Skin treatment with alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) have proven to be a beneficial adjunct to cosmetic surgery. AHAs can be used before and after cosmetic facial surgery, to enhance the results and to aid in the healing process, but they are also useful by themselves in many situations. We are pleased to offer a program of skin care based on the use of alpha hydroxy acid at our Center.


AHAs are naturally occurring, non-toxic substances found in fruits, wine, milk and sugarcane, to name a few sources. They work by decreasing the “glue” that holds dead cells on the surface of the skin. This helps the dead cells to slough off (desquamation) leaving behind a layer of smoother, softer skin.

The alpha hydroxy acid in glycolic acid comes from sugarcane. Unlike Retin A® which is a derivative of vitamin A, glycolic acid does not cause the patient to become photosensitive. (Nevertheless, we still recommend daily use of sunscreen to reduce the damaging effects of the sun.)


Glycolic acid helps to wash away the top layer of already dead skin cells. By removing them, the skin has a smoother texture and appears healthier looking. Some patients notice a difference in a few days but it usually takes six to eight weeks of regular use to see a noticeable difference.

Because so many skin problems are caused by, or associated with, excessive build-up of dead skin cells, glycolic acid will provide benefits for many dermatological conditions. AHAs help retain moisture in very dry skin, in addition, they help treat the fine lines and uneven color of sun-damaged skin. They often will lighten “age” spots. Glycolic acid can be combined with other bleaching agents to be used in the treatment of dark spots on the skin.


Glycolic acid has also been extremely useful in treating oily and acneprone skin. Patients with these conditions often see dramatic results. Blackheads, white heads and acne breakouts are caused when the hair follicles clog and fill up with the top layers of dead skin cells. Removing these dead cells promotes the natural healing of the skin.


Treatment with glycolic acid consists of the daily use of home care products. Most people will experience a slight tingling or burning sensation when the product containing 10% glycolic acid is applied at home.

Tolerance to the program is rarely a problem. Continued use of the home care products will insure that the skin remains healthy, smooth and soft. The home care routine is a simple program using a combination of products available only through a physician’s office. Complete, easy to follow written directions are included.