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Salicylic Acid Peels: Benefits, Cost, Before & After Results

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    The Salicylic Acid Peel (SAP) is a superficial peeling agent, which is effective in treating skin problems such as acne and pimple marks. You can apply a salicylic acid peel to the face and the upper back, upper arm and upper chest areas. This peel works by breaking down the bonds which hold the skin’s cells together, resulting in the shedding or peeling away of the skin. This way, it also makes your skin brighter and smoother, treats blackheads and more.

    Salicylic acid peels come in different strengths. A dermatologist will decide the concentration that is the best to use for a particular area of the body. Here are a few forms of salicylic acid peel available in the market based on concentration:

    • Below 20%: This is available in the form of OTC creams, lotions, gels, and foams. You can use these at home. The general concentration in OTC is 1% or 2%.
    • Above 20%: Dermatologists use peels with more than 20% salicylic acid concentration for clinical procedures.

    Must Read: How To Treat Acne Effectively?

    Is the Salicylic Acid Peel Right For Your Skin Type?

    A Salicylic Acid Peel is suitable for all skin types. If you are suffering from superficial acne and pimple marks, then SAP is the right peel for your skin. Pregnant or breastfeeding women and individuals who suffer from severe acne should not opt for this peel.

    The Benefits of Salicylic Acid Peel Treatment

    Here is a list of the many benefits this versatile chemical peel offers because it is effective in controlling sebum production:

    • Helps in the reduction of acne
    • Unclogs open pores
    • Removes the dead skin cells from the skin’s surface
    • Reduces the skin dullness
    • Exfoliates the sun damaged skin
    • Decreases the age spots
    • Diminishes post-acne redness and inflammation
    • Brightens the skin by addressing the above problems.

    Must Read: How To Prevent Acne On Face?

    Clinical Procedure of Salicylic Acid Peel Treatment

    Here are a few steps you can expect if you opt for a salicylic acid peel treatment at a reputed skin clinic:

    • The first step at a skin clinic would be a careful examination of your condition by a dermatologist to find out whether you need a light, medium or deep peel.
    • A trained therapist will then clean and degrease your skin to ensure uniform penetration of peel.
    • Next, the dermatologist will gently apply the required concentration and quantity of peel on your skin.
    • You might experience a slight itching and tingling sensation for a couple of minutes, which is temporary.
    • Once the dermatologist neutralises the peel, you may notice mild redness on the skin, which will reduce with the use of cold compression or may fade in a couple of hours.
    • The therapist will apply sunscreen to protect your skin from the sun and keep the treated area moisturised.
    • Your doctor will share a few post-care instructions with you. Follow them diligently, by always using a good sunscreen, avoiding sun exposure as much as possible, not picking at the peeling skin, using a good moisturiser, and not exercising for 24 hours after the treatment.

    #A Must Watch Video To Learn The Benefits Of Chemical Peeling

    Recovery Time After Salicylic Peel Treatment

    There is no downtime involved. However, you may experience mild dryness that you can manage with a moisturising cream.

    Before and After Results of the Salicylic Peel Treatment

    Once the treatment is complete, it will take about 3-4 weeks to experience the improvement in your skin texture. After the peel, you will observe that the appearance of your acne and pimple marks reduce visibly.

    However, this treatment requires multiple sessions, depending upon the severity of your skin condition. You may need to undergo 4 to 6 peels which can be done once in every 3-4 weeks. You will notice that your skin looks brighter than before once you complete the treatment.

    Must Read: How Does Laser Skin Resurfacing Work?

    Cost of Salicylic Acid Peel Treatment

    The average price of a salicylic acid peel starts from Rs 1500. Many factors determine this cost, such as the concentration of the peel, the skin concern requiring treatment, the experience and expertise of the dermatologist, and the location and reputation of the skin clinic.

    Precautions to Take When Undergoing a Salicylic Acid Peel

    Keep the following pointers in mind while getting a Salicylic Acid Peel:

    • Ensure that you do not shave, use masks, scrubs or exfoliate at least 72 hours before applying the peel. Try to avoid tanning and sun exposure while undergoing the peel treatment. Ideally, avoid waxing one week before and after the procedure.
    • Avoid the use of loofahs, facial masks, products with glycolic or lactic acid and Vitamin A. Do not undergo electrolysis and dermabrasion before and after the treatment.
    • If you have a cold sore, undergo the SAP treatment only after you recover.
    • Share information about your allergies, skin conditions, medications, and complete medical history with your dermatologist.

    Side Effects of Using Salicylic Peel

    Side effects of SAP treatment include crusting if the skin is not prepared, dryness, redness, pigmentary changes, and contact sensitisation. 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 use of Salicylic Acid Peel.

    Must Read: What Are The Best Acne Treatments For Adults?

    Is It Safe To Get The Salicylic Peel Done At Home?

    It is a better idea to get a salicylic peel done at a clinic rather than at home. A doctor is the best person to tell you the right strength of peel to apply and direct its use. Use of at-home peels involves some difficulties such as:

    • Not knowing the right peel to use in terms of concentration
    • Not knowing if a stinging or burning sensation is normal
    • Leaving the peel on for longer than required and damaging the skin in the process
    • Over-usage of the peels

    Now, you know all about the salicylic acid peel. However, some people confuse it with other chemical peels like a glycolic acid peel. Let us understand the difference between the two.

    Salicylic Acid Peel Vs Glycolic Acid Peel

    The difference between a Salicylic Acid Peel and a Glycolic Acid Peel are as follows:

    Salicylic Acid Peel Glycolic Acid Peel
    It is a beta hydroxy acid It is an alpha hydroxy acid
    Effective in treating acne Used for primarily removing hyperpigmentation
    This acid penetrates the hair follicles Glycolic acid penetrates the skin better
    This acid is fat-soluble This acid is water-soluble

    If you suffer from skin concerns like pimples and acne scars, opt for chemical peel treatment at your nearest skin clinic. Consult an expert dermatologist to find out if Salicylic Acid peel is an effective treatment option for you to make an informed decision.

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    About The Author

    Dr. T N Rekha Singh

    Dr. T N Rekha Singh

    Dr T N Rekha Singh is an MD in Dermatology, Venereology and Leprology from the esteemed Gandhi Medical College at Hyderabad. She has a rich experience of over 11 years in performing advanced laser treatments for hair reduction, skin resurfacing and skin lightening, scar and... Read More

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