Glycolic Acid Vs. Pumpkin Peel

Facial peels offer benefits for aged and photo-damaged skin, acne, hyper pigmentation (brown spots or age spots) and scar reduction. Glycolic acid peels have been a popular way to achieve resurfacing; however, pumpkin peels have gained more in popularity. Both offer advantages and deserve consideration based on your skin and desired results.

Glycolic Acid Peel

Physicians and estheticians use glycolic acid, which is derived from sugar, as their most popular grade of alpha hydroxy acid (AHA). It works by removing the top layer of dead cells on the skin to achieve a new layer, and it helps minimize fine lines and hyper pigmentation. Benefits include treating acne and scar reduction. Dr. Eric Bernstein from University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine explains that this type of peel stimulates the growth of collagen, which is lost due to aging and sun exposure and results in the formation of lines and winkles.

Treatment Suggestions

Glycolic peels appeal to people who want to have measurable results without lengthy recuperation time. Glycolic peels, at a cost of up to $100 per treatement, can be done up to once a week. Patients typically require three to six treatments. You should avoid glycolic peels should if your skin is sensitive or reactive. You can perform a test patch before a peel to determine if you will have an adverse reaction to the treatment. One way to do this is to apply a small amount glycolic acid to the inside of your arm or other relatively hairless part of of your body, cover it with a bandage, leave it on overnight and examine the results. Slight redness is common after treatment and may last up to a few days.

Pumpkin Peel

Some people respond better pumpkin peels than to glycolic peels. Pumpkin peels use the enzyme of the pumpkin to exfoliate and introduce vitamins and nutrients into the skin. In many cases, pumpkin peels result in immediate clarity and smoothness in the skin. People with sensitive skin and acne benefit from the pumpkin peel because it is less intrusive than a glycolic peel. It is full of beta carotene and vitamin A, which help to stimulate circulation and promote healing. Pumpkin peels are more successful at surface retexturizing; they do not reduce hyper pigmentation.

Benefits of Pumpkin

There is no down time with a pumpkin peel and the treatment is not as harsh on sensitive skin as a glycolic peel. A pumpkin peel treatment costs a little less than a glycolic peel treatment. The number of treatments depends on skin type and the goals of the patient.


Consult a certified esthetician or physician for a glycolic or pumpkin peel to avoid side effects based on your skin. Physicians offer glycolic acid peels at a higher concentration but may be more costly. To increase effectiveness of any peel it may be recommended that you combine the treatment with microdermabrasion, which removes the top micro-layer of the skin, or use a professional product at home to maintain the benefits of the peel.