Combining superficial glycolic acid (alpha-hydroxy acid) peels with microdermabrasion to maximize treatment results and patient satisfaction

Cutis. 2007 Jan;79(1 Suppl Combining):13-6.


Microdermabrasion and superficial glycolic acid peels are common aesthetic procedures. Microdermabrasion alone provides the benefits of exfoliation but may provide faster results and increased patient satisfaction when combined with superficial glycolic acid (alpha-hydroxy acid) peels because of the significant antiaging effects of glycolic acid peels. A roundtable discussion was held with dermatologists to review methods of combining these procedures. The first method included alternating glycolic acid peels and microdermabrasion treatments every 2 weeks, enabling the patient to receive both a peel and microdermabrasion in the same month. With the second method, microdermabrasion may be used prior to the superficial glycolic acid peel to increase the exfoliation and antiaging effects of both treatments within the same visit. This second method is considered to be a more aggressive approach and usually is reserved for patients with a history of procedures. Lastly, combining treatments can be used to maintain a patient's skin after the initial treatment stage, usually performed every other month or seasonally, depending on the patient. As with all combination treatments, safety precautions and monitoring the patient's skin throughout treatment are crucial to success.

MeSH terms

  • Chemexfoliation* / adverse effects
  • Chemexfoliation* / methods
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Dermabrasion* / adverse effects
  • Dermabrasion* / methods
  • Glycolates / adverse effects
  • Glycolates / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Keratolytic Agents / adverse effects
  • Keratolytic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Patient Satisfaction*
  • Rejuvenation
  • Skin Diseases / therapy
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Glycolates
  • Keratolytic Agents
  • glycolic acid