Written by: Klaudija Sebetic, dr.med.
Acne is one of the most common skin problems, and the researches are striving for effective therapeutic approach that will give good results in a short time and are applicable to sensitive skin. Results showed the chemical peels with salicylic acid are an excellent option.
Anti-inflammatory properties of salicylic acid are known since Hippocrates, when the extracts of the willow was given to a patient for lowering high body temperature and relieving the pain.
Salicylic acid belongs to Beta hydroxy acid (BHA) and can be obtained from willow bark, evergreen leaves and yellow birch. It is called BHA since the aromatic hydroxy acid belongs to hydroxyl group in the beta position.
Salicylic acid (from the Latin word Salix – willow) is a beta hydroxy acid formula C6H4 (OH) COOH. It occurs in the form of colorless crystals and is poorly soluble in water. Its chemical composition is similar to the active component of aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid) and is the main raw material for its production.
Also, it had been used for decades for psoriasis treatment and other skin issues. Low concentrations (0.5 to 2%) can be found in commercially available skin care and acne products. For best results in acne treatment, salicylic acid concentration should be between 0.5 and 2% and pH formula between 3 and 4.
Salicylic acid heals the skin by removing dead cells from the skin’s surface, cleans clogged pores, acts as antiseptic and lowers inflammation, and pores are open and ready to get cleaned.
Products with salicylic acid are designed to fight acne, and they suit all skin types and are specially recommended for sensitive skin, where the treatment with benzyl peroxide is too aggressive.
In severe cases, a dermatologist can prescribe treatment with more salicylic acid concentration, but such products are not intended for everyday use.
How this peeling works
Its anti-inflammatory properties are used in chemical peeling of the skin. How this peeling works is proven by numerous clinical examinations, stating that the treatment of acne has a better effect on opening closed comedones. This scrub does not affect the generation of new collagen in the process – it is better if peeling is done with glycolic acid. Salicylic peel is recommended in four treatments that are done at intervals of at least ten days.
Application of Salicylic Acid
Salicylic peeling should not be used on large areas of the body since it can develop problems such as nausea, disorientation and tinnitus. It is definitely not recommended for pregnant women, breastfeeding women, people allergic to aspirin, and for patients younger than 14 years.
Peeling with salicylic acid is not painful – apply on the face, keep it for 3 to 5 minutes, then remove. After peeling the skin, it can be slightly red and dry for 3 or 4 days, but that is not the rule.
Salicylic acid can be incorporated into other types of peels
The best known is Jessner exfoliating scrub that contains resorcinol, salicylic acid and lactic acid, which is also very popular and also goes by the name ’Hollywood peeling’.
Salicylic peeling is recommended in treating acne, so if you’ve ever tried numerous remedies, if your skin is extremely sensitive and you have been fighting acne for years – a chemical peel with salicylic acid is one of the solutions.