The Benefits and Side Effects of Salicylic Acid Peels

Published At: 16 December 2019 , 02:56 PM

Salicylic acid peels are not a new approach. People have used salicylic acid peels for more than 2,000 years of trusted Source in their skin remedies. The acid usually found in willow bark and wintergreen leaves, but skincare companies can get it in the lab, too.

Salicylic acid relates to the beta-hydroxy acid group of acids. Great for zapping oil on the skin, when applied as a peel, this kind of acid is fit for those who have pimples and acne.


Many skin kinds can help from salicylic acid peels. And, because they are relatively gentle peels, salicylic acid can be utilized by people who aren't good candidates for other types of peels.

Side effects

Some people shouldn't use salicylic acid peels, including:

people with a history of allergy to salicylates, including aspirin in some people

people with active dermatitis or irritation on the face

people who are using isotretinoin (Accutane)

pregnant women

salicylic acid peel to the affected area.

If a person has an area of skin cancer, they shouldn't apply a 

Because salicylic acid peels usually are milder peels, they don't have too many side effects. They can include:



mild tingling sensation

greater sun sensitivity

Treat Acne and Blackheads

Salicylic acid peels are especially helpful for healing acne and blackheads. Salicylic acid is a powerful comedolytic, which indicates it supports unclog pores. It also helps reduce the amount of oil on the skin. Natural salicylic acid peels can help promote both inflammatory acne and comedones acne.

How is it different from other chemical peels?

Doctors regularly classify chemical peels into three kinds. These include:

Medium. These peels penetrate deeper into the dermis. Doctors treat conditions like pigmentation disorders, including sunspots, and wrinkles with medium-depth peels. A higher rate of trichloroacetic acid peel (i.e., 35 to 50 percent) is regularly a medium-depth peel.

Superficial. These peels affect the external layers of skin only. They can treat conditions such as melasma, acne, and hyperpigmentation. Examples include glycolic, lactic, or low densities of trichloroacetic acid peels.

Deep. These peels can penetrate deep into the dermis, into the middle of the reticular dermis. They're only available at a doctor's office and can treat skin concerns such as deep scarring, deep wrinkles, and severe sun damage. Examples include a Baker-Gordon peel, a phenol, or a high percentage of trichloroacetic acid.

The depth of a salicylic acid peel depends on the percentage of acid the skincare professional applies, as well as how many layers of passes made with the solution and skin preparation. OTC salicylic acid peels are superficial.

It's important to note that the FDA doesn't regulate these OTC products, and they could cause burns or scarring. It's always best to discuss using any at-home peels with your dermatologist.

A dermatologist can also apply a stronger peel that has a medium-depth effect.

When to see a dermatologist

There are lots of products out there — salicylic acid ones included — that can help clear your skin or decrease the rate of skincare concerns.

Some symptoms you should see a professional include if you haven't been able to reach your skincare goals with at-home products or your skin looks very sensitive to a lot of products.

If you aren't assured where to begin, a dermatologist can recommend a skin care regimen based on your skin wellness.

Going to a dermatologist doesn't mean you'll lead away with only a list of valuable or prescription products. If you define your budget and goals, they should be able to suggest effective products.