Glycolic Acid Peel for Acne Scars, Stretch Marks and More

Discover how glycolic acid peels can effectively fade stretch marks and improve skin texture. Consult with a dermatologist for the best treatment plan.

Stretch marks are a common concern for many people, especially after pregnancy or significant weight loss. These marks, also known as striae, appear as visible lines on the skin and can be a source of self-consciousness. While there are various treatment options available, one that has gained attention is the use of glycolic acid peels.

What You Need to Know About Glycolic Acid Peels

Glycolic acid peels are a type of chemical peel that exfoliate the outer layer of the skin. They are considered a safe and effective treatment for a variety of skin conditions, including acne scars, hyperpigmentation, and stretch marks.

How Does a Glycolic Acid Peel Work?

A glycolic acid peel works by breaking down the bonds between the dead skin cells on the surface of the skin. This exfoliation process helps to stimulate cell turnover and promote the growth of new, healthy skin cells. When applied to stretch marks, glycolic acid can help to fade their appearance over time.

Benefits of Using a Glycolic Acid Peel on Your Skin

There are several benefits to using a glycolic acid peel on your skin, including:

  • Reduction in the appearance of stretch marks
  • Improvement in overall skin texture and tone
  • Reduction in the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles
  • Increased collagen production

Studies have shown that using glycolic acid in topical therapy can improve the appearance of stretch marks. A comparative study published in PubMed revealed that both regimens of topical therapy, which included a combination of 20% glycolic acid and 0.05% tretinoin, or 20% glycolic acid and 10% L-ascorbic acid, were effective in improving the appearance of stretch marks.

These topical therapy regimens were found to be safe and effective, with minimal irritation reported by study patients. The elastin content within the skin's dermis was also found to increase with the use of topical 20% glycolic acid.

Potential Side Effects

While glycolic acid peels are generally safe, there are potential side effects to be aware of. These may include:

  • Redness and irritation
  • Peeling and flaking of the skin
  • Sensitivity to sunlight

If you experience any severe or persistent side effects, it's important to consult with a dermatologist.

Who Can Apply a Glycolic Acid Peel?

Glycolic acid peels are generally safe for most skin types. However, it's important to consult with a dermatologist before undergoing any chemical peel treatment. They can assess your skin's condition and determine if a glycolic acid peel is suitable for you.

Glycolic Acid Peel at Home

While professional treatments are generally recommended for optimal results, there are also at-home glycolic acid peel options available. These products typically have a lower concentration of glycolic acid and may be less potent than professional treatments. It's important to follow the instructions carefully and perform a patch test before applying the peel to your entire face or body.

Skin Care Following a Glycolic Acid Peel

After undergoing a glycolic acid peel, it's important to follow a proper skincare routine to maintain the results and promote healing. This may include:

  • Using a gentle cleanser
  • Applying a moisturizer
  • Wearing sunscreen with at least SPF 30

It's also important to avoid excessive sun exposure and to protect your skin from harsh chemicals or irritants.

Alternative Treatments

In addition to glycolic acid peels, there are other treatment options available for stretch marks. These may include:

Each treatment option has its own benefits and considerations, so it's important to consult with a healthcare professional to determine the best approach for your individual needs.


Glycolic acid peels can be a beneficial treatment option for individuals looking to improve the appearance of stretch marks. While individual results may vary, studies have shown that glycolic acid, when used in topical therapy, can help fade the appearance of stretch marks and improve overall skin texture.

It's important to consult with a dermatologist or skincare professional to determine the best treatment plan for your individual needs. They can assess your skin's condition and recommend the most suitable treatment option, whether it be glycolic acid peels or an alternative approach.

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