What are Salicylic Acid Peels?
Salicylic acid is a type of Beta Hydroxy Acid (BHA) that is derived from willow bark, although it is also found in some fruits and vegetables such as strawberries and tomatoes.
Like glycolic acid (AHA,) it works by breaking the bonds between the cells on the surface of the skin so old and dead cells can be lifted away. However, salicylic peels can often work better than water based glycolic AHA peels since BHA is lipid soluble.
This means that salicylic peels for acne or any other skin condition is more effective at penetrating oily skin and breaking down the excessive amounts of fatty substances (sebum) that clog pores. Studies have also shown that BHA products can destroy a bacterium that settles within the pores and causes blemishes, blackheads, or rashes.
If you are looking for a skin peel to treat oily, acne prone skin, salicylic acid will likely work better for you than glycolic acid treatments.
Salicylic acid is a popular ingredient in many over-the-counter acne treatment products, however, the concentration is usually between 0.05% and 5%. Although some people may notice improvements in cases of mild acne or occasional breakouts, severe skin conditions typically require much higher concentrations.
Professional strengths range from 10% which is considered a light treatment, to a medium strength 20%, and a 30% concentration for deep facial peels.
Since it can penetrate the skin better than glycolic acid, BHA peels are often used instead of stronger strength AHA peels because there is also the added benefit of deep pore cleansing.