Glycolic acid is the most common peeling agent. It comes in different strengths (30% – 90%) and different pH levels (levels of acidity) which will determine how deep it penetrates and how much peeling you get. It can be used to treat fine lines and wrinkles, sun damage, improvement of skin texture, skin brightening.
Salicylic acid is unique amongst the hydroxy acids in that it can penetrate deeper into the oil glands causing exfoliation even in the oily areas of the face and scalp, making it ideal for treating acne and oily skin.
Lactic acid occurs naturally in human skin and is also found in milk. It is less irritating than other AHAs and has a natural moisturising effect on the skin. It is ideal for skin brightening. It can be used to treat pigmentation, dry or dehydrated skin, sensitive skin, rosacea.
Fruit enzymes can also be used as peeling agents. Commonly used fruit enzymes come from fruits such as papaya, pineapple, pumpkin and cranberry. They are anti?bacterial, promote cell renewal and can digest oil from spots (sebum) and dead skin. They can be used to treat acne, rosacea, dehydrated skin, hyper?reactive and sensitive skin.
Tartaric acid comes from grapes and is a less irritating alternative to glycolic acid for a milder exfoliation of the skin. It can also help increase hydration. It can be used to treat acne, photo damage, rosacea, superficial pigmentation, eczema.
Malic acid comes from apples and pears and like tartaric acid is a weaker AHA than glycolic acid. It can be used to treat acne, photo damage, rosacea, superficial pigmentation, eczema. Citric acid comes from lemons and oranges and works in the same way as tartaric and malic acids. It can be used to treat acne, photo damage, rosacea, superficial pigmentation, eczema.
TCA or trichloroacetic acid is a stronger acid than glycolic. It penetrates deeper into the skin and is usually used for medium depth or deep peels although it can be used at a lower concentration in combination with other acids for a milder peel. It can be used to treat skin tightening, fine lines and wrinkles, acne scars, large pores, hyperpigmentation.
Carbolic acid is found in Phenol peels and is the strongest type of peeling agent available. It is used for very deep peels. It can be used to treat deep lines and wrinkles, scarring, severe sun damage.