Salicylic Acid Peels A Proven Solution for Restoring Beautiful, Blemish Free Skin
Salicylic acid peels are a safe and effective way to reduce acne prone skin and restore a blemish free complexion.
If OTC products are not working and you are looking for a more aggressive treatment that will give you good results without down time or dangerous side effects, then salicylic peels may be the perfect solution for your skin care problems.
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.
Salicylic Acid Peel Benefits
- Aids in effective exfoliation. While lower concentrations are fairly ineffective as exfoliants, higher strengths will resurface the skin by dissolving the damaged top layer of the epidermis to reveal the smoother, healthier skin underneath. Some people find that salicylic acid peels work better than glycolic peels for exfoliation since they can penetrate deeper into the skin.
- Improves skin's texture and clarity to rejuvenate dull, tired complexion.
- Diminishes sun damage and lightens the appearance of pigmentation or age spots.
- Reduces the appearance of acne and acne scars. Salicylic acid peels are among the best treatments for blemish prone skin including blackheads and whiteheads.
- Balances sebum production and improve oily skin.
- Unclogs pores and helps diminish the appearance of enlarged pores.
- Improves the appearance fine lines and wrinkles.
- Treats psoriasis.
- Treats ingrown hairs.
- Improves uneven skin tone.
- Little or no down time.
Risks and Side Effects of Salicylic Acid Peel
Salicylic peels are mild to medium treatments that are considered to be safe when used properly. However, like any acid product, some side effects may occur, but the skin will usually fully recover within 3-7 days.
- Redness: Many people experience post-treatment redness; however, this should usually subside with a few hours. Sometimes mild redness may last a couple of days, but your skin should soon return to normal coloring.
- Burning or Itching: You may feel some stinging or itching when the peel is first applied. Salicylic acid peels are designed to penetrate through the top layer of skin so some mild discomfort may be experienced. If you feel intolerable pain, ask the clinician to remove the peel immediately.
- Swelling: Salicylic acid has anti inflammatory properties, which is one reason why it works so well on acne - but some light swelling may result, especially if you have very sensitive skin.
- Flaking or Peeling: Since the peel is designed to exfoliate the skin, mild flaking may last up to one week depending on the concentration of acid being used.
- Sensitivity to Sun: As with any chemical peel, your skin will be very sensitive to sunlight for a few days following the treatments. Stay indoors as much as possible and wear a good quality sunscreen when you have to be outside.
- Breakouts and Purging: This acid will work to draw the fatty substances out of clogged pores. As this sebum is pulled closer to the surface of the skin, fresh breakouts may occur; however, this will subside with continued treatments.
- Pigmentation Changes: Although rare, some uneven skin tone or pigmentation may occur. Darker-skinned people are at a greater risk of experiencing this side effect.
- Scarring: Again, this is extremely rare, but some cases of post-treatment scarring have been reported.
- Multiple Treatments: You will begin to notice improvements after the first application; however, several treatments are usually required to see full results. Anywhere from 4-10 repetitions may be necessary, which can be quite costly and time consuming. The number of peels needed will depend on the severity of the condition being treated, the responsiveness of your skin, and the potency of the acid being used. Treatments can usually be repeated every 2-4 weeks, but the duration should be determined by your skin care professional to ensure that your skin has adequate time to recover.
Who Can Use Salicylic Peels?
Salicylic Acid peels are safe for any skin type and are often recommended for those with sensitive skin since they are gentler than many other chemical peels.
However, depending on the problem being treated, BHA peels are not always the best choice. Salicylic acid is the most effective on oily, blemish prone skin. It is very good at treating acne, enlarged pores, blackhead, whiteheads, and scars.
Although an improvement in the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles has been reported evident from Salicylic acid peel before and after results, if this is your main reason for seeking treatment, another type of peel may be more beneficial.
- Do not use salicylic acid peels if you have an aspirin allergy.
- Avoid salicylic acid peels if you are pregnant or breastfeeding since this acid is readily absorbed by the body.
- Avoid salicylic acid peels if you scar easily
- Consult your doctor or skin care professional about any medications you are taking before beginning salicylic acid treatments.
For safety and optimal results, it is recommended that you visit a doctor or skin care professional who is qualified to administer chemical peels.
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