Glycolic Acid is an alpha hydroxy acid used to smooth the skin surface, even pigmentation, and improve the appearance of fine lines. Glycolic acid peels are usually done in a series. Each peel may be stronger.
Always tell your practitioner if you are aware you have cold sores. When a patient has previous knowledge of their herpes infection, they should use a prophylactic oral antiviral medication. It is suggested to treat with acyclovir or valtrex three times a day beginning on the day before or day of the procedure and continuing for 7-14 days, depending on how strong the acid is. Some practioners treat all potential patients with antiviral agents whether the patient knows of a positive history or not, since many people are asymptomatic. When active herpes infections are treated with antiviral agents early, they usually do not scar.
People who are concerned about an outbreak should treat a small area first before they do the entire glycolic peel. If a client has an active cold sore before the procedure, they should reschedule until it is totally healed.