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I think I damaged my skin with Glycolic Acid!
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I think I damaged my skin with Glycolic Acid!

I think I did some major damage. I started using a glycolic cleanser (4%) with an 8% glycolic toner as well as an 8% glycolic night cream. At first I had new pimples and redness with irritation. After a few days, the irritation subsided. I decided to do a 10% glycolic mask. So far my face was getting accustomed to the acids so I was excited.
Today, I wake up and looked closely in the mirror under natural sun so my skin was clearly visible. I noticed some small sloths of skin missing from my cheeks. The areas seem dry around it but I don’t think the exfoliating would go that deep! Also, I’m noticing more fine line in areas where I’ve never had them; between my eyebrows, corners of my mouth and small lines basically everywhere!

I’m so scared I damaged my skin! I washed the products off with cetafel and applied a moisturizer with petrolatum, glycerine and Shea butter. I’m so upset, I hope these fine lines will not stay. My skin feels tight, almost like I don’t want to smile or make facial expressions because if feels as though I will make the creases worse. Too add, the products I was using were by NeoStrata. The at home peel mask had 10% gluconolactone in addiction to 10% glycolic acid. I've only been doing this for 6 days.

Please help!
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Welcome to the Dermatology Expert Forum! Thank you for describing your condition in details. We shall give our best to help you by providing necessary information. Try not to worry.

It seems that you have been experiencing a pronounced skin reaction after repeated application of several peeling products (glycolic acid containing cleanser, toner, and mask). Redness, stinging, dryness, flakiness are unpleasant but quite expected transient skin changes after chemical peels.

The main thing is that it should all resolve in few more days. It is good to hydrate skin from inside (food reach in water and antioxidants) and out (hydrating serums and creams with vitamin E and other ingredients that promote healing). Also, completely avoid sun to prevent any possible post inflammatory hyperpigmentation.

In future, be aware of level of reaction of your skin and set your expectations. Make sure you understand directions for use (as well as all possible side effects and contraindications) completely before applying anything on your skin.

It would be very wise to be evaluated by a dermatologist If you experience any additional discomfort.


Wishing You Optimal Health,
Dr. Jasmina Jankicevic
3 Comments
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I'd also like to add that as of now, by face is very very flaky. Most areas when I wash or moisterize, I see flakes of skin come off and it terrifies me. I'm scared I am damaging different areas of my face. I don't know if all this skin will exfoliate all over, or if I simply did something very wrong and I will have these indentations forever. Please respond, I would appreciate any help!
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Avatar_m_tn
Thank you so much for your response and reassurance. It seems that the fines lines the acids have created are slightly diminishing so far. Some craters and sloths are still visible which makes me sad, but I am hoping with time my skin will regenerate. I read somewhere it is nearly impossible to damage the skin with 10% glycolic acid so I am holding on to this belief.

I don’t have any scabbing or oozing so I am not concerned to see a dermatologist. I have been using a Biotherm moisturizer during the day and a Cetaphil moisturizer at night. They have many different extracts and oils so I hope this is good enough. I think my mistake was disregarding the severe burning as “okay”. I really should have slowly integrated different products.  

This is so unpleasant because it looks like I have more photo damage that I had in the first place. And this is the exact thing I was trying to fix! I have been drinking lots of water, orange juice and eating lots of fruits & vegetables so I hope this all contributes to healing and getting my skin back to the way it was. Also, I ordered a very good skin regimen that consists of an airtight serum which contains a good amount of antioxidants. All I can do now is exercise patients.

Thanks again for your time! Please let me know if I am missing anything in the words aboce that can help contribute to the healing of my face!

Best wishes.
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