Glycolic acid peels, made from sugar cane, peel off the outermost layer of skin to lessen the appearance of wrinkles, skin discolorations and to treat severe acne. You can get these treatments in your doctor’s office or use an at-home product that is not quite as strong. The peels burn off old skin, so minor redness similar to a common sunburn is expected after treatment. In rare cases, more serious burns or complications can occur.
Redness, dry skin and peeling are expected and considered minor side effects of having a glycolic acid peel. Dr. Eric F. Bernstein of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine recommends that patients use a moisturizer regularly after treatment to reduce the redness. EMedicine author Gabriella Fabbrocini recommends completely avoiding sun exposure for six weeks after the peel. If this is not possible, use sunscreen to prevent serious sunburns, something the skin will be prone to for several weeks after treatment. For minor pain and swelling, you can take an over-the-counter pain medication, according to the Mayo Clinic.
In severe cases, the burn may become infected. This may be a result of bacteria, yeast or from cold sores. If you experience any symptoms of an infection such as worsening redness, swelling, blisters or fever, contact your doctor immediately. The cause of the infection needs identification and proper treatment. Once diagnosed, your doctor may treat you with antibiotics (for bacteria), fluconazole (for yeast) or acyclovir (for cold sores).
What Not To Do
As with burns caused by heat or the sun, the advice on what not to do is the same. Do not apply ice or butter to the burn. If blisters appear, do not break the blister, as this can induce infection. If blisters do break, wash the area with cool water and a mild soap. Do not wear any jewelry that may come in contact with the burned area. Because this area is sensitive, jewelry may easily scratch the skin and cause an infection.
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