Salicylic Acid Peel: Everything You Need To Know
It may sound ultra-modern and contemporary, but did you know that Salicylic acid peel is an approach that has been used for more than 2000 years? Yes, this skincare regimen dates all the way back! While you can imagine how crude it must have been to perform in the olden days, it’s good to know that it’s something you can easily get your hands on these days through skin clinics or skin renewal products.
Belonging to the beta-hydroxy acid family of acids, salicylic acid is naturally found in willow bark and wintergreen leaves. But thanks to technology, skincare manufacturers can develop it in the lab, too. Look around and you’ll see it in the best anti-ageing products—and all for good reasons!
What is Salicylic Acid Peel?
This treatment is used to deeply exfoliate the surface layers of the skin. Since salicylic acid breaks the bonds that hold the skin’s cells together, it causes them to shed away or peel, ultimately regenerating and rejuvenating the skin. Unlike other types of chemical peels, salicylic acid peels give a gentle exfoliating action.
Salicylic acid carries comedolytic properties, which simply means it is capable of unplugging dead skin cells and built-up oils that can cause acne blemishes, and desmolytic properties, which give it the ability to exfoliate skin cells by disrupting intercellular connections (known as a desmolytic effect).
Because of these beneficial properties, salicylic acid is perfect for peeling applications. It’s known to be fairly gentle so it can be enjoyed regardless of one’s skin type. Here are some of its potential benefits:
Fight Acne and Blackheads
As mentioned, salicylic acid is a strong comedolytic, which means it helps unclog pores. It also has an anti-inflammatory effect on the skin at low concentrations. These features make salicylic acid particularly helpful for treating acne and blackheads. Moreover, it may help decrease the amount of oil on the skin.
Team up salicylic acid with a powerful yet gentle facial cleanser like the Mayerling Foaming Cleanser, which is especially effective on combination and oily skin as it works quickly by softly dissolving impurities and removing all traces of make-up, grease, and dirt. It is also highly effective at preventing clogged pores.
Bring Brighter, Smoother Skin
Perhaps something that you could see almost instantly! After a salicylic acid peel, you’ll notice that certain “glow” as you feel your skin become brighter, softer, and smoother. You will also notice better skin texture and smaller pores.
Minimize Dark Spots and Even Out Skin Tone
With regular sessions of salicylic acid peel treatments, dark spots and discolorations like freckles, melasma, and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation may slowly fade.
At home, you can pamper yourself with a good dose of salicylic acid through an exfoliating and refining cream that reduces pigmentation, smoothes scars, and lines, like the Forte Day and Night Face Creams from Mayerling. It contains glycolic and salicylic acid that give it a two-phase skin resurfacing action, along with bearberry extract and marine extracts to help reduce existing pigmentation.
Reduce Sun Damage, Fine Lines, and Wrinkles
The best anti-ageing products are expected to contain salicylic acid. While they can’t completely diminish deep lines and wrinkles, having salicylic acid in the ingredients can help soften fine lines and give your complexion a boost. It should also be your go-to when treating sun damage.
What to Expect
Salicylic acid peels can be done professionally or at home. Depending on your needs and budget, you can very well choose which one suits you.
First of all, if you have a skin condition or are under a doctor’s care, get your doctor’s consent before using an at-home peel. You can buy over-the-counter (OTC) salicylic acid peel products at cosmetic stores, salons, and skincare product shops.
Since you will be doing this yourself, make sure to read the instructions. Know how often you can use it and how long it should stay on your face. Some are left overnight while others need to be washed off after a few minutes. Not all brands work the same so if you are trying a new brand from what you’ve tried before, it’s best to go through the instructions carefully.
It’s normal to feel a tingling or a very minor warming sensation with an at-home peel. However, watch out for uncomfortable stinging or burning. If you do feel such, rinse the peel off right away with plenty of water and a gentle cleanser.
Done in your dermatologist’s clinic or salon, this one is a fairly quick procedure. First, expect to have your skin thoroughly cleansed. This part may include a peel preparation solution, similar to an astringent. Then, the salicylic acid solution is applied to the skin with cotton pads, sponges, or the like.
The solution is left on your skin for about 3-5 minutes. You may experience some mild burning or stinging. After this, the peel is neutralized with water or a special solution. Using plain water or gentle cleanser, any remaining product is washed off. Finally, a very mild moisturizer may be applied.
Whether you’re doing DIY or going pro, make sure to follow the after-peel directions from your purchased product or from your clinic. It’s also crucial to follow up using a sunscreen every day—remember, your skin is newly peeled so it’s more sensitive to the sun. When done right, salicylic acid peel will give you exceptionally rejuvenated and younger-looking skin!