Using chemical peels for dealing with multiple skin concerns is a cosmetic procedure that has been on the rise this decade. One such peel that is often recommended by dermatologists for skin issues such as sun damage, acne, age spots, freckles, fine lines, and wrinkles is the Salicylic Acid Peel. Through this article, let us understand in detail about what this peel actually is, how it works to deal with various skin concerns (its benefits), the application procedure, its cost, and also some of its other aspects related to results and downtime.
Let’s get started!
What Is A Salicylic Acid Peel?
A Salicylic Acid Peel is a type of light or mild chemical peel that is used for exfoliating the superficial layers of the skin. It belongs to the family of acids known as Beta Hydroxy Acids (BHAs) and is derived from willow tree bark extract.
The primary aim of a chemical peel like salicylic acid is to exfoliate the epidermis layer of the skin so that the dead cells that have been clogging the pores are removed. Being a lipid soluble acid, salicylic acid can easily penetrate into the epidermis and detach the dead and the unhealthy skin cells so that they can be removed. Damaged and dull skin sheds away to reveal the healthy skin present beneath it. This peel helps to treat sun damaged skin, acne prone skin, and even sensitive skin with issues such as seborrheic dermatitis.
Also Read: Chemical Peel Treatment Procedure
Application Of Salicylic Acid Peel
Salicylic Acid Peel can be applied to both the face and the body. Any part of the body where the skin has issues such as sun damage, acne, clogged pores, whiteheads, blackheads, dermatitis, etc., the peel is safe to apply. The dermatologist will decide the concentration that is the best to use for that particular body area.
- Face – For the face, the concentration ranges from 10% to 20%.
- Body – For different body parts such as the legs, arms, and back, the peel concentration can go up to 30% as well.
In an ideal clinic setting, the peel is applied by a certified therapist under the supervision of an experienced dermatologist.
Also Read: How To Find The Best Dermatologist?
Salicylic Acid Peel Benefits
This chemical peel possesses a plethora of benefits making it suitable to use for multiple skin concerns. These benefits are outlined below –
- Removes the dead skin cells from the skin’s surface
- Reduces the appearance of dullness
- Unclogs pores
- Exfoliates the sun damaged skin
- Decreases the production of natural sebum (which may be clogging pores and causing acne)
- Keratinolytic in action, which means that it removes the excess keratin (a type of protein) from the skin’s surface and further helps in unclogging the pores
- Lightens hyperpigmentation of different kinds such as freckles, lentigines (age spots or liver spots), melasma, and acne marks
- Helps treat whiteheads, blackheads, and mild acne as it is comedolytic in action
- Diminishes post-acne redness and inflammation
- Reduces the appearance of signs of photoaging (for example – fine lines)
- Makes the skin appear firm and supple as it activates collagen production
- Lightens the complexion
- Shrinks large pores
- Gives the skin a natural glow
Also Read: Permanent Skin Whitening Treatment
Process At A Doctor’s Clinic
Once the dermatologist has analyzed the patient’s skin and confirmed the absence of any contraindications, he or she will decide the concentration of the peel to be used for the skin concern which is being treated with the salicylic acid peel. Before the chemical peel session, the doctor will advise the usage of certain creams (such as topical retinoids) to prepare the skin for the peel.
- Prior to the application of salicylic acid, a small patch test is conducted to test for any unwarranted side effects.
- After this, the area to be treated is wiped clean with a suitable concentration of alcohol to remove the skin oils.
- Now, the peel is applied using a cosmetic brush or a sponge in adequate quantity.
- The peel is left on the skin for a duration of 2-5 minutes.
- It is then neutralized by spraying some plain water on the skin and gently wiping this off.
- Any peel remnants are removed by wiping the skin with wet cotton or gauze.
- Cold compresses follow this to soothe the skin that may be slightly irritated because of the peel’s action.
- Post this, the skin is dried off. A soothing cream and generous amounts of sunscreen are applied.
Salicylic Acid Peel Cost In India
The cost for one session of Salicylic Acid Peel can range from Rs.1,500 to Rs.3,000 in India. Many factors determine this cost, such as the concentration of the peel, the skin concern being treated, the experience possessed by the dermatologist, and the skin clinic’s location and reputation.
Also Read: TCA Peels Cost & Benefits
Salicylic Acid Peel Before And After Effects
After the first session, you can notice a difference in the skin’s texture and tone. The skin appears smoother and rejuvenated. After the recommended number of sessions, which usually ranges from six to eight peels, you can observe the effects of the Salicylic Acid Peel more prominently. Apart from the spots and marks vanishing, it makes your skin look fresher than before. The acne will be brought under control with blackheads and whiteheads not cropping up anymore because of the reduction in the excess oil production.
Salicylic Peel Side Effects
Side effects include crusting, dryness, redness, pigmentary changes, and contact sensitization. In the majority of cases, these effects are mild and do not last for more than 2-5 days. There are minimal to no chances of scarring with the Salicylic Acid Peel.
What To Expect After A Salicylic Acid Peel?
Mild irritation or redness may be present after the peel. Some dryness may also develop. All of these are transient and go away quickly with the appropriate post-care.
Salicylic Acid Peel Recovery
Salicylic Acid Peel, being a light peel, does not leave behind highly noticeable after-effects. This makes the recovery period minimal after the peel session, which is why this peel is also called as the ‘lunchtime peel’ sometimes.
Salicylic Acid Peel Vs. Glycolic Acid Peel
While salicylic acid is a beta hydroxy acid, glycolic acid is an alpha hydroxy acid (AHA). It is often used as a chemical peel for skin rejuvenation and lightening. The principal dissimilarity between these two chemical peels is that salicylic acid peel works well to treat acne and glycolic acid doesn’t. The latter is primarily used to get rid of hyperpigmentation and to reduce signs of aging. Salicylic acid can achieve this too but has the added advantage of dealing with acne vulgaris and reducing the incidence of breakouts. The results of a comparative study on Indian skin was published in Dermatological Surgery journal and confirmed the above-stated points.
With many studies having been conducted for the efficacy and safety of Salicylic Acid Peel, a comprehensive review published in the Clinical Cosmetic And Investigative Dermatology journal in 2015 confirmed that this peel shows great results when it is used to treat sun damage, acne, lentigines, and freckles. It has been deemed safe for use for both lighter and darker complexions.
If you suffer from any of these skin concerns, try out the Salicylic Acid Peel at a reputed clinic to obtain relief from them and get great skin!