How To Make a Glycolic Acid Peel at Home

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Money is tight. Severely tight. But you don’t want to give up your beauty routines. In fact, your skin ages faster if you’re stressed… making it extra important to NOT give up those beauty routines.

But when the purse strings are tightened, the extras are the first to go. And it’s difficult to justify a $200 trip to the dermatologist, especially if gas prices are sky-rocketing or you’re concerned about your job security. Luckily, most people have the ingredients for a Glycolic Acid Peel in their own home. If not, a quick trip to the grocery store should yield all your ingredients.

What is Glycolic Acid?

Glycolic Acid is a natural product derived from fruit or sugar cane. It’s the most well known of the alpha-hydroxy acids. Citric Acid also falls under the classification of Glycolic Acid. (We’ll be using sugar and lemon for our peel, for double the effect.)

How do Glycolic Acid Peels work?

If you remember your junior high health class, you remember that your skin has 3 layers. Those three layers are the epidermis (outer layer), the dermis (the thickest middle layer), and the hypodermis (the innermost layer). Collagen, the material that keeps your skin plump and smooth, is produced in the dermis. As you age, production slows and your epidermis doesn’t regenerate as fast.

A Glycolic Acid peel breaks up the skin cells in the epidermis, and sloughs off the dead skin cells. This jump-starts the regrowth of fresh, new skin cells; effectively, it does what your body no longer does for itself.

So, How Do I Do This, Effectively, at Home?

I have two methods. If you have extremely sensitive skin, or want to start with a “lower dose” of Glycolic Acid, start with Caster sugar, also called superfine sugar. You can mix this with water, a little at a time, to create a paste. Keep in mind though – Caster Sugar has a high solubility rate – so add water very sparingly. Apply this mixture to your face, carefully around the delicate eye area. (Don’t get it too close to your eyes! But this is fairly safe for use on the upper eyelid area.) Let it sit for a few minutes. Working in a small, circular motion, rinse the mixture off your face with a washcloth and plain water.

If you are ready for a stronger treatment, you can use lemon juice in place of water to make the paste. Warning – when using lemon juice, do NOT use the mixture near your eye area.

If you do not have sensitive skin, or have used the above Glycolic Acid Peel without an adverse reaction, you can use coarse sugar instead. (Not raw sugar – you don’t want to be rubbing rocks on your face – but the cheap, generic grocery sugar that is just a bit coarser.) Apply the sugar to your face in a circular motion with wet hands. Take a halved lemon, microwave for a few seconds, and rub your face again, gently. The coarser sugar scrub will exfoliate your skin even more. When mixed with the higher concentration of lemon, this second method has a considerably higher result than the first.

Some redness or itching is normal, especially with the second method. However, if you find either to be exceptionally irritating, you can make a paste of baking soda and water and apply as instructed above. The baking soda neutralizes the pH level of the Glycolic Acids. There may also be some tightness, but that is remedied with your normal facial lotion.


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