Salicylic Acid, Glycolic Acid, Alpha Hydroxy Acid

Question: What is the difference between these 3 acid types for your face? I now use the Glytone line and love it, but last time I was at the doctor she recommended a beta peel which I thought she said used the salicylic acid?

Salicylic acid is considered a beta-hydroxy acid and works by sloughing off skin cells more rapidly, preventing the pores from clogging and allowing new cell growth. Glycolic acid is considered an alpha-hydroxy acid which easily penetrates the skin because is has a very small molecular size. Glycolic acid reacts with the upper layer of the epidermis, weakening the binding properties of the lipids that hold the dead skin cells together. This allows the outer skin to “dissolve” revealing the underlying skin.

Alpha-hydroxy acids are a class of chemical components also used to treat skin conditions such as acne, KP, etc. Glycolic acid, lactic and citric acid are a few acids commonly known or referred to as alpha-hydroxy acids.

When your doctor recommended a beta peel she probably meant a peel that contained a higher concentration of salicylic acid. Best skin care wishes.

Meagan, Esthetician