin and body. If anybody has more information, please let me know.




Re: What I learned from attempting a facial peel today

salicylic acid is just aspirin.  I haven't heard of it being absorbed into the blood through the skin, but if it does, i think the worst thing that will happen is it will make your headache go away Smiley Happy  


Regarding your other questions, I think it depends on a person's skin. I have no problems combining spot treatments and retinols, but I also have no problem with peels + retinols, so your skin might be a lot more sensitive to such things than mine. It probably is a good idea to only use one product at a time to make sure you don't have any adverse reactions.

Re: What I learned from attempting a facial peel today

Haha thanks for the SA info. xD


My skin is sensitive. I think it has been made more sensitive from Rx retinoids for acne, but what can I do besides stay out of the sun, I guess. I eased up on the retinoid the week before the treatment and only used it once this week, but the mask was still a no-go and started hurting within 30 seconds of contact. :/


The lady was kind enough to not count that visit on my coupon and do some extractions, electrolight stuff and SA stuff for my acne instead, so I can't complain really.

Re: What I learned from attempting a facial peel today

Hi voxover,


You have a ton of great questions!  Generally any "at home" peels are fairly gentle and shouldnt cause too much sensitivity.  Due to the lower strength, you are able to combine the products with retinoids, however I agree with the other that you should use caution and start low to avoid any irritation.  I would also suggest using a peel once a month & working your way up, if you desire.  Avoiding the sun  & allowing your skin to breath is a big one, which is why it is suggested to do at home peels in the evening, when you arent expecting to be out & about Smiley Wink  If anything, I'd say touch base with your esthetician or derm on any suggestions they may have to be 100% sure Smiley Happy


xo, Mia

Re: What I learned from attempting a facial peel today

Oh Glycolic peels burn! It's uncomfortable, the mask only goes on a for a few min. My aesthetician would always blow a fan over my face, set a timer & start taking it off the second it beeped. And I would be red/blotchy/dry for the next few days. It's a medical grade peel, a lot stronger than what you would find at home. It's like taking 3 months worth of at home treatments & applying it at once for a few minutes. Once the skin heals, it's much smoother, softer... That's why you should only get them done 4x a year, or once a month for a few months if doing an intense treatment, then stop for a while.  

If your skin is sensitive, then you might run into issues & either need a lower % of glycolic, or it's just not right for you. 

Re: What I learned from attempting a facial peel today

The strength of glycolic is a lot higher than what you would find for a DIY facial. You also need to take into consideration the strength of the retinoid your using and how sensitive your skin is. 

When I was getting peels, my aesthetician gave me a 0.5% retinoid to use on my trouble spots in-between peels and I just made sure I didn't use it the night before a peel. I didn't have any issues with it, but I was going to her for awhile and we gradually increased the strength of the glycolic & retinol. 

If it's low amounts, and you're not too sensitive then there shouldn't be an issue. The dr dennis gross A/B pads have both ingredients in them, so do a lot of serums/creams. 

I don't like using a retinol serum/cream during the summer months because of the sun sensitivity. My skin is ok with glycolic in the sun, but even with sunscreen my face feels like it's going to burn off when I'm using retinol. Once September comes along I'll slowly introduce my retinol serum again (the PTR retinol fusion PM) and then I ween myself off March/April. 

Re: What I learned from attempting a facial peel today

Thank you for the info, dannyc! Smiley Happy

I hear you on the retinol. I want to find different things to use for my acne besides that + clindamycin phosphate. I'm not getting the results I used to and the increased sensitivity in general is killer, but I'm afraid of what evil my skin will concoct if I go off it completely without something viable to replace it. :/

Re: What I learned from attempting a facial peel today

When I ween myself off of it in the Spring I break out like crazy. I try to introduce more glycolic, and ease gradually decrease the retinol from 4x a week to 0. 

It's not easy to find the "perfect" skin regimen. 

Re: What I learned from attempting a facial peel today

In addition to sensitivity, I remember reading how retinol (I think) is not very stable (thus sometimes a retinol product may have sunscreen-esque ingredients in it eventho it's for night use anyways, it's to prevent it from breaking down under light or something). When you combine that with glycolic acid, it could become unstable and ineffective, so there won't be any bad reaction but you won't get the promised effect cuz the active ingredients are no longer active. Some serum have both in some amount because they are in a specific ratio/quantity and contain other agents to make sure the two doesn't contradict each other.


You can use them on alternate days, and sometimes product would have glycolic acid or retinyle palmitate near the bottom, as in the product contains miniscue amount of it. In those cases, you don't have to worry about them interferring.

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