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Hi,



I am writing to find out about the merits of doing weekly Glycolic (weak) vs monthly TCA (medium) peels to reduce acne and get better skin. Some people say that more frequent weaker peels get better results over the long term than stronger peels less often, while some people swear by TCA and say it makes their skin radically better within one or two sessions. I am tending to think that slow and steady wins the race, but I'd be interested in hearing alternative opinions as well.



If you have any experience with either of these things please let me know.

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Glycolic hands down. That's my take away from what I've been reading anyway. Yeah, it will take longer, like perhaps much longer, to notice any improvement to your acne, wrinkles, pigmentation or whatever skin problem you're gonna be using it for, but it doesn't have the potency to damage your skin long term like the TCA does and yeah, if by any chance you were thinking of winging it at home as so many people do, then there's really no doubt you should stick with the glycolic. Just my not so humble opinion. If you're going to a salon to get it done, mind you, you're just gonna ask them what's better and walk away with what they think is best for your skin. 

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TCA peels are medium peels that will help you get rid of finer wrinkles, acne scars, pigmentation, and general blemishes. Glycolic peels are only surface peels that do not have the same potency as TCA peels. They generally brighten your complexion and can do away with surface blemishes. They do have the potency to decrease the appearance of wrinkles, but you will need more of them. Glycolic peels are both a lot cheaper and come with a much shorter recovery time. There is also a decreased risk of side effects such as burning and scarring. You need to avoid the sun after both TCA and glycolic peels.
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Hi,

If you have lighter skin, it is really down to personal preference whether you would like one stronger peel or a series of weaker peels. With weaker peels, the recovery time will be less. Because you may need three or four treatments to get a similar result, that is more time spent at the salon and also more money! So that is why people may prefer one stronger peel instead of several weaker peels.

If you have darker skin though, there is a lot to be said for doing a series of weaker peels instead of one stronger one. The chances of hypopigmentation or hyperpigmentation simply go down, which there is more of a risk of if you have darker skin.

Some people may need a deeper peel to get the results they are looking for. The key here is to consult with your esthetitian and come to the right decision for your skin together.
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The fact is that superficial peels always take a long time to show any true effect. After a series of six peels, which is what was recommended, I still didn't get the result I was hoping for. My acne scars were reduced a bit, that's true, but they were far from gone. If you are dealing with significant scarring like I was, your better bet is dermabrasions or Co2 laser resurfacing. One line of treatment probably isn't going to cut it if you want the scars totally gone, and you will benefit from peels but not as your one and only treatment option, not even with deep peels. Your best bet is to consult a dermatological surgeon and discuss the treatment that will give you the best results.
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Here is an overview of different types of peels.

GLYCOLIC PEELS are a type of alpha hydroxy acid, an ingredient commonly used in a great many skincare products. After a glycolic acid peel, you will have almost no downtime. Regular peels can help you with smooth skin, light wrinkles, pores, blackheads, and rough patches.

LACTIC ACID PEELS also are a type of alpha hydroxy acid. There is also little downtime. They are better for dark patches than glycolic acid peels and also work for wrinkles and a generally smoother complexion.

SALICYLIC ACID PEELS are beta hydroxy acid. They are good for acne and large, open pores. Again, there is little downtime.

TCA PEELS are better for those with deeper acne scars, hyperpigmentation, deeper sun damage and deeper wrinkles. They are a deeper peel, considered medium. There is downtime of about 10 days. It can be painful to have a TCA peel.

PHENOL PEELS are the deepest peels. They help with deep wrinkles, acne scars, freckles, and hyperpigmentation. There is lots of downtime: up to a whole month. You need a local anesthetic for a phenol peel. These peels cannot be done often and you will have all kinds of redness, flaking, peeling and general awfulness during your recovery period. Your skin can be radically improved afterwards.
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All chemical peels are acids, but the acids themselves are different and not all peels do the same thing. Glycolic facial peels help for boosting your cell turnover, which means you will have a smoother face with fewer lines, works against acne, rough skin, blackheads, and minor acne scars. TCA peels are for deeper grooves, also help with discoloration, and deeper acne scars as well. The thing is that TCA peels are not suitable for every skin, and you will be best off seeing a certified dermatologist to assess your needs and how suitable you are for a certain type of peel. You can do peels at home, yes, but only after you know what you need.
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